Gorgeous, huh? Yummy? You bet!
And the best part is that, with a quick flick of a switch and your wrist, you too can make these beauties, part of the Thirteen Desserts of a Provençal Christmas.
Mendiants au Chocolat Noir ou Blanc
Makes about 75 – 100 candies, depending on size of circles
1 pound dark bittersweet chocolate (60 – 70% cacao) or good-quality white chocolate
Dried figs, cut into small squares
Almonds, shelled, blanched if desired, toasted*
Hazelnuts or walnut halves, toasted*
Turn on a burner to medium. Melt the chocolate gently in a double boiler. Meanwhile, take parchment paper or freezer paper, spread it out on a table and draw small circles (about 2 inches in diameter) about 2 inches apart from each other, using a glass of the appropriate size. (If you use freezer paper, use the shiny side.) Pour a few spoonfuls of chocolate onto the circles and immediately push in the nuts and fruits, using one of each type per candy.
If you like fancy, and have the skills, pipe a few designs with white frosting (or chocolate if using white chocolate for the mendiants) on to the bare parts of the candies.
Let cool, peel candies off the paper and store in a cold place, separated by wax paper.
Great for gifts, for making with your kids and friends, and — I hate to say it, terrific for sneaking into your mouth while reading The Elegance of the Hedgehog (by Muriel Barbery) or any other French novel!
(*To toast nuts, place on baking sheet lined with parchment paper and cook in a 375 F oven for about 10 minutes, checking often to make sure they don’t overcook or burn.)
To be continued …
© 2010 C. Bertelsen
Be sure to read other posts on Provence’s Thirteen Desserts:
No Partridges, Just Thirteen Desserts HERE
Lillet by Another Means: Vin d’Orange, or, French Christmas Spirit HERE
Citron* (Cédrat), Jewel-Like Morsel of Provence’s Thirteen Christmas Desserts HERE
One of the Thirteen, the Tangerine HERE
Panis focacius, la Gibacié, and la Pompe à l’huîle, Kin Under the Crust, One of the Thirteen HERE
Begging the Question: Les Quatre Mendiants and Provence’s Thirteen Christmas Desserts HERE