Chocolate mendiants is a French confection that was traditionally prepared and enjoyed during the Holiday season. In Provence, the tradition was to end the Christmas Eve dinner with 13 desserts, mendiant being one of them. With the years, what was originally a once-a-year feast has become an all-year-long treat. Indeed, these little chocolate bites have become so popular that they are now widely available anytime of the year. Because they are so easy to prepare and store, chocolate mendiant is the perfect treat to be offered as a food gift. As with any other homemade presents, these exquisite confections will without a doubt, show your loved ones how much you care for them.
The featured chocolate mendiant is another delicious recipe inspired by the Stéphan Lagorce’s book "Chocolat". They can be prepared using dark, white or milk chocolate and sprinkled with your favorite choice of nuts, seeds and dried fruits. The two rules to create an exquisite mendiant are first of all, to use a premium chocolate since it is the main ingredient, and secondly, to finely chop your nuts and dried fruits to create a nice and clean presentation. It is also a good idea to toast your nuts prior using them. This will enhance their flavor as well as the overall the chocolate mendiant’s "experience".
Dipping dish from Sur La Table
A nice to-go box can be used as the food gift wrapping box
(Recipe for 20-25 mendiants)
8 oz (250g) of dark, white or milk chocolate
1 cup (150g) of mixed nuts, seeds and dried fruits of your choice
Finely grate the chocolate into a bowl and melt it in a water bath or over a pan of water at a maximum temperature of 95°F. When the chocolate melts, check the temperature; it should not exceed 89-91°F. Keep it at least for 20 minutes, stirring from time to time, then transfer to a bowl. When the chocolate has cooled to 84-89°F, you can begin preparing the mendiants.
Chop the nuts and dried fruits of your choice finely. Cover 2 large baking sheets with waxed paper. Using a tablespoon, spoon the chocolate onto the parchment, making 20 – 25 fairly thin rounds. Sprinkle them with the fruits and nuts mix as you go along.
Refrigerate the mendiants until set, and then peel off the parchment. They will keep for 4 or 5 days in an airtight container and longer if kept in the fridge.
1) Go for a contrast by sparkling some mendiants with only crystallized fruits and others only with nuts. If you like sharp flavors, you might try seasoning them while still soft with a pinch of Sichuan pepper, pimento, or allspice.
2) Recipe adapted from the book "Chocolat" by Stéphan Lagorce