The New Orleans
Yield: 1 8-inch (20-cm) round cake • about 16 servings
For the Classic Pralines (20 ounces/560 g)
  • 1 cup (200 g) granulated sugar
  • 1 cup (220 g) firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • 3⁄4 cup (180 ml) heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons corn syrup
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 1⁄2 cups (150 g) pecans, toasted (see page 19) and roughly chopped
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
For the Sweet and Salty Caramel Sauce (about 11⁄3 cups/315 ml)
  • 1 cup (200 g) granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 1⁄2 cup (120 ml) heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon fleur de sel
  • 1⁄4 cup (55 g) sour cream
For the Brown Sugar Praline Ice Cream (about 3 pints/1.4 L)
  • 5 large egg yolks
  • 21⁄2 cups (600 ml) heavy cream
  • 3⁄4 cup (180 ml) milk
  • 1 cup (220 g) firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1⁄4 cup (60 ml) Sweet and Salty Caramel Sauce (see opposite page) or your favorite store-bought caramel
  • 3⁄4 cup (75 g) crushed Classic Pralines (see opposite page, or you can substitute store-bought)
For the Graham Cracker Layers
  • 15 (5-by-21⁄4-inch/12-by- 5.5-cm) graham crackers
  • 4 ounces (1 stick/115 g) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
For the Assembly
  • 3⁄4 cup (75 g) toasted pecans, chopped
  1. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In a medium saucepan, combine both sugars, the heavy cream, corn syrup, and salt. Stir the mixture gently and continuously with a wooden spoon over low heat until the sugar dissolves; avoid splashing the sides of the pan. Once the sugar has dissolved, stop stirring, and clip a candy thermometer to the side of the pan (the candy thermometer should be suspended in the liquid and should not touch the bottom of the pan). Turn the heat up to medium-high and continue cooking the mixture until it reaches the soft-ball stage (235°F to 238°F / 112°C to 114°C), 5 to 10 minutes.
  3. Remove the pan from the stove and stir vigorously for 2 minutes to release excess heat. Stir in the pecans, butter, and vanilla and continue stirring for 2 more minutes. Using a spoon or a small ice-cream scoop with a release mechanism, drop the mixture by heaping tablespoons onto the prepared baking sheets and allow the pralines to cool to room temperature.
  4. Once cooled, place approximately 5 ounces (140 g) of the pralines in a large zip-tight plastic bag and crush with a rolling pin, or alternatively, chop into small chunks with a chef’s knife. The crushed pralines should equal about 3⁄4 cup. Set this amount aside for the ice cream. (The remaining pralines [15 ounces/420 g] make excellent gifts and snacks. We like to crush all of the pralines and use the praline powder for ice cream and cake décor.) The pralines can be made ahead and stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
  1. In a medium saucepan, combine the granulated sugar and corn syrup with 1⁄4 cup (60 ml) water. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring gently until the sugar dissolves, avoiding splashing any of it up on the sides of the pan. Increase the heat to high and cook, without stirring, over high heat until the mixture is dark amber, just shy of 350°F (175°C) on a candy thermometer, 6 to 8 minutes (keep a close eye on it, as it goes from golden brown to black very quickly). Remove from the heat and slowly add the cream (be careful, as it will bubble up) and then the fleur de sel. Whisk in the sour cream. Let cool completely.
  2. Set aside 1⁄4 cup (60 mg) of the sauce for the ice cream; excess sauce can be used to decorate the finished cake or reserved for another use. The caramel sauce can be made, covered tightly, and refrigerated up to 3 days ahead. Allow to come to room temperature before adding to the ice cream.
  1. Place the egg yolks in a large heatproof bowl and set aside.
  2. In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, stir together the cream, milk, brown sugar, butter,
  3. and salt. Slowly bring the mixture to a full simmer (but do not let it boil), and remove from the heat. 3 Whisk the egg yolks until just combined, then slowly stream in half of the hot cream mixture while whisking constantly. Transfer the egg mixture back to the saucepan containing the other half of the hot cream mixture. Heat the custard over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until it is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon (about 175°F/80°C on an instant-read thermometer). 4 Remove from the heat and strain the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl. Whisk in the vanilla, and let the custard cool to room temperature. Press a piece of plastic wrap directly onto
  4. the surface of the mixture to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate for 4 hours.
  5. Pour the custard into an ice-cream maker and process according to the manufacturer’s directions. About 2 minutes before the ice cream is done churning, stream in the caramel sauce, followed by the crushed pralines. Transfer the mixture to an airtight container and place in the freezer to completely firm up (about 3 hours) before assembling the cake. If you make the ice cream ahead of time (it will last in the freezer for up to 5 days; place a piece of parchment on top of the ice cream
  6. to prevent freezer burn), allow it to thaw until it is workable before assembling the cake.
  1. Just prior to assembling the cake (not ahead of time), place the graham crackers in a large zip- tight plastic bag and crush them with a rolling pin to create about 2 cups (230 g) of graham cracker crumbs.
  2. In a large bowl, stir to combine the graham cracker crumbs, butter, and granulated sugar together. Set aside.
  1. Lightly spray the sides and bottom of an 8-inch (20-cm) springform pan with cooking spray. (You can use a 9-inch/23-cm round springform instead, though the 8-inch/20-cm will give the cake a little more height and visual air.)
  2. Press one-third of the graham cracker mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan in an even layer, then place in the freezer for 10 minutes. Place the ice cream in a mixing bowl and stir with a spatula to make it workable. Scoop one-third of the ice cream over the graham mixture and smooth with an offset spatula to create an even layer. Add another third of the graham mixture over the ice cream and press it into an even layer with your hands. Place the cake and remaining ice cream in the freezer for 45 minutes. Remove the cake and the bowl of ice cream from the freezer and add another third of the ice cream, smoothing the top. Add the remaining graham mixture and press it into an even layer with your hands. Return the cake and ice cream to the freezer for another 45 minutes. Remove the cake and bowl of ice cream from the freezer and top the graham layer with the remaining ice cream. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and freeze until completely hardened, at least 4 to 6 hours, or overnight.
  3. To serve, remove the cake from the freezer. Run hot water over the blade of a paring knife, dry it off, then run it between the cake and the sides of the pan. Release the sides of the pan and place the cake on a serving platter. Sprinkle the top of the cake with a handful of pecans and gently press the remaining pecans onto the sides of the cake. Again, use a hot knife to run between the bottom of the springform pan and the cake. Gently push or lift the cake o the springform bottom and set it back down on the serving platter. Slice and serve immediately with an extra drizzle of caramel, if you like.
How to store: If you have leftovers, cover the cake with foil and freeze for up to 1 week.
Recipe by Baked Sunday Mornings at