4/18/04 by Joan Hallmark
East Texas is filled with great cooks, and, in most cases, each has their own delicious, signature recipe. Carrie Burgoyne's signature recipe is for pralines and most who taste them say they're the best they've ever tasted.
Carrie's pralines have always been in great demand. She's even had offers from top food corporation to include her pralines in their Christmas catologues.
Most of the time, Carrie cooks up pralines in big batches and gives them out at church socials. However, since she's had so many requests from cooks who would like to learn how to make them, she's holding a series of small cooking classes with proceeds from registrations going to buy Christian literature for missionaries on the tiny Carribean island of Dominica from 1988 until 1993 and they know first hand of the many needs there.
Carrie is the first to admit that the ingredients for pralines can be found in many cookbooks, but the extra hints for making them have come from experience and from consultants with top chefs such as the Mansion's Dean Fearing.
Here's the recipe for Carrie Burgoyne's pralines. Just be sure to call them "praylines", not "prahlines" because in Texas, Carrie says, "we pray, not prah".
1 cup of buttermilk
1 teaspoon of soda
3 cups sugar
1 cup butter
pinch of salt
1 tablespoon white corn syrup
1 teaspoon of vanilla
1 1/2 cups pecan halves
Add soda to buttermilk and stir over medium heat briefly...add sugar, butter, salt, and syrup to buttermilk mixture. Stir constantly, increase heat. It's important they are cooked to 234-235 degrees to remain smooth and creamy after they are dipped out.
When soft-ball stage is reached, remove from heat, add vanilla, and pecans and put pot in ice water to cool rapidly.
Continue stirring until it loses its glossy look, about five to eight minutes. Dip out by spoonfuls on foil sheet, and enjoy.