endiants [mɑ̃.djɑ̃] are small chocolate discs topped with dried fruits and nuts. There are so many great things about these sweet little snacks! First, you can use either dark, milk or white chocolate. Even better, you can put any nuts, dried or candied fruits you like, so can easily make different mendiants for each member of your family! And last, but not least, they are so attractive that you can wrap them in a cellophane bag, put a ribbon, and you will have the most beautiful handmade edible gift ever!
The name mendiant comes from Latin word mendicans [ˈmɛndɪkəns] which means “begging”, and these chocolates represent four monastic orders originated in Middle Ages that relied on charity for a living. Each of the nuts and dried fruits used refer to the color of monastic robes – raisins for the Dominicans, hazelnut for the Augustins, dried fig for Franciscans and almond for Carmelite.
In French Provence mendiants are an inevitable part of traditional Christmas dinner. At the end of the meal, there are 13 desserts served, representing Jesus Christ and his 12 apostles having the Last Supper. Mmm, 13 desserts – that sounds delicious.
Enough story-telling, let’s make some mendiants! First things first, choose your chocolate. In this recipe, I’m using healthier, dark chocolate with high cocoa solids content, which means – less sugar. If you have a sweeter tooth than me, feel free to reach for milk chocolate or even a white one. Just make sure that you buy high-quality white chocolate, because if chocolate contains vegetable fats, it will be more difficult to temper it. If you have never tempered the chocolate before, take a look at my
The second step is to choose and prepare your toppings. Have everything ready; put each topping in a small dish – walnuts, hazelnuts, pecans, dried apricots, cranberries, raisins, candied peel, or if you are in a mood for superfood, pop in some dried , they are so healthy that you won’t feel guilty while munching these lovely treats!
OK, now you are ready. Prepare a peace of parchment paper and temper the chocolate. Put it into a piping bag and cut off the tip of the bag. Pipe discs 5cm (2″) in diameter, no more than ten at a time. As soon as you make ten discs, set the piping bag aside and top your mendiants before the chocolate sets. Remember, well-tempered chocolate sets quickly! Continue the process until you use all the chocolate. Enjoy nibbling!
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I read and really appreciate all the comments, even though I do not always have the time to respond to each one. So – keep me in the loop and try to create some sweetness every day because – Sweetness is happiness!!