Begging for Chocolate Macarons and Mendiants for Easter

How could I let this week fly past without mentioning chocolate for Easter? Or mentioning our flaring allergies with all this beautiful, budding but nose-blowing Parisian Spring blossoms? Or discovering seven (you heard me) paper fishes with cute French messages for poisson d’avril cellotaped to my back on April Fools’ Day?

chocolate easter mendiants

It’s funny. After all the macaron-athons, I took a break from them for a couple of weeks. Then last weekend, Antoine asked for a macaron or two at 4 o’clock goûter. What? Quoi? You mean, you don’t even have any left in your freezer bank?  What’s going on?

With macaron twinges from all of us, it was time to make a batch. The family begged for chocolate; good ol’ plain chocolate macarons – even if it was tempting to add fancy salt, spices, caramel, herbs or fruit and the likes (if you’re a regular you may remember last year I made chocolate bacon macarons for April Fools’ Day.) I did it, though; I kept them plain – but thought about doing something a bit different to decorate them: I added mendiants.

What are Mendiants?

Mendiant means ‘beggar’ in French. As the family were begging for more chocolate macarons, this was fitting inspiration indeed – as well as the high prices in the chocolateries for these little chocolate fruit and nut bites.

Mendiants are simply disks of chocolate with at least four kinds of dried fruit and nuts, representing the robe colours of four mendicant monastic orders from the Middle Ages. Fascinating, n’est-ce pas?

Here I used dark chocolate and beautifully bumpy praline chocolate, but mendiants can be made with plain, milk or white chocolate. Use different nuts (plain or toasted) 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.
Let your imagination leave your Easter Bunnies begging for more!

French mendiants or chocolate disks covered in fruits and nuts

French chocolate Mendiants: you’ll be “begging” for more…

French Chocolate Mendiants

Preparation Time: 30 minutes
Setting Time: 30 minutes

200g dark chocolate (64% cocoa solids, minimum)
Candied orange peel, cut into cubes
Raisins or dried cranberries*
Hazelnuts, walnuts, pistachios, almonds or pine nuts (plain or toasted)

  1. Line a perfectly flat baking sheet with baking paper (or silicone mat).
  2. Break up the chocolate in a bowl and place over a pan of simmering water over a gentle heat (bain-marie) until the chocolate has melted.
  3. Using a dessertspoon, spoon the melted chocolate onto the baking paper, pressing each one down with the back of the spoon to make a circle.
  4. 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.
  5. Leave to cool for about 30 minutes. When set, remove each mendiant carefully from the sheet with your fingers or a palette knife.

* 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!)

chocolate mendiants

Here I topped chocolate macarons with French mendiants for an Easter bonnet look.  You could do the same by decorating cupcakes, brownies, muffins, chocolate mousse, etc. with your own personal mendiant touch, or just devour them on their own. Mendiants are great for serving as mini bites or mignardises with coffee after dinner.

Happy Easter! Joyeuses Pâques !


French Chocolate vs British Chocolate: Becoming a Chocolate Snob at Easter Time…

66 replies
  1. Tokigajag
    Tokigajag says:

    I just stumbled on this blog this morning…The Mendiants look so fantastic! As a newbie in baking macarons, (but not eating!), I have this dumb little question: how does the mendiant stick to the top of macaron? I would love to try this!

  2. FreeSpiritEater
    FreeSpiritEater says:

    Wow I learned something new today! How interesting and how beautifully decorated these macarons are. Simply gorgeous as always Jill. I would probably beg you for chocolate macarons too! =]

  3. Tobias @ T and Tea Cake
    Tobias @ T and Tea Cake says:

    Wow do I read 3 euros for one single mendiant? C’est absolu outrageux!
    How fun that you added some mikado sticks, hehe. Don’t know whether Americans know about them but Germans sure do. 😉

    I’m completely new to your blog and am glad to have found you through your nice comment you left on Nami’s blog!

    • Jill
      Jill says:

      Outrageous indeed, Tobias. But that’s what’s so motivating to DIY. I wouldn’t normally do the Mikado sticks but it was an easy ‘nest’ option for the kids!

  4. Vicki Bensinger
    Vicki Bensinger says:

    I found myself smiling as I read this post. How fun and creative these little macarons are! I bet you have every neighbor in town knocking at your door for some of your luscious creations. How nice to have The Art of Macarons down perfect where you can experiment with any flavor or do dad you feel like adding to them. I love it!

