Tropical Mendiants

Chef Paola Velez's stunning mendiants are surprisingly easy to make with her simple method for tempering chocolate in the microwave. Piped into rounds, the chocolates are topped with a colorful mix of tropical fruit, toasted nuts, and seeds. Like mini, open-faced chocolate candy bars, the mendiants can be made ahead and served right from the fridge. 

Active Time:
40 mins
Total Time:
40 mins
12 pieces


  • ¼ cup assorted dried fruit, such as pineapple, papaya, mango, apricots, bananas, sour cherries, golden berries, cranberries and/or goji berries

  • ¼ cup unsweetened shredded coconut or coconut chips, toasted

  • ¼ cup assorted nuts and seeds, such as toasted sunflower seeds, pepitas, poppy seeds, almonds, cashews, or shelled peanuts

  • 10 ounces good-quality chocolate feves, discs, or bars, such as dark chocolate, white chocolate, caramelized white chocolate (such as Valrhona Dulcey), or flavored chocolate (such as Valrhona Strawberry Inspiration), chopped


  1. Cut dried fruit into 3/4-inch pieces or thin slices not longer than 1 1/2 inches. Arrange dried fruit, coconut chips, and nuts and seeds in separate bowls; set aside. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside.

    Temper the chocolate

  2. Place 5 ounces of the chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave on high in 30-second intervals, stirring the chocolate with a rubber spatula in between each interval, until the chocolate is about halfway melted, with a pool of melted chocolate in the bowl. Continue stirring with a rubber spatula to allow the residual heat of the chocolate to melt the remaining chocolate bits without any additional microwaving.

  3. Add 2 1/2 ounces of the remaining chocolate to the bowl; stir the mixture until it is melted and evenly blended. Gradually stir in enough of the remaining chocolate to reduce the temperature down to 84°F for dark chocolate (81°F for milk chocolate, 79°F for white chocolate). The recently added chocolate will not completely melt.

  4. Return the bowl to the microwave and microwave on high in 5-second intervals, stirring in between each interval, until the temperature reaches 88-90°F for dark chocolate (86°F for milk chocolate, 79°F to 82°F for white chocolate). To test the temper of your chocolate, dip the tip of a paring knife or mini offset spatula in the chocolate and refrigerate the knife for 2 or 3 minutes. Once the chocolate has set, it should be shiny, pop off the knife, and snap, not bend, when broken.

  5. Set a piping bag inside a tall glass. Fold down the top of the bag several times, then pour some of the tempered chocolate into the piping bag. Unfold the piping bag and twist the bag to gently tighten; use scissors to cut the tip off the bag. Pipe 1-inch rounds of chocolate on the parchment-lined baking sheet; tap pan on the counter to flatten mounds into 1 1/2 to 2-inch rounds.

  6. Sprinkle the just-piped chocolate rounds with dried fruit, coconut chips, nuts, and seeds as desired. Transfer the sheet pan to the refrigerator until set, about 10 minutes. Store mendiants in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks.

    mendicants topped with dried fruit, seeds, and nuts
    Farrah Skeiky
Related Articles