The ancient city of Lyon, in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region of France, is famous for its cuisine. From the classic Rosette de Lyon saucisson to satisfying dishes like quenelle de Lyon and saucisson brioché, Lyonnais cooking is known and loved throughout France – and all over the world. But it’s not all hearty, savoury flavours. The pretty pink praline rose is a unique Lyonnais speciality that’s as lovely to eat as it is to look at.
Nobody knows exactly how these little almond candies got their splendid pink colour. Pralines, in the French sense of nuts coated in caramelised sugar, date back to the seventeenth century. They are said to have been invented by the household cook of the Marshal du Plessis-Praslin.
It might have been the eighteenth or the nineteenth century when some brilliant pastry chef got the idea to turn his pralines pink. Whatever the case, generations of French children grew up eating pralines roses, and they are a big hit with sweet-toothed adults, too.
Colour aside, the praline rose is a very simple creation: almonds caramelised with plenty of sugar. Food colouring is added, as is a little extra flavour, such as vanilla, rose water or orange blossom water. Pralines roses can also be made with apricot kernels for a similar taste and texture.
If you’re just yearning for something sweet and crunchy, you can eat pralines roses straight from the bag. The only slight difficulty with this is that it might be hard to stop. However, these versatile little candies come into their own when used for baking.
The iconic Lyonnais sweet is the Tarte aux Pralines. This stunning creation has a glossy deep-pink filling made from pralines roses and whipping cream. It looks spectacular, but in fact it’s surprisingly straightforward to make.
Another wonderful use for pink pralines is brioche aux pralines roses. Like the tarte aux pralines, this is a simple recipe with truly fabulous results: sweet, buttery and distinctive. These brioches are great at any time of day from breakfast to dessert.
Crushed or whole, pralines roses are a wonderful addition to all kinds of cakes, biscuits and pastries. Their distinctive colour will bring a quirky, romantic touch to your creations. If you love baking, why not check out this post for a few ideas?
At BonneBouffe, authentic pralines roses direct from Lyon are an integral part of our French food range. We sell them crushed and whole, in apricot and almond varieties. Whether you’re a passionate home baker or just want something delicious to snack on, our pralines roses are a perfect staple for your store cupboard – though how long you manage to keep them is another matter.
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