Today I wanted to share with you these elegant treats: Chocolate Mendiants! There is nothing incredibly difficult in making a mendiant on “surface structure” (my linguistics teacher would have said), but in “deep structure” yes….because in order to make a mendiant worthy of my readers, chocolate has to be tempered !!! Most recipes you will find in the web for mendiants tell you to melt chocolate and go ahead…! You can do that, of course, but that is not serious work in pastry. Tempered chocolate is shiny and glossy, it “cracks” when you bite it, it does not melt instantly in your hands..We don’t have the time? Ok, let’s say it! we don’t know how to temper chocolate? Ok, let’s admit it!! But for respect for our readers, please, let’s not call that a mendiant!!!!
Now some people will say: “I have a very small kitchen…I don’t have a marble top….I can’t temper chocolate traditional way…Well, I live in a Hausmannian apartment in Paris, and that means that while I have a huge “salon” to entertain , my kitchen is smaller than a Parisian elevator, which by nature is VERY small…(those who have visited Paris know what I mean) Plus, my kitchen is old, and dark…I can barely move there…yet, I can temper chocolate! Where? In my dining-room! I will template chocolate and take the photos for a step by step tutorial from my dining-room table, far from the kitchen…..Warning! The tutorial is long….and I’m sorry, but tempering chocolate is a delicate and precise process that requires a lot of detail…I observed that there are few step-by-step tutorials about this topic, so I think it will help many people…! (I hope)
To make these White Chocolate Mendiants, you will need:
(you get aprox 20, depending on size)
* white chocolate (good quality please!), 400 gr * assorted nuts (hazelnuts, walnuts, pecans, pistachios), dried dried fruits: raisins, pears, prunes, apricots…
These utensils: a thermometer, an off-set spatula, a chocolate scraper, a very thin tip for your pastry bag!
Here the assorted dried fruits…!
And the assorted nuts!
How to temper black chocolate (traditional method)
Why do I insist saying that this is the traditional method? Because nowadays people use other techniques, like melting a quantity of chocolate, and then adding non-melted chocolate to it…others use the microwave (in my opinion, danger!!!! the moment of exceed the right temperature, chocolate will be definitely ruined) but in good pâtisseries, hotels, etc, professionals will use the method I will show you here! Plus, this method allows you to play with chocolate…you can’t deprive yourself of that joy!!
Let’s slice the fruits for our mendiants!
and now the nuts!
Now that that is ready, we plunge into chocolate tempering!! The minimum quantity to temper is 400gr…Less than that, it becomes tricky…We chop our chocolate well, and pour it into a dry stainless steel bowl (one drop of water, and our chocolate is ruined, remember!
We put some water into a saucepan, to make a “bain marie”. When the water is simmering, we put our bowl on top.. Careful!!! the water must not touch the bowl, otherwise the temperature of chocolate might rise sharply.
And now the question of temperatures for tempering:
Bittersweet chocolate: It should melt at 45°/50°C; descend to 27°C; rise to 31°/32°C
Milk/White Chocolate: It should melt at 40°/45°C; descend to 25/26°C; rise to 29/30°C
Here, I’m checking the right temperature…..and rushed to the dining-room!
Since, obviously I don’t have a marble top, I used this metal baking tray…I poured 3/4 of my chocolate there…The idea is that we will make descend the temperature of the chocolate on the tray, while the chocolate in the bowl stays approximately at the same temperature (or will lower very little) Careful!!! one drop of water of the bowl on the chocolate and “Kaput”!!! (notice the towel !)
And the beautiful part begins here !!! With the spatula, spread your chocolate evenly…..
Clean your spatula !!! we have to be very careful and neat, because working with melted chocolate can be a mess !!!! Soon, with the scraper, start moving the chocolate towards the center…Why soon? Because if you wait too long, the chocolate on the outer edge will cool down faster, and it will begin to crystalise…so, don’t waste time!! If Jude Law calls you, you tell him you are busy tempering chocolate !!!???!
Just play here, and enjoy it!!
Clean your spatula…clean your scraper!!
Start the process again!
See how smooth and shiny!
What you see like little balls, in fact, it is air!!
Yes!! It’s ready !!
Now the difficult part…We must put everything back in the bowl!! Oops!
Now our chocolate at 25°C meets the warmer chocolate in the bowl…
Stir fast, the overall temperature will rise..It’s like magic! You will see the 29° / 30°C
Prepare your pastry bag: twist the “neck”. Otherwise, when you incorporate the chocolate, it will run out of it!
When you are done, set the bag pointing upwards.. Adjust pressure..We don’t want air bubbles in it! Ready??? Hold your breath!! There we go!
Just like with macarons…
When you are done, tap your baking tray! Imperfections will disappear…
Now, one piece of hazelnut everywhere….then pistachios…and so on!
And it’s done!! Aren’t they lovely?
Keep the mendiants at room temperature (unless it’s too hot) till they harden….Don’t eat too many at a time !!!
I would like to thank all the people that voted for me in the previous challenge, and the judges of course! If you believe that this tutorial has taught you something…I would appreciate your vote starting October 11th, 6am Pacific Time to October 14th, 6pm Pacific Time!
I would also like to thank my 15 year-old daughter C. that took all the pictures while I was tempering chocolate!