Oui, Oui Dark Chocolate Mendiants E.A.T. 36

There are chocolates and there are chocolates.  Not all are created equally. One of my favorites for making these easy Mendiants is a French brand, Valrhona.It is fitting to use this brand as Mendiants are a French confection. You can, of course, use any good quality, bittersweet chocolate. Mendiants are so easy to make and very beautiful in their simplicity. Studded with orange peel, pistachios, sea salt, almonds, candied ginger, coconut shreds and edible gold flakes these would make a lovely, sweet Valentines gift. Oui? Oui, oui it’s as easy-as-this.

I use a double boiler pan to melt the chocolate, but you can just place in a metal bowl over a pan of simmering water if you don’t have one. Gather all your add-ins while chocolate is melting in little bowls so you can work quickly while chocolate is still warm and melted.

 I drew around a small glass creating circles on a sheet of parchment paper to help me make the mendiants all about the same size. I added a dollop of melted chocolate to each circle, then spread it out with the back of a spoon and sprinkled toppings, working with one circle at a time, slightly pressing ingredients down into the still melted chocolate.

All you do is let the chocolate cool and harden. It really is as easy-as-this.

Oui, Oui Dark Chocolate Mendiants

Ingredients: (you can use all or just some of these when making your own Mendiants. I varied ingredients so they were all a little different. You can also just use whatever you have on hand…pecans, walnuts, any candied fruit, etc.)

  • 16 ounces good quality bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds
  • 1/4 cup candied or dried orange peels
  • 1/4 cup pistachios, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon edible gold flakes, hearts, or any edible gold cake decorations
  • 1/4 cup candied ginger, chopped
  • 1/4 cup golden raisins
  • 2 tablespoons sea salt flakes, such as Maldon
  • 1/4 cup toasted coconut flakes or shreds

Directions:

  1. In the top of a double boiler melt the chocolate over simmering water. Stir every so often. You can also melt the chocolate in a bowl set over a pan of simmering water if you do not have a double boiler pan. Make sure all your pans and spoons are clean and dry with no moisture so the chocolate will not “seize”.
  2. While chocolate is melting, gather all your add-ins…nuts, fruit, etc.
  3. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Using a glass about 3 inches in diameter turned upside down, draw 15 circles over the paper with a pencil. These will be your “guide” for making mendiants round and approximately the same size. It’s okay if they are not perfect.
  4. When chocolate is totally melted, using a spoon, add a dollop to each circle. Spread out to the edges of your “circles” on the parchment creating chocolate disks about 1/4 inch thick, more or less. While chocolate disks are still soft, stud each with a variety of ingredients. Gently press ingredients down into the chocolate so they are embedded somewhat into the surface.
  5. Leave finished mendiants on sheet of parchment to cool and  harden completely. Serve immediately or store in a lidded container in the refrigerator for later.
  6. To give as a gift put a few in a small candy bag or box. These make great easy-to-make at home edible tokens of affection.

I first made these for a magazine article I was working on a few years ago. Since I have made them a few times as they are so beautiful and delicious and are always a welcome gift.

Teresa Blackburn.    teresablackburnfoodstyling.com

 

Snow Storm Sweets, Sweden & Slater

Inspiration can come from many places, both expected & unexpected. Much of my inspiration this winter in regards to food has come from  the unusually large number of snow storms we have had, the book “NOMA – Time and Place in Nordic Cuisine”, and the cooking books “Tender” by Britain’s food writer, Nigel Slater & February 14th!

” Snow Storm Desserts for Friends and Lovers”

“blackberry snow-granita”

…a very beautiful color, texture & taste

Recipe: In food processor mix together 1 pint of blackberries &  1 cup caster or powdered sugar. Pulse until well blended.  Scoop up one large bowl of freshly fallen snow. Pour blackberry-sugar mixture over snow and mix together until well blended. Mixture will be grainy looking. Eat immediately or store in freezer in air-tight container until ready to eat.

“very, very vanilla snow cream”

…a lovely creamy & softly grainy vanilla cream.

To Make: Whisk together in a large bowl 2 tbsp vanilla paste, 3/4 to 1 cup caster or powdered sugar &  1/2 cup cold whipping cream. Add bowl of fresh snow and quickly, but thoroughly,  mix together with a whisk or wooden spoon. Mixture should be a bit creamy. Taste & adjust flavorings. Eat immediately or pack mixture into a container with a tight lid and freeze until ready to eat.

To Serve: Plain or with a  chewy chocolate brownie & berries

The common thread between our Tennessee snow storms, the book on Nordic cuisine & Nigel Slater’s books “Tender” is that each one has given me some beautifully inspiring images & ideas about winter foods & cold beauty.

Image: “Snowman” from “NOMA – Time & Place in Nordic Cuisine”, Author Rene Redzpl, Phaidon Press

Image: “Parsnips” from “Tender/Volume 1”, Author Nigel Slater, Fourth Estate Press

Image: “Bowl Impression in Snow”, 2/10/11 Nashville, TN

Image: “Blueberries in Snow Bowl”, 2/10/11 Nashville, TN

Image: Stack of Candies, 2/4/11

… keep it simple, be sweet & stay cozy….