  5. Jamie
    Jamie says:

    Wow wow wow your mendiants are stunning! They have been on my must-make list for about a month and yours are so inspiring me to shake it up! Gorgeous! And yeah, you know, sometimes a perfect chocolate on chocolate mac is really the best. Beautiful for Easter!!

  6. Nami | Just One Cookbook
    Nami | Just One Cookbook says:

    Hope you had a wonderful Easter Jill! These macarons with mediants (new vocab for me!) look so fancy! Mikado looks like Japanese Pocky… we have those (imported from Japan) in the US too, but mainly in Asian store. I love these special macarons! =)

  7. parisbreakfast
    parisbreakfast says:

    Oh my…
    You top yourself everytime Jill.
    One is truly baffled by yr creativity.
    Should you open a patisserie and give the Parisians the come-upence they deserve?
    Do I spy a J-P Hevin turtle sitting atop a mendient or is this a mold you own..

    You never cease to amaze with your gifts.

  8. Liz
    Liz says:

    OK, now these are the macs that my family will fight over!!! Beautifully done…and I love your embellishments, too. A very, very happy Easter to you and your family, Jill!!! xoxo

  9. Tina@flourtrader
    Tina@flourtrader says:

    These look amazing! I like how you added the toppings to amp up the flavor a little. While plain chocolate is good, it is the extra something that makes them more unique.
    I have never had or seen these before, but obviously I have been missing out. Delicious post!

  10. Marsha @ The Harried Cook
    Marsha @ The Harried Cook says:

    No macarons in Jill’s freezer?! I never knew that was possible! Whenever I think of you, I imagine you are sipping on tea (with your pinky finger sticking out, nibbling away delicately at a pale pink macaron (rose & orange blossom – the best combination that I have never tasted!), with your husband and children sitting around the table doing the same thing (except Antoine’s finger isn’t pointing out – thank goodness!)…

    These Mendiants are new to me, but I can imagine why they would be popular… my husband would totally love these! 🙂 You are an artist, my friend! They are just gorgeous – every single one of them! 🙂

    I’ve never heard of paper fish for April Fool’s but it sounds cute! 🙂 Beautiful post, Jill! 🙂

    • Jill
      Jill says:

      Marsha? I am baffled. Gosh, does it really come across like that? Good. Keep on thinking that way. I’ll try and keep up with your wishes, as it does sound wonderful.
      Enjoy your Easter and all the best to your family, my friend!

  11. Jill~a SaucyCook
    Jill~a SaucyCook says:

    You are a temptress: an incredibly talented artist, but a temptress none-the-less. I don’t want my husband to stumble across this amazing blog and discover that he married the wrong Jill….ha!!!

  12. Cucina49
    Cucina49 says:

    I am not familiar with mendiants, but those store window photos make me long for France! I can just picture one of those with hazelnuts–delicious.

  13. thoma
    thoma says:

    Gosh, such beauties…believe me, if I hadn’t brushed my teeth for the night I WOULD’VE MANAGED TO EAT THOSE!

    And boy, your French gives me a flip-out!

    Happy Easter!

    • Jill
      Jill says:

      Worth it, you’re dazzling me with your smile! 🙂
      Quoi? My French? But on ze blog eet ees non-existant! 😉
      Wishing you a wonderful Easter, Thoma. Enjoy yourself.

  14. Laz
    Laz says:

    Fantastic. Just flat-out gorgeous. You are quite the talent my friend. My wife would step over my croaked corpse to get her hands on these puppies.

    Have a fab Easter.

    Be well.

  15. Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite
    Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite says:

    Mendiants have to rank up there with my favourite chocolates, simple as they are. I think I need to make a batch of these myself soon. Happy Happy Easter to you and the family Jill. May you be blessed with much chocolate!

    • Jill
      Jill says:

      I’ve had to make yet another batch today. OK, I’ll confess – it was mainly the kids the made them. They are so easy but we had a lot of fun with them. A very Happy Easter to you too, Mardi.

    • Jill
      Jill says:

      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.

  16. Thomasina
    Thomasina says:

    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.

    • Jill
      Jill says:

      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!


Trackbacks & Pingbacks

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