As the story goes, the first praline recipe appeared in the 17th century. The original recipe is attributed to the Marshall de Plassis-Praslin's cook, who set up a confectioner's in Montargis specialising in what was called praslines. To get the fine powder you need to make pralines, you either need ground almonds or a really good blender.
Use the same quantity of sugar and almonds (or half almonds and half hazelnuts, according to taste). Pour into a thick-bottomed pan and cook on a moderate heat to caramelise the sugar. Keep a close eye on the mixture so that it doesn't burn, and mix frequently to coat the almonds in the caramel.
Once the sugar is golden brown, pour onto a surface covered with baking paper. Leave to cool, then break the block into pieces. Blend in a food processor to obtain a rough powder. Note that the mixture will heat up as it breaks down, so stop your blender from time to time. The powder you obtain is praline. Carry on blending to get praline paste (the oil from the nuts frees itself and turns the mixture into a creamy paste).
> Open your food processor regularly to make sure any paste up the sides falls back within reach of the blade.
> Keep praline in a closed container in a dry place.
Quick recipe using ready-ground almonds
5 tbsp sugar
A little butter
5 tbsp ground almonds
Preparation (takes 2 minutes!):
Caramelise the sugar and a knob of butter, add the ground almonds and mix. Spread out to cool on baking paper, break into pieces and blend in a food processor.