There are several kinds of pralines. They can be sugar-coated toasted almonds, hazelnuts or peanuts named after the 17th-century Maréchal de Plessis-Praslin, governor of the citadel of Blaye on the Gironde estuary, after they were invented by his chef Clément Jaluzot (the aristos always took all the credit!). They are now sold around the Gironde as the pralines de Blaye.
In the 19th century, a new kind of praline was developed in Montargis in the Centre-Val de Loire using caramelized sugar. Later these were made with dyed sugar to become pralines roses, a speciality of Lyon (in Belgium these are called chouchous).
Pralines roses are often crunched up as an ingredient in a dessert such as the gâteau de Saint-Genix or in Lyon’s tarte aux pralines (mixed with crème fraîche in a pastry shell) or in a praluline, a praline-filled brioche.
Pralin (or brésilienne or praline grain) means toasted and crushed hazelnuts (or almonds) used in a variety of desserts and chocolates.
Praliné is pralin made into a paste, also used in fine chocolates
Pralines in Belgium, on the hand, mean chocolates with a soft centre, invented in 1912 by Jean Neuhaus Jr. His grandfather had sold ‘medical bonbons’ that he covered in chocolate to improve the taste; the grandson made the inside as good as the outside, with a variety of fillings.
Images by bbte, Ji-Elle.CC BY-SA 4.0, PD