I often buy one or two mendiants from artisanal chocolate shops in Paris. They’re great with coffee. I hadn’t thought about making them till recently – they are so easy and make a great gift. You can you your imagination with the toppings. Traditionally made at Christmas in France, these round disks of dark chocolate studded with dried fruits and nuts represent the four mendicant or monastic orders. Raisins for Dominicans, hazelnuts for Augustinians, dried figs for Franciscans and almonds for Carmelites.
150g top quality dark cooking chocolate (makes about 20-22)
A selection of roasted nuts such as blanched almonds, shelled pistachios, walnut pieces, hazelnuts
A selection of dried and/or crystallised fruits such as apricots, figs, cranberries, raisins, ginger – cut into small pieces
Line a baking tray with baking paper. Melt the chocolate in a bowl over simmering water.
Once melted, place teaspoons of chocolate on the baking sheet and smooth each into a round disk. Do a few at a time and decorate each with your choice of nuts and dried fruit. Leave to set. Store in an airtight container.