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French chocolate mendiants are simply chocolate disks topped with nuts and dried fruits. An easy and delicious decoration for chocolate cakes, Easter or Christmas holiday bakes and perfect for making macaron hats. Read on why they are called mendiants, how to pronounce them plus discover the recipe is so easy to make at home.

french chocolate mendiants easter

This recipe was originally published on 6 April 2012 but the text and photos have been updated with a new printable recipe card.

Expensive Price in Paris Boutiques

If any of you have walked around the inviting chocolate shops and patisseries around Paris, you may have spotted these. French Chocolate Mendiants are delicious disks of chocolate covered in colourful dried fruits and nuts. In many high-end chocolate shops, alas, they come at an expensive price.  This is why we love to make them at home – what’s more, they are so much fun to make with kids.

Read on for the story behind them but in the meantime, I think they make perfect hats to top macarons, cupcakes, cookies – or any of your favourite sweet treats for some fun. In this case, add a few mini Easter eggs and you have the perfect Easter Bonnet!

What are Mendiants in English?

Mendiant literally means ‘beggar’ in French. More popular today, Mendiants is the name given to popular chocolate confectionary (confiserie) in France. They’re simple disks of chocolate (dark, milk or white) with at least four kinds of dried fruit and nuts.

Why Beggar? Because each chocolate disk, or mendiant (pronounced mon-dee-ong), represents the robe colours of four mendicant monastic orders from the Middle Ages.

Mendiants are great for serving as mini bites or mignardises with coffee after dinner but are normally seen for special occasions such as Christmas. But since we’re talking chocolate – let’s make them for Easter… or for any time of year!


round chocolate disks topped with fruit and nuts on a baking mat

What’s a Traditional Mendiant Recipe?

According to French tradition, the traditional recipe for mendiants usually include:

However, over time things have become totally out of hand. Confectioners are adding orange peel, pistachio nuts, candied ginger and now I’ve added goji berries soaked in Kirsch (only because I forgot to buy some cranberries) and mini chocolate praline Easter eggs or even French chocolate fish!

Use also as decoration for this gluten free Lemon Easter Cake.

french chocolate disks mendiants

Ideas for Toppings

Here I used dark chocolate and coarse praline chocolate, but mendiants can be made with plain, milk or white chocolate.

Use different nuts (I personally like to toast mine as it adds more depth of flavour) and dried fruits to add a contrast in textures and flavours.

I also added broken Mikado sticks (do you have these in America?) and homemade zig-zag sticks (just by melting chocolate and zig-zagging it on baking paper, then peeling off when set) for a nest and mini Easter eggs.

french chocolate mendiants disks easter

How to Peel Off Chocolate Disks

As you can see, I’ve just used baking parchment to spoon the melted chocolate and – using the back of a spoon – form circles directly onto the sheet without any guide.  There’s no need!  They don’t need to be absolutely perfect: the spoon actually does make them into circles themselves.

Over time, however, I did eventually find a use for my silicone macaron mat (my non-sponsored review), as I don’t need fancy gadgets to make homemade macarons (tips are all in my books). Using the macaron mat with it’s groovy circles, by spooning the chocolate into them, when I peel them off once set the chocolate is absolutely perfect.

melted chocolate disks on a mat

Do I need to Temper Chocolate for Mendiants?

Normally, professional chocolatiers temper their chocolate to sell Mendiants.  The reason being, they last so much longer and are prettier.

As I’m just making them at home with the idea of eating them quickly over the next few days, I honestly haven’t needed to.  Melt the chocolate in a Bain-Marie (in a glass bowl over simmering water) and spoon out on to a baking sheet.  As the chocolate takes a good 30 minutes to set, you have enough time to enjoy topping them.

As you can see, it’s not even a recipe: just melt good quality chocolate and plonk on the dried fruits and (toasted) nuts of your choice!

Join me on Instagram for a Daily Dose of French Life

I have just posted my first Reel.  Jings – that wasn’t as easy as I thought. It’s amazing how much time all these things take and I’m not even sure you’re seeing them!  So, if you’d like to follow me for a dose of daily French life, please do join me on Instagram.

It’s where I post shots from in and around Paris (at the moment it’s more outside Paris due to lockdown, as I live next to Saint Germain-en-Laye between Paris and Versailles), food snippets of recipes or the market – or just some fun stuff!

See my Instagram Reel Video on how to make them HERE.

How to Store Mendiants

Store mendiants in an airtight container in a cool, dry place for up to 3 days.  However, if you have tempered the chocolate, they can last for longer.  As our family usually eats them far too quickly, this has never been a problem to store them for long!

french chocolate mendiants hats

Here I topped chocolate macarons with French chocolate mendiants for an Easter bonnet look.

You could do the same by decorating cupcakes, brownies, banana muffins, chocolate mousse, etc. with your own personal French chocolate mendiant touch. Even easier, just devour them on their own.

chocolate disks topped with dried fruits and nuts
5 from 2 votes

French Chocolate Mendiants (disks with fruit and nuts)

Author: Jill Colonna
Prep Time30 mins
Setting Time30 mins
Total Time1 hr
Course : Snack, confiserie
Cuisine : French
Servings : 6 people

Description

French mendiants, chocolate disks traditionally topped with dried fruits and nuts, resembling the 4 monastic robes from the Middle Ages, seen in chocolate shops around France

Ingredients

  • 200 g (7oz) bittersweet chocolate (at least 64% cacao)
  • handful each golden sultanas &/or raisins
  • dried cranberries or goji berries
  • toasted flaked almonds, almonds or pine nuts
  • pistachio nuts
  • candied orange peel (optional)

Instructions

  • Line a perfectly flat baking sheet with baking paper (or silicone mat - even better, a macaron mat will set them perfectly into round shapes).
  • Break up the chocolate in a glass bowl and place over a pan of simmering water over a gentle heat (bain-marie) until the chocolate has melted.
  • Using a spoon, pour the melted chocolate onto the baking paper, pressing each one down with the back of the spoon to make a circle (don't worry if they are a bit messy - it will set well later!)
  • Gradually decorate with the fruit and nuts using different colours and textures for toppings. Don’t worry about the chocolate hardening; you will have enough time to enjoy dressing each disk before it hardens.
  • Leave to cool for about 30 minutes. When set, remove each mendiant carefully from the sheet with your fingers or a palette knife.

Notes

* To knock them into Adult mode for that extra je ne sais quoi, soak them in Kirsch, Chambord, Armagnac, Frangelico or any of your favourite liqueurs.
Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days (if you can wait that long!)

From the market

From the kitchen

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Comments (69)

Love the Easter bonnets you’ve put on these macs, Jill. Soooo pretty. They can parade right to my mouth. Happy Easter!

Hehe. Love it, Hester. Happy Easter to you too, my friend.

These are beautiful. Sometimes all you really want is just plain old chocolate. I love the toppings though and I didn’t know the story behind the Mendiants.

Well there you go. Nothing like a wee story – I kept it short, though 😉 Didn’t want to eat into precious chocolate time! Have a wonderful Easter, Emily.

What a lovely story for the start of my Easter Holidays – great to be away from teaching for 2 weeks. Mendiants are new to my vocab. Interesting about the origin too. I want some NOW and it’s only breakfast time.

Glad you’re winding down for Easter and enjoying the break, Thomasina! Never thought of Mendiants for breakfast but why on earth not? It is Easter weekend 😉 Enjoy!