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The difference between praline, praliné and praline

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Between praline, praline and praliné, how to find your way around? You have probably already come across these three words while strolling in front of pastry shop windows, dreaming in front of a chocolate shop or during a stroll in the streets of Lyon.

Although they share the same etymology, are made from the same ingredients and all refer to delicious sweet preparations, praline, praliné and praline are three very different products. If you have ever wondered what the difference is between praline, praliné and praline, join us on a journey that is as tasty as it is instructive.


The praline, a small pink confectionery (or almost!)

Contrary to certain beliefs, pralines do not exist in nature! Pralines are small confections made from roasted hazelnuts or almonds, to which sugar syrup is added and which are caramelised by heating and stirring the mixture, according to the rules of the art, in a large copper turbine.

At this point, you may be wondering why the pralines are pink. In fact, pink pralines are a speciality of the city of Lyon, and get their colour from the addition of red food colouring! These famous pink pralines are emblematic of the City of Lights, sometimes crunchy in the "Pralulines" praline brioches, sometimes melting on the praline tarts that are on the menu of all the picturesque Lyon bouchons.

Praline, the crunchy note in your favourite pastries

Praline is a crunchy preparation of crushed dried fruit that covers certain pastries. At first sight, praline looks like pralines that have been reduced to small pieces. The reality is slightly different, as it is usually only hazelnuts and not almonds, and the roasting of the fruit is less than for pralines. However, the manufacturing process is broadly similar: the dried fruit is cooked and stirred in sugar syrup, then chopped to give this delicious preparation that adds a delicate crunch to glazes, toppings and other creams.

Be careful not to confuse praline with praline. To make a praline, the roasted and caramelised dried fruits must be chopped, ideally by hand, and not mixed. When they are crushed, the hazelnuts are no longer crunchy and end up forming an almost liquid paste: this is the praline.

Praline, the gourmet secret of chocolate makers

The praline is undoubtedly the most prestigious and sophisticated of these three preparations. Praline is a paste of roasted and caramelised dried fruit that is used in many pastries and confectionery, as well as in the filling of certain chocolates. It can be made from almonds or hazelnuts, and more rarely from both.


To make its praline chocolates, Fauchon works with Pascal Caffet, Chef Chocolatier and Meilleur Ouvrier de France, for whom the science of praline has no secrets. He knows better than anyone that to obtain a smooth, intense and slightly grainy paste, a meticulous handcrafted production process must be followed.

Like pralines and praline, the quest for the perfect praline begins with the roasting of the dried fruit in a copper cauldron at 150 degrees for 45 minutes. This stage is essential as it allows the taste of the hazelnut or almond to be brought out to its full depth and subtlety.

The roasted fruit is then mixed with a sugar syrup in which it continues to cook. When the sugar has turned into caramel and crystallised around the hazelnuts or almonds, the preparation is heated once more to form a nougatine which is then broken with a hammer.

It is at this stage of the recipe that the magic happens: the pieces are then put into a blender, where they are first reduced to a powder, finer and finer, and then start to form a paste.

Some pastry chefs choose to grind the mixture further until it is perfectly smooth and very liquid, while other artisans seek a more rustic end result that retains some crunch.

When prepared for use in fine chocolates, the praline must go through a final stage. Still too liquid for this use, the praline must undergo an addition of cocoa butter which makes it denser and more solid.

You will have understood that praline, pralin and praliné are three monuments of pastry making which, although they are made from roasted dried fruit, each have their own identity. Although they deserve to be distinguished from each other, they are similar in one respect: once you have tasted them, it is difficult not to return!