Mendiants, traditionally made with raisins, figs, almonds and hazelnuts, meant to represent the lineage of four monastic religions orders in Europe. You may read additional references here.
These four fruits and nuts are ever-present among the thirteen dessert of Provence for Christmas (Nöel). A tradition of grand significance among families and locals in the region.
A delicate (and simple) chocolatey confection can be individually transformed from a white or dark chocolate canvas into colorful palettes. Veered away from the classic variety, today, Mendiants, are studded with a concoction of dried (or fresh) fruits and nuts. Ranging from figs to ginger, papaya, raisins, prunes, apricots, cranberries and nuts. Confections that delight for their smooth texture and fruity flavors. Finish them with a light sprinkle of fleur de sel for a great contrast of sweet and salty.
This Christmas, I was gladly surprised by my daughter and husband with two books and that I will be sharing with you in this and in upcoming posts.
One of them, ‘Lunch in Provence’, which we hope some day enjoy together, grabbed me not only because it is beautifully photographed by Rachael H. McKenna, whose work I fondly admire, but because while holding the book, it transported my mind, senses and wishes to be sitting at the terraces and no reservations needed. The book wisely compaginates quotes and cites many…
“…and then I have nature and art and poetry,
and if that is not enough, what is enough?
…if you truly love nature,
you will find beauty everywhere…”
Vincent van Gogh
One can be there strolling the beautiful places described in the book, wishing to flavor and indulge each of its meticulously described recipes prepared by Chef Charial with ingredients just minutes old.
“the better the ingredients
you use, the better your meal will be.
Whether you can devote a moment to scan this book (or can’t put it down), I will not be surprised to find out that you will soon be strategizing ways to spend time there. Let your artistic and creativity skills show making your very own homemade Mendiants. A great homemade snack for kids to enjoy along with a hot foamy whole milk cup during the holidays. I leave you with my version. Simple, quick, and I hope you will try it!
- 250 g dark chocolate (best quality you may find)
- A blend of dried apricots, dried figs, dried cranberries and walnuts (or any other dried fruit or nut in your pantry)
- Fleur de sel (optional)
- Melt chocolate au bain-marie. Stir gently until melted. Prepare 2 large sheets of parchment paper on a flat surface or tray. Using a baking spoon, drop small amount of melted chocolate onto parchment paper, creating pretty circles of approx. 5 cm in diameter. Decorate with almonds, figs, raisins, and hazelnuts, for a traditional Mendiant version. I used walnuts, finely chopped almonds and dried peach. Sprinkle with some sel to taste (optional). Leave the Mendiants to set and harden for about 10 minutes in the cooler. Gently lift them off the parchment paper and place on a serving plate or bowl. For 15 to 20 Mendiants.