Mendiants Au Chocolat

Mendiants translates to beggars and symbolizes the four medieval Roman Catholic Mendicant Monastic Orders and colour of their robes. Raisins for the Dominicans, hazelnuts for the Augustines, dried figs for the Franciscans and almonds for the Carmelites. Mendicant orders originated in Europe during the Middle Ages. They relied on charity or begging for income.

Chocolate mendiants are small disks of dark chocolate adorned with nuts and dried fruit. These confections originate from Provence, France where they are traditionally served during celebrations and most notably, Christmas.

Today, there are many variations other than the four original fruit and nuts. An assortment of nuts can be used from walnuts, pecans, pistachios and macadamia. Various dried fruits can be used like apricot, cranberry, cherry, strawberry, blueberries, and coconut. Try a little bit of crystallized ginger or perhaps some dried edible flowers like lavender. A little bit of crushed peppermint candy or crushed French butter cookies would work nicely. Milk or white chocolate could also be used.

Ingredients

Directions

  1. Line a baking sheet with a Silpat liner or parchment paper.
  2. Use a double boiler on the stove to melt chocolate. If you don’t have a double boiler, place a stainless-steel bowl over a partially filled pot of lightly steaming water. Stir chocolate constantly around until melted, about 5 min. Chocolate will be shiny and smooth. Remove from heat.
  3. Drop one tablespoon of melted chocolate on your prepared baking sheet. Use the spoon to make small circles, about 5 cm in size. Make 7 chocolates at a time. Allow to set a bit before gently adding your toppings.
  4. Finish making the other half of your circles. If making a larger quantity of chocolate, gently reheat chocolate over a double boiler (if necessary).
  5. Allow chocolates to set for 45 min to 1 hr. before removing from baking sheet.
  6. Enjoy right away or store in an airtight container up to 3 days
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