Mendiant is a French confection consisting of chocolate disks or bars studded with dried fruits and nuts, with the confectionery item popularly referred to as chocolate bark. Mendiant is a French term for mendicant, known as chocolate bark in English. The confection is a popular treat during Christmas, the recipe for which has evolved over a period of several years from the traditionally used blend of dried fruits and nuts to several other combinations comprising fruits, fruit peels, and seeds. The mendiants are prepared in the form of large sized slabs, which are broken into small pieces in the form of round disks or chocolate bars and topped with flavoring of choice.
The confectionery item, mendicant, is a representation of four monastic orders of Dominicans, Franciscans, Augustinians, and Carmelites signifying raisins, dried figs, hazelnut, and almonds respectively. It is the color of the dried fruits and nuts which referenced the color of monastic orders or robes.
The mendiant recipe suggests using any of the flavorings from the below given list:
- Chocolate- various combinations of chocolates can be used like dark chocolate topped with chopped white chocolate and dark chocolate topped with milk chocolate morsels.
- Candy- the options include peppermint, crystallized ginger, novelty candies, and seasonal candies.
- Nuts- salted, raw, and honey roasted nuts can be chosen. The options include pistachios, hazelnuts, pecans, almonds, walnuts, and pralines.
- Dried fruits and citrus peel- any kind of dried fruits and citrus peel can be chosen, for example, dark and blond raisins, dried cranberries, dried blueberries, prunes, crystallized orange rind, and crystallized ginger.
- Salt- chopped salted pretzels or sea salt can be used as the flavoring for mendiant.
The basic mendiant recipe suggests lining baking sheet with silicone baking mat or parchment paper, and dropping spoonfuls of melted and tempered chocolate onto it. While dropping chocolate, it is important to make sure that it spreads out in the form of circle. Any kind of unevenness should be corrected. Thereafter, the desired flavoring ingredients should be topped onto each chocolate round. The baking sheet is then placed in the refrigerator for around fifteen to twenty minutes to allow the mendiants to set properly.
Mendiant can be stored in airtight container in a dry and cool place for around a week.