Panderina D. Soumas hails from South Louisiana, but her travels landed her in Bossier City, where she sells her Creole food products. People travel miles to taste Soumas’s pralines, delectable creamy concoctions with pecans and lagniappe, a little something extra Soumas adds that’s an old family secret, one she’s not telling. In her Soumas Heritage Creole Cookbook, there’s a recipe for her pralines along with the family memoirs, what constitutes a Creole and “ancestral legends.” We’re including one here (you’ll have to guess what the secret ingredient would be) but you can purchase this fabulous cookbook at www.lulu.com and her products at http://www.soumasheritagecreole.com/.
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
1 cup pecan halves
1/2 cup light cream
2 tablespoons butter
Directions: Dissolve sugars in cream and boil to the thread test (228 degrees), stirring occasionally. Add the butter and pecans; cook until syrup reaches the soft-ball test (236 degrees), or forms a soft ball in water. Cool. Beat until somewhat thickened but not until it loses its gloss and drop by tablespoonful onto a greased marbled slab or double thickness of waxed paper. The candy will flatten out into large cakes. Yields 12 pralines.
Cheré Coen is a Lafayette freelance travel and food writer. She is coauthor of “Cooking in Cajun Country” with Karl Breaux, “Exploring Cajun Country: A Tour of Historic Acadiana” and the upcoming “Haunted Lafayette, Louisiana.” Write her at firstname.lastname@example.org.