Pecan pralines using aluminum cookware

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Joined Aug 4, 2000
SAVEUR MAGAZINE, I just received its twenty-fifth anniversary edition and it features a recipe for pecan pralines. Is there some reason that stainless was selected for cookin up a batch? Is there some reason that I could not or should not use an aluminum pan for cooking the recipe? Is the recipe using the typical ingredients acidic?
 
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There could be a couple of reasons. Perhaps they feel that using stainless is more likely to ensure that a thicker pan is used so hot spots are avoided. Hot spots make burning sugar very difficult. But often the preference for stainless is that it’s easier to see the caramel color as it develops. I’ve found stainless to be marginally easier to clean after burning sugar. But if you really want a nice tool to work with... try copper!
 
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This is just my experience but sugar caramelizing on aluminum is a lot harder to scrub off than on stainless, so maybe that is a reason. Another could be that stainless seems to be more popular if not at least available than aluminum pans. But personally, although I haven't made a ton of these and am no master baker in any way I usually cooked these on a silpat anyways so the pan was kind of a secondary thought.
 
4,388
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Joined Aug 4, 2000
This is just my experience but sugar caramelizing on aluminum is a lot harder to scrub off than on stainless, so maybe that is a reason........
Okay YOUR EXPERIENCE is just what I wanted to read. Experience and not speculation. Thank you. And now I'll go out and purchase another another stainless pot for making pralines. Mmmmm mmmmm. A new toy.

@nicko I did not receive any notification on Seoul Food's post that preceeds this one. What's up with this as I am not receiveing notifications on my threads??????
 
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Hey folks,

After making a pan of Caramel, add two inches of water, cover, and place on a burner set below simmer. The pan "cleans" itself. Just let the water do the work...

I came up with my own reason to use stainless, Sugar, in a solution, will grow on any foreign object. Think Rock Candy... Aluminum is soft enough to lose molecules with less friction than stainless. When I competed with blown/pulled sugar, I wanted to reduce all risk factors of crystallization because isomalt was yet to be invented...
 
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I’ve used stainless for making caramel in my last job—twice a week for almost ten years. In that kitchen I didn’t have a gas stove, just electric.

My preference for S/S is mainly because of the “ sandwich bottom”, which ironically is a hunk of aluminum sandwiched between the pot bottom and a S/S disc. As Brianshaw notes, this bottom greatly reduces hotspots. I also find aluminum warps easy, especially with high heat. It usually warps concave which isn’t too bad when using a gas stove, but is really a waste of energy when using electric stoves.
The third reason is colour. “My caramel” was made with milk, cream and sugar, and reduced over a 2 hr stint on the stove. This needs to be stirred every so often, and a whisk is ideal. If you use an aluminum pot with dairy and a whisk, you will get a grey metallic colour.
 

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