Although the orgins of this candy is a bit of a mystery, little gift bags of neon pink sugar-coated almonds are displayed in the pâtisseries throughout Lyon. They are also incorporated into tarte aux pralines (2nd from the right), pastries and breads in this beautiful city.
They come in 3 ratios of almonds to sugar – 20, 30 or 50%. The recipe below is the 50% version meaning 8 ounces of almonds to 16 ounces of sugar. With this ratio you can scale the recipe up or down depending on how many candies you want to make.
8 ounces (250 g) whole unblanced almonds
1 pound (450 g) granulated sugar (divided into thirds)
1 teaspoon orange blossom water (per 4 oz almonds)
1/2 cup water (divided into thirds)
Red food coloring
After each stage, all utensils and pans should be cleaned to avoid premature syrup crystallization. To do this fast, fill pans with water, cover and bring to a boil and set to a simmer for about 15 minutes or so.
In a sauté or frying pan, place one-third of the water (1.5oz / 40ml) and sugar (3oz / 150g). Add a few drops of red coloring. Bring to a boil. When large bubbles begin forming, carefully add the almonds stirring constantly and shaking the pan. Add the orange flower water. The syrup will begin to crystallize; keep stirring so that the nuts are well coated in sugar.
At some point, some of the sugar will no longer adhere to the nuts, and it looks like powdered pink sugar. Allow it to melt slightly so that it coats the nuts again. Transfer the contents of the pan onto a silacone mat lined sheet pan. Set the nuts aside and save any of the pink sugar.
Clean all utensils and pans. Place the remaining pink sugar in a saucepan and add the second-third of the sugar and water. Add a couple of drops of red food coloring if necessary. Bring to a boil and continue to cook until temperature reaches 255ºF (124ºC) and if necessary washing down the sides of the pan with a pastry brusk dipped in a bit of water to prevent premature crystalization.
When the syrup is almost at the desired temperature, switch on the burner below a clean pan and add nuts. Pour the syrup over the nuts, stirring as you pour. Coat the almonds well on high heat. The syrup will once again begin to cristalize. Lower the heat if necessary. Allow the sugar that does not coat the almonds to melt; continue stirring. Do not over cook.
Transfer the contents of the pan onto the silicone mat lined sheet pan. Set the nuts aside and save remaining pink sugar. Repeat the last step one more time with the remaining water and sugar.
Preheat oven to 160°F (70°C) and dry out the pink praline for about 50 minutes.