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Chocolate Extravaganza: Mendiants and Chocolate Tempering

What is a mendiant you ask? At the Gygi Chocolate Extravaganza you will learn all about mendiants and chocolate tempering.

A mendiant is a traditional French confection composed of a chocolate disk studded with nuts and dried fruits representing the four mendicant or monastic orders of the Domincans, Augustinians, Fransciscans, and Carmelites. Each of the nuts and dried fruits used refer to the color of monastic robes with tradition dictating raisins for the Dominicans, hazelnut for the Augustins, dried fig for Franciscans, and almond for Carmelite. Usually found during Christmas, recipes for this confection have veered away from the traditional combination of nuts and fruits to other combinations incorporating seeds, fruit peels and other items.”

Here’s the recipe we made at this years Chocolate Extravaganza:

Ingredients:

  • 17 oz. Dark chocolate, milk chocolate or white
  • 40 pieces dried fig, dried raisins, almond, and hazelnuts

Instructions:

1. Chop the Chocolate: It is best to use at least 1 lb. of chocolate, as it is easier to temper, and retain the temper, of larger amounts of chocolate. If this is more than you need, you can always save the extra for later use. Be sure that your chocolate is in block or bar form, not chips or wafers. The chips have additives that allow them to retain their shape at higher temperatures, and so they will not temper properly.
2. Melt 2/3 of your chocolate: Place it in the top of a double boiler, set over simmering water. Securely clip a chocolate instant-read thermometer to the side of the boiler to monitor the chocolate’s temperature.
3. Stir gently, but steadily, as the chocolate melts and heats up. Use a rubber spatula, not a wooden or metal spoon.
4. Bring the chocolate to 115 degrees F for dark chocolate or 110 degrees F for milk or white. Do not allow the chocolate to exceed its recommended temperature. When it is at the right temperature, remove it from the heat, whip the bottom of the bowl, and set it on a heat-proof surface.
5. Add the remaining chunks of chocolate and stir gently to incorporate. The warm chocolate will melt the chopped chocolate, and the newly added chocolate will bring down the temperature of the warm chocolate.
6. Cool the chocolate. Once the chocolate gets below 84 degrees F, remove the remaining chunks of chocolate. They can be cooled, wrapped in plastic wrap, and saved for another use.
7. Reheat the chocolate briefly. Place the chocolate bowl over the warm water in the double boiler for 5-10 seconds, remove it, stir, and repeat, until the temperature reaches 88-89 degrees F, or 87 degrees F for milk and white chocolate. Do not leave the chocolate over the hot water, or allow it to exceed 91 degrees.
8. Your chocolate should now be tempered! To make sure it has been done properly, do a spot test: spread a spoonful thinly over an area of parchment paper and allow it to cool. if the chocolate is shiny and smooth, it is properly tempered. If it is dull or streaky, it has not been tempered correctly.
9. Once your chocolate is properly tempered, you can now pipe the chocolate onto a parchment lined sheet tray. Pipe about a quarter inch size.
10. Next, you can now add your dried fruits and nuts, one of each per mendiant. Be sure to have fun and remember, this is supposed to be a bit messy, but it’s always delicious!

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