It’s that time of year again… hearts seem to be popping up all around town, mingling strangely with the last remaining Christmas decorations and sometimes (like this year) accompanied by snow. For my Valentine’s Day post last year, I waxed philosophical about the meaning of the holiday and presented you with a recipe for sugar cookies with rosewater-raspberry icing. This year, perhaps inspired by all the discarded Christmas trees I’ve been walking past on the sidewalks over the past few weeks, I decided to revisit a traditional French yuletide confection in a white, pink and red version.
As with the original dark chocolate version, this is a very easy and versatile recipe. You need only melt a bar of chocolate or two and then add whatever fruit and nut toppings you like. At the end, you have a very cute little DIY treat to give to your loved ones.
White chocolate mendiants
Makes around 12 mendiants
- about 5.6 oz. (160 g) vegan white chocolate
- a few teaspoons of coconut oil, if needed to thin the chocolate (do not use any other type of oil)
- freeze-dried strawberry slices
- dried cranberries or other dried red berries of your choice
- optional: toasted almond slivers, toasted pine nuts, candied ginger
Equipment needed: double-boiler or metal mixing bowl plus saucepan, parchment or waxed paper. A tray that can fit inside your refrigerator and a heat-safe silicone spatula will be handy too.
Gather the white chocolate plus all the berries and any other toppings you want to use. I used these 80-gram bars of vanilla-infused white chocolate from iChoc that I found at Un Monde Vegan in Paris, but if you live somewhere else you can look for white chocolate at an organic shop or online.
Set up a double-boiler or, as I have done here, boil some water in a saucepan with a metal bowl on top. Make sure that the bottom of the bowl doesn’t touch the water.
Break the chocolate into squares/chunks and put them in the bowl. You’ll be keeping the heat on so that the water continues to boil throughout the entire process.
Using a heat-safe silicone spatula, stir the chocolate as it melts. While waiting for it to be ready, grab a tray that’s the right size to fit inside your refrigerator and prepare it with a sheet of parchment or waxed paper.
If your chocolate seems too thick or dry, you can add a small amount of coconut oil to thin it. Add the oil sparingly, incorporating each amount to see the result before adding more.
When the chocolate has fully melted and become smooth, place a teaspoonful or so onto a sheet of parchment paper and shape into a circle of even thickness. Make only around six rounds at once so you have time to garnish them with the fruit and other toppings before the surface of the chocolate cools. Once you’ve filled an entire tray, place it in the refrigerator to cool and set (this takes about an hour).
Continue the process with the remaining melted chocolate. I melted three bars, which made about six mendiants per bar, and opted to do a different type of topping with each set of six. For the ones above, I used strawberries, cranberries and some almonds. I added a few pine nuts here and there after taking this photo.
A strawberry-only version. Which of these three topping versions do you like best?
After about an hour, the mendiants should be fully cooled and set. You can take them out of the fridge and put them on a plate!
I plated mine for this post on this great contrasting blue/green plate that I nabbed in the sales at Habitat the other day… but if you’re making these to give to friends as gifts, you can wrap them up in a bit of waxed or parchment paper tied with some fancy string.
They look kind of nice on a smaller rectangular plate, too.
Two paws up from Sésame, who wishes you a very happy Valentine’s Day, by the way. 🙂
Variations: experiment with other combinations of fruit and nuts. Make some dark chocolate mendiants to create an assorted set.