The winds have changed direction this week with storm Angus hitting our shores and with them, a change of seasonal heart - I am feeling the onset of festive tidings. Over the next few weeks I am planning on making edible gifts to give to my wonderful friends and family and I hope you can join in.
I have always been a big fan of making gifts for Christmas, usually edible! I smile when I think back to the year that I made fresh pasta, hanging it up to dry all around the kitchen and making different sauces to give along with it. I can also recollect whipping up jars of chilli jam and mustards and making the house smell of pickling and vinegar!
I think it is lovely to give something that you have lovingly made and wrapped up to your special ones, especially and essentially when you enjoyed making it too.
So to kickstart this new found festive spirit, I made Mendiants - chocolate puddles adorned with all manner of fruits and nuts.
Mendiants are a traditional French morsel, that are popular at this time of year. The fruits and nuts are to represent the four monastic orders, the Carmelites (almonds), the Franciscans (figs), the Augustinians (hazelnuts) and the Dominicans (raisins). You can keep with tradition and use these ingredients on yours, or you can try various different flavour medleys.
I used dark chocolate, milk chocolate and white chocolate and then chose my toppings based on what I felt would compliment the flavour. Here are the combinations I selected…
Milk chocolate: roasted whole hazelnuts, raisin, coconut flake and flaked sea salt.
Dark chocolate: crystallised ginger, toasted flaked almonds and orange zest.
White chocolate: macadamia nut, dried cranberry and some bronze sprinkles and then for another combination I selected rose petals, crushed pistachio nuts and a coconut flake.
All you need to do is melt your chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a pan of boiling water, making sure the base of the bowl doesn't come in contact with the water.
Melt the chocolate until is smooth and shiny and then dollop a spoonful onto a lined baking sheet and then sprinkle over your choice of ingredients before the chocolate sets.
Leave until completely set, you can speed this up by placing them in the fridge. Et Voila!
They look super bundled up in pretty boxes to give as gifts
I hope you can join me and join in with the next few weeks of merry edible makes. Let me know any good flavour combinations you come up with for your mendiants in the comments below!