Cover a countertop with two or three sheets of parchment or waxed paper. In a large heavy-bottomed pot, add the cream and sugar. Grate the rind of the orange over the pot. Add the corn syrup and pecan pieces. Over medium heat, stir the mixture often until it becomes very thick and a candy thermometer registers 257 degrees F, about 1 hour. Remove the pot from the heat. Drop the mixture by the tablespoon, onto the parchment paper, working quickly. Cool completely. Pry the pralines off the paper with a thin knife. Store in an airtight container between layers of parchment paper at room temperature for up to 2 weeks. Give the pralines as gifts in individual decorative tins or wrapped in cellophane paper.
Recipe adapted from Creole Christmas Cookbook, by Emeril Lagasse with Marcelle Bienvenu, published by William Morrow, 1997