This classic French bark was originally named because the dried fruit and nuts were said to resemble the various colors of the mendicant orders. Today, mendiant is made with a variety of dried fruit and nuts, all chosen to set off the rich chocolate.
The bark can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.
Servings: 2 pounds
- 1 1/4 pounds dark chocolate, preferably 70 or 72 percent, finely chopped
- 1 cup shelled, salted, roasted pistachios
- 1/2 cup coarsely chopped dried unsulphured unsweetened apricots
- 1/2 cup coarsely chopped dried cherries
Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat.
Heat about 1 inch of water in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Place a medium stainless-steel mixing bowl on top, so that it fits snugly over the opening of the saucepan. Place two-thirds of the chopped chocolate in the bowl and reduce the heat to medium-low. Stir the chocolate with a heat-safe spatula until it is within a few seconds of being all melted and smooth.
Remove the bowl from the saucepan. Add the remaining chopped chocolate, stirring until it is melted and smooth. If the additional chocolate does not melt fully, return the bowl to the saucepan for about 10 seconds, then remove from the heat. Repeat the step in 10-second increments as needed until all the chocolate is melted. Stir (off the heat) until it is shiny and a little bit drizzled off the spatula and onto the melted mass will momentarily hold its shape.
Add half of the pistachios, apricots and cherries. Spread the mixture onto the prepared baking sheet, making an irregular rectangle about 13 by 10 inches.
Sprinkle the remaining nuts and dried fruit over the chocolate, pressing them down just slightly so they stick in the chocolate without being completely covered. Let stand at room temperature for 2 to 3 hours until firm, then break into chunks of bark.
From Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarbrough.
Tested by Sally Squires.
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