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Pralines are a New Orleans staple and, in fact, it is from my time spent working in the French Quarter as a cook that I picked up this recipe. You will need a candy thermometer for these super-sweet candies.
For praline candies, sift white sugar to remove any lumps and rub brown sugar to be sure it is lump-free (this will help the candy cook evenly).
Combine sugar, brown sugar, cream and butter in a heavy-bottomed saucepot and bring to a boil over medium heat. Continue boiling sugars, brushing down the sides of the pot with water often, until they reach 236 °F. Remove from heat and let cool without stirring until 220 °F, about 5 minutes. With a wooden spoon stir praline gently for 2 minutes, until it is shiny and thickens just slightly. Stir in pecans and pour into a greased 8-inch square pan. Another method is to drop spoonfuls of candy onto a greased parchment-lined baking sheet, but it is recommended to set pot in a bowl of hot water to maintain the temperature (the candy sets up quickly, so work fast). Break or cut into pieces to serve.
For banana cream, whip cream to soft peaks and stir in sugar and rum. Spoon half the cream into 6 serving dishes and top with a few slices of banana. Crumble praline candies over fruit. Top with remaining cream, banana and praline and serve immediately. Alternatively create a luscious sundae worthy of the finest ice cream shop with this concoction. Scoop vanilla ice cream into sundae dishes and top with hot fudge sauce. Top with pieces of praline candies and serve.
Hot Fudge Sauce:
Finely chop chocolate. In a small heavy saucepan heat evaporated milk and sugar over moderate heat, stirring, until sugar is dissolved.
Add chocolate, butter, and corn syrup to milk mixture and continue to cook, stirring constantly, just until smooth. Bring mixture to a boil over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, and gently boil 8 minutes.
Remove pan from heat and stir in vanilla and salt. Fudge sauce keeps, covered and chilled, 3 weeks. Reheat fudge sauce, uncovered, in microwave on medium heat for 40 seconds, stirring occasionally.
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