Pecan Praline Cream
Mardi Gras easily falls into my top five favorite holidays. The order is something like July 4th, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Halloween, and Mardi Gras. I lived in New Orleans for a short time at the turn of the century. If not for September 11th, I might still live there. The city’s laid back laissez faire vibe, the music, and the humidity all sat well with me. So every year on Mardi Gras, I make it a point to subject my co-workers to 100% NoLa tunes all day.
And unlike other holidays where I don’t have my shit together to make a special pie, Mardi Gras is important enough to get a little planning. Options? The obvious would be some kind of pie-like take on king cake. But while searching for any classic New Orleans pies, I came upon praline cream pie. Google Books had quite a few mentions in bodice rippers, as well as several recipes. The basics sound pretty inline with a last bash before Lent—a thick layer of pecan praline, topped with vanilla pudding and maybe whipped cream. Why not?
Something about The Spruce Eats recipe for pralines struck me as genuine…. And had the ingredients I had on hand. Sugar, brown sugar, half and half, butter, vanilla, and pecans. All it takes. The recipe makes just about the right amount, too.
I topped that with a basic vanilla pudding like you can find anywhere online. Or out of a box.
And, in what is to me pretty Mardi Gras, the topping is silly and a bit tacky—colored whipped cream. Because why the eff not? (Yeah, I had problems mixing red and blue to get the right purple. Food coloring is not my friend, and I was limited to basic grocery store pickings.)
No recipe on this post, but here are basic directions.
Afterwords: It sat in the fridge a day and became more impressive than the first day. What will I do differently next time? More pecans, less praline, aiming for a half-inch thick layer. And a sturdier vanilla cream, like the one used in Flapper Pie
Fully bake a 9” deep dish pie shell.
When cool, prepare The Spruce Eat’s Easy Creamy Pecan Pralines and pour as much as you’d like into the shell.
Prepare about 3-4 cups of your favorite vanilla pudding, custard, or pastry cream. Cool some, pour atop the praline, and chill the entire pie.
Top with whipped cream, slice, and serve.