Rose named these little treats after the story of Scheherazade, who told her murderous husband a new story every night for 1001 nights, to keep him from killing her like he had all of his previous liaisons. In this case, it’s “Just one more … pecan praline.” Reading the title of the recipe immediately brought back high school band memories. I remember playing Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherazade, and I’m thinking we must have prepared it for a band festival. Maybe in Sherbrooke, QC? As I’m typing this up, I’m listening to the London Symphony Orchestra’s recording of “The Sea and Sinbad’s Ship.” Inspired by a couple of former band mates, I dug my flute out of the bottom of a box a while ago and started playing again for the first time in at least 10 years… I’ll have to see if I can find some sheet music for Scheherazade, because I remember loving it. I love how baking triggers and reinforces great memories. 🙂
These little treats were nothing if not quick and easy. Dump all of the ingredients except the vanilla and nuts into a pot, then caramelize it.
While I was standing over the pot of molten sugar, I had it occur to me that it was a rather ridiculous thing to be doing on a really hot day (for May in Southern Ontario – it’s all relative). I’ve been doing a bit of introspection lately, because I’m about to make a significant career change, and I’m spending some time thinking about what it is I like about what I do and why I enjoy the things I enjoy doing.
For baking, I think it’s because I love the look of delight on someone’s face when they bite into something I’ve made. Everyone’s reactions are different, but for people I’m close to, I can definitely tell the difference on a scale from “This was yummy, but I’m also hungry and anything would be yummy right now,” and something akin to “OMG, will you marry me?” (which I’ve only ever heard aloud from women in recent years…). 😉
For work, I really like solving problems. I think part of why I enjoy that is for a similar reason. The scale of reactions are different, but it’s a range from “Ugh, you’re telling me I have to go through how many steps to do my job, now?” to “Oh, wow, I had no idea you could make that work. My job is going to be so much easier now.” I think what gets me out of bed in the morning is an opportunity to create an experience for people I care about. And I actually care about most people, oddly enough.
In my personal life, every now and then, I’ll plan an event and it’s not always because it’s something I really want to do, but because it’s something I think the people I care about will enjoy. As an example, on our trip to Italy, I planned a visit to the home of Ferrari, in Modena, and a stop on the way at the Pagani Factory in Castelfranco Emilia. We got to tour both the original factory and the one that they were in the process of moving into at the time. I didn’t plan it because I like fast cars, but because I knew Jay would remember it forever.
Anyway, once you’ve finished your navel gazing, and the caramel is up to temperature, pour it over the chopped pecans, let it cool, stir in the vanilla, then shape it into something round-ish on the silpat lined baking sheets.
These were a little bit softer and gooier than I expected. For some reason, I was expecting them to harden to crunchy candy, rather than stay as soft caramel. They’re more like the inside of a turtle candy than anything else I can think of. I’m not sure if I did anything wrong, or if that’s how they were meant to be. I didn’t feel like there was enough of these to bother taking them in to work, so I think they’ll stash nicely in the freezer to pull out as an accompaniment to a late night scoop of ice cream. 🙂