Bright pink, sugar-coated almonds are the star ingredient in Lyonnais pâtisserie. Unlike classic praline, Lyonnais praline is not caramelized. Instead, the sugar is heated and left snow white, then dyed bright pink. Lyonnais praline is sold in packets and can be eaten on its own, but often it is spotted on tarts, cakes, and desserts.
- Yield: 1 loaf
- Preparation Time: 30 Minutes
- Cooking Time: 45 Minutes
- ⅓ cup water
- 2 cups (400 g) sugar
- ⅔ cup (100 g) blanched almonds
- Good-quality red gel food coloring
- 1 recipe Brioche dough, chilled for at least 2 hours
- 1 egg yolk
- 2 tbsp milk
- Line a baking sheet with parchment. Pour half the water into a medium saucepan over medium heat with half the sugar and bring to a boil. Don’t stir, but gently swirl the pan until the sugar dissolves. When it reaches 275°F (the hard-ball stage) on the candy thermometer, remove it from the heat and stir in half the almonds. Continue to stir until the sugar has a sandy texture. Pour the mixture onto the prepared baking sheet to cool. Pick out and discard any lumps of sugar.
- When the almonds are almost cool, bring the remaining water and sugar along with the food coloring to 275°F. Quickly stir in the nuts so they are coated in the sugar and then immediately tip them back out onto the baking sheet. Too much stirring will make the sugar sandy, but do make sure each almond is coated individually in the pink sugar. Let cool before roughly chopping 3½ oz/100 g (and storing the rest in an airtight container).
- Remove the brioche dough from the fridge. Dust the work surface and the top of the dough with flour, then roll out to a square, roughly 16 by 16 inches. Move the dough around from time to time to make sure it’s not sticking to the work surface (dust with more flour if needed).
- Whisk together the egg yolk and milk to make an egg wash. Cut the dough into 6 equal squares. Brush each one with egg wash and sprinkle with the chopped praline (keep a little for sprinkling at the end). Lay the squares loosely against one another in the lined loaf pan, slotting them side by side like books on a shelf, filling the pan two-thirds full. You might find it easier with the pan on its side.
- Brush the dough with egg wash and let rise in a warm (but not too hot) place for 45 minutes, or until it has risen by 1 or 2 inches and looks puffy.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Carefully brush the brioche with egg wash and sprinkle with the remaining praline. Bake for 30 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. Let cool for 5 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely. The brioche will keep, tightly wrapped, at room temperature, for up to 3 days.