Mendiants are small chocolate disks topped with candied fruits and nuts. They look beautiful but can be time-consuming and tricky to make when using tempered chocolate and candying the nuts. I made a simpler version by using leftover ingredients. Melted chocolate left from a recipe test? Check. Walnuts or pine nuts? Yes. Four squares of candied ginger, a handful of dried cranberries… you get the idea. This is probably heresy but it works! I had only to rewarm the formerly melted chocolate. While the chocolate was melting, I lined a sheet pan with parchment and gathered the bits of fruit and nuts. Straight out of the refrigerator and onto a silver tray, the leftovers became elegant confections worthy of a grown-up party. I still think of them as fancy leftovers, though.
Since I am very busy this month, working with Rouxbe on the new Vegan Baking Essentials Course (whoot to being the Director of Vegan Baking and Pastry), this is what I am bringing to the seder at my daughter’s home. Maybe I’ll do a few with broken pretzel sticks for the boys. What’s not to like, they are chocolate? I’ll bring some of the Dukkah-Spiced Chocolate–Covered Matzoh, too.
Notes: All amounts are approximate: use more or less depending on what you have. About a half tablespoon of melted chocolate makes a thin 2 to 2 1/2-inch / 5 to 6-cm thin confection, but figure in a little bit of extra chocolate for chocolate that sticks to the spoon. If the leftover melted chocolate is streaked with white, warm it with a few small chunks of solid chocolate to “temper” it . Tempered chocolate sets fast, so you will have to add the toppings quickly. If the melted chocolate is not tempered, it will stay liquid for an hour, at least.
Makes about 12 Thin Mendiants
- 3 ounces / 85 grams dark chocolate (70 to 72%), melted and kept warm in a water bath
- 6 walnuts, halved or quartered
- 10 blanched almonds, coarsely chopped
- 1/2 ounce / 12 grams candied ginger, slivered or cubed
- 1 1/4 ounces / 35 grams any dried fruit, slivered or cubed if large
- 1/4 ounce / 5 grams pine nuts (about 24)
- Line a baking sheet with plastic wrap or parchment paper.
- Drop a tablespoonful of the chocolate onto the sheet and use the back of a spoon to spread it into a thin round about 2 to 2 1/2 inches / 5 to 6 cm in diameter. Keep the thickness of the round as even as possible. Make only 6 at a time to ensure that the chocolate doesn’t set before the toppings are added.
- For each mendiant, arrange a walnut half, a couple of pieces of almond, some of the ginger, a piece of another dried fruit, and 2 or 3 pine nuts on top of the chocolate, creating your own design. Repeat the process until you have used all of the melted chocolate, nuts, and fruits. Allow the mendiants to harden at room temperature. You can speed the process by placing the tray in the refrigerator.
Mendiants (even made from leftovers) deserve to be served on an elegant tray. These are perfect party confections, or a lovely snack to enjoy at tea time. (Sip from a tea cup, not a mug!)
Store the mendiants in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to four days.
Recipes reprinted with permission from Vegan Chocolate: Unapologetically Luscious and Decadent Dairy-Free Desserts, by Fran Costigan, (Running Press 2013). Photo credit: © Kate Lewis