I have the good fortune this week to be a guest chocolatier at a fabulous chocolate shop here in Manhattan, Tache Chocolate. Owned by Aditi Malhotra, Tache Chocolate offers online orders of their fabulous creations as well as chocolate making classes. In my classes this week, students made mendiants, a traditional chocolate disk with different toppings. Simple and delicious, they are a great introduction to working with tempered chocolate.
Be sure you have all of the toppings you wish to use on your chocolates organized and ready to go. Tempered chocolate sets up rather quickly so you want to be prepared. (Read about tempering chocolate here.)
Set up a work station so that your chocolate making will go smoothly. Have sheet pans with parchment or waxed paper in front of you and all of your toppings lined up.
Have your piping bag on the side of your dominant hand. Paper towels nearby and a damp cloth to wipe your hands can also be helpful!
Fill the piping bag with tempered chocolate and be sure to leave enough room to close the top of the bag.
If you don’t, you will quickly be covered in chocolate! Twist the top of the bag closed and then snip off a small, angled tip with sharp scissors.
Now you are ready to pipe your mendiants!
With the angled edge of the bag facing the sheet pan, pipe out a small circle of chocolate.
You do not need to move your hand at all – just squeeze the bag and the chocolate will flow into an even disk.
Pipe a row of disks and then rap the sheet pan firmly on the table. This will flatten the disk out slightly and also smooth the top of the chocolates.
Add your toppings and then continue piping and decorating until you have used the chocolate in the bag or piped the number of chocolates you need. The chocolate will set up in about 5 minutes.
Mendiants can be made from dark, milk, or white chocolate. Dark chocolate is by far the easiest to temper and work with and should also be what you practice with until you are very comfortable with the entire process.
You can use any variety of toppings you like. Just a few suggestions are: toasted nuts (peanuts, almonds, hazelnuts, macadamias, pecans), dried fruits (raisins, currants, cranberries, apricots, cherries), granola, graham cracker crumbs, puffed rice, sea salt, or spices (cinnamon, chili powder, nutmeg, ginger, allspice).
Practice makes perfect so give them a try and be sure to check out Tache Chocolate!