Mendiants – French Christmas Chocolates

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M

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.

Mendiants, Pastry Maestra

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 post about tempering chocolate.

Mendiants, Pastry Maestra

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 goji berries, they are so healthy that you won’t feel guilty while munching these lovely treats!

Goji berries
Goji berries
Photo source: wikipedia.org

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!

Mendiants, Pastry Maestra

Mendiants Recipe

by:Tereza Alabanda,The Pastry Maestra

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ISPIŠI PDF (HR)

Prep. time : 20 minutes

Cook time : 0 minutes

Ready in 30 minutes

Level : Advanced

Ingredients:

  • Chocolate 70% 200g (7oz)
  • Pistachios 50g (1.8oz)
  • Dried apricots 50g (1.8oz)
  • Candied orange peel 50g (1.8oz)
  • Goji berries 50g (1.8oz)

Directions

  1. Prepare the dried fruits and nuts, and a piece of parchment paper.
  2. Temper the chocolate. Melt dark chocolate until it reaches 50°C (122°F). Then, cool it to 26°C (79°F). Reheat the chocolate to 30°C (86°F).
  3. Put tempered chocolate into a piping bag and cut off the tip of the bag. Pipe discs 5cm (2″) in diameter on the parchment paper, no more then ten discs at a time.
  4. As soon as you make ten discs, set the piping bag aside and top your mendiants with nuts and fruits before the chocolate sets.
  5. Continue the process until you use all the chocolate.
  6. Allow mendiants to set, take them off the parchment paper and store them in a box.

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