Whether it’s Easter or Christmas, and apart from enjoying traditional chocolate eggs or chocolate in any order form, we think that chocolate mendiants should also be part of these festive days. Making mendiants requires some technical skills but with our instructions you should find it straightforward to transform plain chocolate into an elegant dessert. It is surely a perfect gift for every chocolate lover.
You can choose to just simply melt chocolate and let it harden again once the candied fruit and nuts are added, but tempering will make your chocolate shiny, with a snap texture and it will look more appetising.
When tempering, melted chocolate is first cooled, causing the fatty acid crystals to form nuclei around which the other fatty acids will crystallize. Once the crystals connect, the temperature of the chocolate is raised again to keep them from solidifying. Temperatures will differ depending on the kind of chocolate that is tempered. A food thermometer will help to get the exact temperatures required for this process.
History of chocolate mendiants
Chocolate mendiants are a traditional French confection composed of a chocolate disk studded with nuts and dried fruits representing the four mendicant or monastic orders. Each of the ingredients used refers to the colour of monastic robes. White is represented by almonds for the Dominicans, the grey of raisins stands for the Franciscans, the brown of the hazelnuts for the Carmelites, and purple from the dried figs for the Augustinians.
Today, there are plenty of options to personalise mendiants and get creative. Besides the shape you can decorate them with a variety of nuts, dried fruits, seeds, and sprinkles such as salt and popping candy.
Also read our other chocolate recipes.
French Chocolate Mendiants
Temper the chocolate
- Chop the dark chocolate. Melt over a bain-marie and stir until the temperature reaches 45°C.
- When it reaches the correct temperature, remove the bowl from the bain-marie.
- Decrease the temperature to 27-28°C . You can use an ice bath to speed up this cooling process.
- Place the bowl again over a bain-marie and stir occasionally. Increase the temperature up to 29-30°C.
- Transfer the tempered chocolate into a piping bag.
Pipe the chocolate onto a baking sheet or Silpat.
- Before the chocolate sets completely, arrange and gently press down the mixed fruits and nuts into the chocolate discs.
- Let the chocolates crystallise at room temperature before removing the chocolate mendiants from the baking sheet.
- Milk chocolate is tempered at the same temperatures as dark chocolate.
- White chocolate needs to cool down to 25°C and increase in temperature to only 27-28°C.