Kathleen Purvis examines an ingredient synonymous with southern cooking. She follows up her history with a selection of marvelous recipes.
“Show me a recipe with pecans, and I have to try it.” Attributing her own love of this American nut to the state of her birth–Georgia is the nation’s leader in growing pecans–and to the happy fact that her mother “hardly made a cookie, candy, or pan of Sunday dressing without them,” Kathleen Purvis teaches readers how to find, store, cook, and completely enjoy this southern delicacy. Pecans includes fifty-two recipes, ranging from traditional to inventive, from uniquely southern to distinctly international, including Bourbon-Orange Pecans, Buttermilk-Pecan Chicken, Pecan Pralines, and Leche Quemada.
In addition to the recipes, Purvis delights readers with the pecan’s culinary history and its intimate connections with southern culture and foodways. Headnotes for the recipes offer humorous personal stories as well as preparation tips such as how to choose accompanying cheeses.
“A book for readers who can’t get enough of pecans.”
The food editor of the Charlotte Observer, Purvis follows a familiar format with 52 recipes, a chatty preface, and conversational notes about every dish. Who could not laugh out loud over [Purviss] story of a consumer looking for pecan meats, insistent that just plain old pecans wouldnt do?
SAVOR THE SOUTH–designed to give Dixies most time-honored ingredients their due.
—Garden & Gun
“Make it Southern. [SAVOR THE SOUTH] explores and celebrates Southern ingredients and cooking.”
—Raleigh News & Observer
“One of the foremost voices in southern food writing celebrates the South’s iconic nut–and does it proud.”
–Damon Lee Fowler, author of Classical Southern Cooking and The Savannah Cookbook
Is it any wonder that pralines are a classic of both New Orleans and Charleston? The texture and the flavor are simply irresistible. As long as you have a candy thermometer and a strong arm for beating, pralines aren’t difficult to make. But don’t attempt making them on a rainy day. They may not set up properly.
MAKES ABOUT 2 DOZEN, DEPENDING ON THE SIZE
- Nonstick cooking spray
- 1 (16-ounce) box light brown sugar
- 1⁄4 cup granulated sugar
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 cups coarsely chopped pecans
- 1 cup heavy cream
Spread out a large sheet of parchment paper and spray with nonstick cooking spray.
Combine all ingredients in a large, heavy pot over medium high heat. Stir until the butter is melted and the mixture comes to a full, rolling boil. Attach a candy thermometer to the side of the pot, making sure the bulb isn’t touching the bottom. Cook until the mixture reaches 240°. Remove from the heat and let stand for 5 minutes.
Beat vigorously with a wooden spoon until the mixture thickens and is just starting to pull together. Immediately drop the pralines by tablespoon onto the prepared parchment paper. Let stand until set. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
NOTE * Knowing when to stop beating is the trickiest part of making pralines. The mixture should still be a little shiny and soft enough to spoon out but firm enough to hold its shape. Some sources say it will change color when it’s ready, but the change can be very subtle.
From PECANS: a Savor the SouthTM Cookbook by Kathleen Purvis. Copyright © 2012 by Kathleen Purvis. Used by permission of the University of North Carolina Press. www.uncpress.unc.edu