Mendiants are traditional French sweets, little chocolate discs studded with nuts, candied flowers and/or dried fruits. Originally they represented the four monastic orders and the colours of the toppings referenced the colours of the monks’ robes: raisins for the Augustinians, hazelnuts for the Carmelites, dried fig for the Franciscans and almonds for the Dominicans.
These days they can be topped with anything from flowers to candied citrus peel. We’ve used candied rose petals, pistachios, and freeze-dried raspberry. You’ll only need a tablespoon or so of each.
100g 70% dark chocolate
100g white chocolate, preferably one with a high cacao content (look for 35%)
Candied rose petals
Take two sheets of baking paper and mark 20 small circles on each, using an egg cup as a guide. Turn them over and place them on baking sheets. Stick them down at the corners with a dab of butter if they try to curl up.
If the chocolate isn’t already in pastille form, break it into small pieces. Put the two sorts of chocolate in two different bowls and set each over a pan of simmering water, making sure the bottoms of the basins don’t touch the water. Melt the chocolate, stirring occasionally.
Using two teaspoons, spoon the chocolate onto the circles on the baking paper, working in batches of six. Carefully arrange your chosen toppings on each one, and continue until you’ve used up all the chocolate.
If the chocolate starts to solidify, pop the basin back on the pan of water until it’s just melted again.
Leave the mendiants to cool and set, but don’t put them in the fridge, otherwise they’ll lose their glossiness.
Once they’re set, peel them off the paper. Box them or put them into ribbon-tied cellophane bags, but handle them carefully so you don’t leave fingerprints.