From the Kitchen of Clotilde Dusoulier (of the fabulous blog: Chocolate & Zucchini)
Makes about 80 pieces
- 250 g high-quality chocolate (I used Valrhona dark chocolate for the first batch, and Nestlé whole milk chocolate for the second. White chocolate would work too.)
- an assortment of dried fruits, nuts (toasted or not), and any other small topping you have on hand. I used : nuts : pistachios, almonds, hazelnuts, pecans, walnuts, pralines fruits : dark and blond raisins, dried blueberries, dried cranberries, prunes, crystallized ginger, crystallized orange rind other : big grains of chouquette sugar, small chunks of Petit Beurre (crispy butter cookies by LU), fleur de sel
- A feuille guitare, which is a sheet of smooth and thick plastic that makes it easy to work with melted chocolate. Parchment paper can also be used, although it won’t be as convenient.
- Melt the chocolate “au bain-marie” : put a small saucepan of hot water over low heat, set a bowl over it with the chocolate cut in pieces, and wait until it melts, stirring with a spoon. This melting method is kinder to the chocolate than the microwave, and you want to be kind to your chocolate, right?
- Lay your feuille guitare over a flat and cold surface and take the bowl of chocolate off the heat.
- Drop small spoonfuls of chocolate on the sheet, using the back of the spoon to make little circles.
- Set two to three topping elements on the circle. (Work a few mendiants at a time, depositing six circles of chocolate, then decorating them, before making three new circles.)
- Try to create nice contrasting effects with the color and texture and taste of the toppings. No need to hurry, the chocolate should stay melted enough for you to work calmly. But if it gets too hard to work with, put it back over low heat to melt again.
- When a batch is complete, put the sheet in a cool place for the chocolate to harden. Wait until the chocolate is completely set before lifting the mendiants cautiously from the sheet.