Mendiant Chocolate Disc with Fruit and Nuts

Mendiants chocolat et fruits secs
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Literally this means beggar. What a strange name for a chocolate treat!

Mendiants are very thin chocolate discs with dry fruit or nuts (raisins, almonds, walnuts or pistachios). These chocolates have been served for a very long time in France. They are even part of the 13 desserts traditionally served for Christmas in the southern region of Provence. They are actually linked to the Christian religion in some respects.

The story behind mendiants

The name given to mendiant chocolates refers to its use of dried fruit. According to my sources there are several links between beggars, religion and dried fruit.

To begin with, among the 13 dishes shared by Jesus and his 12 apostles for the last supper (the “Ceme”), there were dried fruits (figs, almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts, white and brown sultanas). Then, in the 16th century, some men of the cloth took a vow of poverty and lived on the charity of others. The color worn by different catholic orders was a reference to the color of a particular dried fruit they received as beggars (mendiants): gray like dried figs for the Franciscans, white like skinned almonds for the Dominicans, purple like grapes for the Augustins and brown like hazelnuts for the Carns. The fruits used for the mendicant chocolates were chosen to represent the color of the clothes of the four mendicant orders.

Mendiant chocolates are sold all year long and are now must-haves for any chocolatier, but they are traditional and typical Christmas delicacies.

Quite funny to think that these delicious chocolates you are eating are supposed to represent poverty, isn’t it?

Chocolate tempering

Using the tempering technique ensure you to obtain shiny chocolate discs. But if you don’t have time to do so or if you don’t have any food thermometer at home, never mind. The only risk is of overheating the chocolate and that the chocolate disc will have a matte aspect.

This is optionnal, you can of course do this recipe by just gently melting chocolate, you will then get the kind of look as on my photo.

Mendiants chocolat et fruits secs

Mendiant Chocolate Disc with Fruits and Nuts

Mendiants, Literally meaning beggar in French. What a strange name for decadant chocolate treats. I give tell you the story behind and give you the recipe with which nuts and dried fruits to use.
5 de 1 vote
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Cuisine French
Servings 35 according to the size

Equipment

  • Food thermometer (if you use the technique of chocolate tempering / melting and hardening process)

Ingredients
  

  • 200 gr dark chocolate 7 oz, ±1/2 pound
  • 3 to 4 kinds of dried fruits nuts or candied fruits, possibly including: raisins, almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts, pistachio, fig, candied lemon or orange peels. 35 of each

Instructions
 

First prepare the toppings

  • Make sure you have 35 to 40 pieces of each (cut into smaller if needed for candied citrus peel or nuts for example

Melt chocolate, ideally using the following tempering techinique in 3 steps. If not gently melt chocolate.

  • 1- In a double boiler heat the chocolate up to 122/131°F (50/55°C).
  • 2- Then let the chocolate cool to 79/80°F (26/28°C)
  • 3- Heat again to 88/89°F (31/32°C).

Make mendiants

  • Place greaseproof paper or aluminum foil on a tray. Form small discs (about 1 inch in diameter) by using a piping bag or a spoon. I think a spoon is easier and helps to measure a constant quantity (about a tablespoon for each mendiant).
  • On top of this the back of the spoon can be used to flatten out the chocolate discs a little.
  • Immediatly after this, arrange 3 to 4 pieces of fruit and nut on each disc.

Allow to set

  • Leave in a cool room for at least 30 minutes so that the chocolate can cool down and set the fruits and nuts.
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Bon appétit !

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Written by Florence RICHOMME