French Chocolate Mendiants – Perfect Easter Hats!

If any of you have walked around the inviting chocolate shops and patisseries around Paris, you may have spotted some French Chocolate Mendiants.  They’re delicious disks of chocolate covered in colourful dried fruits and nuts.

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!

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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.

What are French Mendiants?

Mendiant means ‘beggar’ in French. Mendiants are popular confiserie in France: simple disks of chocolate (dark, milk or white) with at least four kinds of dried fruit and nuts.

Each represents the robe colours of four mendicant monastic orders from the Middle Ages.

Fascinating, n’est-ce pas?

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!

how to make french chocolate mendiants

Dried Fruits and Nuts the Colour of Mendiant Monks’ Robes

According to French tradition, raisins stand for the Augustinians, hazelnuts for the Carmelites, dried figs for the Franciscans, and almonds are for the Dominicans.

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!

almond lemon easter cake

This was used as decoration for this gluten free Lemon Easter Cake.

french chocolate disks mendiants

French Chocolate 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

Easy to Peel Chocolate Off

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 (this links to 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.

how to make french chocolate mendiant disks

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!  Et voilà !

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.

french chocolate mendiants easy recipe

French Chocolate Mendiants

PRINTABLE RECIPE BELOW

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!)

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, muffins, chocolate mousse, etc. with your own personal French chocolate mendiant touch, or just devour them on their own.

5 from 1 vote
French Chocolate Mendiants (disks with fruit and nuts)
Prep Time
30 mins
Setting Time
30 mins
Total Time
1 hr
 

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

Course: confiserie, Snack
Cuisine: French
Servings: 6 people
Author: Jill Colonna
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
  1. Line a perfectly flat baking sheet with baking paper (or silicone mat - even better, a macaron mat will set them perfectly into round shapes).

  2. 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.

  3. 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!)

  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.

Recipe 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!)

Jill Colonna

MadAboutMacarons.com

 

68 replies
  1. Christina Conte
    Christina Conte says:

    5 stars
    These are almost too pretty to eat, Jill! Just as good as the ones I’ve seen in many European chocolate shops! We have a similar product (Pokky) to your Mikado sticks, here in the US. These would be a lovely gift any time of year!

    Reply
    • Jill Colonna
      Jill Colonna says:

      Thanks Christina – I forgot to mention that I used 72% Tanzanian chocolate for these – so that in itself makes them intense. Good to know that you have these sticks too – Pokky sounds fun!

      Reply
  2. 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!
    Thanks!

    Reply
  3. 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! =]

    Reply
  4. 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!

    Reply
    • 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!

      Reply
  5. 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!

    Reply
  6. 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!!

    Reply
  7. 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! =)

    Reply
  8. 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.

    Reply
  9. 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

    Reply
  10. Tina@flourtrader
    [email protected] 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!

    Reply
  11. 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! 🙂

    Reply
    • 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!

      Reply
  12. 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!!!

    Reply
  13. 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.

    Reply
  14. 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!

    Reply
    • 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.

      Reply
  15. 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.

    Reply
  16. Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite
    [email protected] 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!

    Reply
    • 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.

      Reply
    • 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.

      Reply
  17. 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.

    Reply
    • 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!

      Reply

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] Ginger Passion Cake simply: what about some edible flowers, a macaron or two, or what about some chocolate mendiants (chocolate coins covered in dried fruits and nuts)? These are popular in many chocolate shops in […]

  2. […] first I thought these round nutty chocolate disks were mendiants. They are instead given the tongue-in-cheek name, Croqs’Télé, as they’re perfect for […]

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