Mendiants are chocolate discs with dried fruit and nuts on top and were traditionally eaten at Christmas in the south of France. I know it’s a long way off from December, but today there’s a festive air, what with the long weekend and the snowflakes that have been gently tumbling out of the sky for several hours now.
This Easter Sunday we’ve been invited to dinner. It seems only right that we take a a chocolate gift to offer to our hosts. With the help of Pierre Hermé’s book Chocolate Desserts, I’ve been learning how to temper chocolate. You don’t have to cool and reheat the chocolate to make mendiants, but if you want to try and avoid the little white crystals known as a bloom, I recommend that you do.
Makes 20 discs
45g dried fruit and nuts
Line a baking sheet with greaseproof paper. Chop the dried fruit and nuts into small pieces. Break the chocolate into small pieces and melt in a bowl over a saucepan of hot water until the chocolate reaches 49˚C. Allow the melted chocolate to cool to 27 to 28˚C.
Gently reheat the chocolate to 30 to 32˚C for dark chocolate and 29 to 31˚C for milk or white chocolate.
Take a dessertspoonful of melted chocolate and pour it onto the greaseproof paper. It will spread out by itself to form a disc. Make a row of discs, then take a few pieces of dried fruit and nuts, and gently place them on the discs. Continue making discs, row by row, until you’ve used up all the ingredients.
Place the baking sheet in the refrigerator for 15 minutes to set.