This Southern dessert is great served by itself, alone or used an extra ingredient to other dessert recipes. Using other flavors to enhance the flavor of the pecan nut increases the complexity and enhances this confection to another level. Pecan Praline with Bourbon Barrel-Aged Barleywine adds a rich malty undertone with the benefit of layers of flavor from being bourbon barrel-aged. The use of a medium to heavily toasted oak barrels, adds an incredible vanilla element, along with the wonderful sultriness of a barleywine to this classic staple.
Brown sugar adds a nice almost butterscotch element, while evaporated milk brings a creamy mouthfeel, that when combined with a Barleywine, either an English Style Barleywine or American Style Barleywine, blends all the flavors together with the deep flavors of the pecan. This dessert dates back to the 1750s, originally created in Louisiana. This candies heritage links to a brittle, first being made with almonds. As this type of nut was imported, it was easy to see how the native pecan trees became used to craft these Pecan Praline treats. Using a bold, historic beer style made sense to me, when I created this Beer Cuisine | Cooking with Beer adaptation, highlighting the Barleywine beer style.
Tips to make the best Pecan Praline with Bourbon Barrel-Aged Barleywine:
For equipment, using a thick-bottomed pot will help maintain an even heat, preventing scorching while the caramel is formed. Besides lots of stirring, using an instant-read Thermometer is also key to the success of this recipe. Once the beer caramel reaches the softball stage (in candy making 238°F | 114°C) the optimal chewy texture will be created, to coat the pecan nut, wrapping them in a bourbon scented beer caramel and placed onto a sheet tray lined with parchment paper, wax paper or my personal favorite and reusable Silpat® silicone liner.
Try this Pecan Praline with Bourbon Barrel-Aged Barleywine at a beer tasting, crush them up and add to a crumble or mixing them into ice cream | cheesecake | cake layer or using it as a Southern sundae topping. Store the pecan praline in an airtight container and they will last for several weeks.
Serves: 6–8 servings
Makes: a little over 2 cups
Suggested Beer Pairing: Firestone Walker 14 Anniversary Blend