Wednesday, December 05, 2007


Wiki says "A mendiant is a traditional French confection composed of a chocolate disk studded with nuts and dried fruits representing the four mendicant or monastic orders of the Dominicans, Augustinians, Franciscans and Carmelites. Each of the nuts and dried fruits used refer to the color of monastic robes with tradition dicating raisins for the Dominicans, hazelnut for the Augustins, dried fig for Franciscans and almond for Carmelite. Usually found during Christmas, recipes for this confection have veered away from the traditional combination of nuts and fruits to other combinations incorporating seeds, fruit peels and other items."


To me the mendiants is simple, easy and delicious. For a quick confection nothing beats the Mendiant. You can choose to go with the traditional, or simply use what you have on hand. My choice today was to use what I had on hand. I simply used some salted nuts.

You begin with as good a quality of chocolate as possible. Chop it into small pieces, leave a few out to use after the bulk of it is heated. In a bowl, microwave it for 30 seconds, stir, and then again for 30 seconds. Your chocolate should be viscous, with a few lumps. If needed heat again for 15 seconds. You are trying to maintain the temper of the chocolate by heating it in this manner. Now your chocolate should be workable with a few small lumps, keep stirring it until it is smooth. If the chocolate has been heated to very warm, add a few of the still unmelted pieces of chocolate and stir them in until melted(it should be about the same temperature as you, just slightly warmer). This will allow the chocolate to return to temper and you'll be able to work with it without having the chocolate "bloom". Bloom is when the chocolate has that "white" powdery look to it. It was not in temper when you began, or got heated to melting later. Read more about tempering chocolate here.

chopped chocolate

Now you want to take tablespoons full of chocolate and make a round on a sheet of waxed paper. As you make the round, sprinkle a few nuts and dried fruits on the surface. Tada! Your Mendiant is done. Store layered between waxed paper in a closed container until your ready to serve them or give as gifts.