PFB: Challenge # 4: White Chocolate Mendiants, or How to Temper Chocolate (Traditional Method) in an Almost Non-Existent Kitchen

Today I wanted to share with you these elegant treats: Chocolate Mendiants! There is nothing incredibly difficult in making a mendiant on "surface structure" (my linguistics teacher would have said), but in "deep structure" yes....because in order to make a mendiant worthy of my readers, chocolate has to be tempered !!! Most recipes you will find in the web for mendiants tell you to melt chocolate and go ahead...! You can do that, of course, but that is not serious work in pastry.  Tempered chocolate is shiny and glossy, it "cracks" when you bite it, it does not melt instantly in your hands..We don't have the time? Ok, let's say it! we don't know how to temper chocolate? Ok, let's admit it!! But for respect for our readers, please, let's not call that a mendiant!!!!

Now some people will say: "I have a very small kitchen...I don't have a marble top....I can't temper chocolate traditional way...Well, I live in a Hausmannian apartment in Paris, and that means that while I have a huge "salon" to entertain , my kitchen is smaller than a Parisian elevator, which by nature is VERY small...(those who have visited Paris know what I mean) Plus, my kitchen is old, and dark...I can barely move there...yet, I can temper chocolate! Where? In my dining-room! I will template chocolate and take the photos for a step by step tutorial from my dining-room table, far from the kitchen.....
Warning! The tutorial is long....and I'm sorry, but tempering chocolate is a delicate and precise process that requires a lot of detail...I observed that there are few step-by-step tutorials about this topic, so I think it will help many people...! (I hope) 

To make these White Chocolate Mendiants, you will need:
(you get aprox 20, depending on size)

* white chocolate (good quality please!), 400 gr * assorted nuts (hazelnuts, walnuts, pecans, pistachios), dried dried fruits: raisins, pears, prunes, apricots...

These utensils: a thermometer, an off-set spatula, a chocolate scraper, a very thin tip for your pastry bag!

Here the assorted dried fruits...!

And the assorted nuts!

How to temper black chocolate (traditional method)

Why do I insist saying that this is the traditional method? Because nowadays people use other techniques, like melting a quantity of chocolate, and then adding non-melted chocolate to it...others use the microwave (in my opinion, danger!!!! the moment of exceed the right temperature, chocolate will be definitely ruined) but in good pâtisseries, hotels, etc, professionals will use the method I will show you here! Plus, this method allows you to play with can't deprive yourself of that joy!!

Let's slice the fruits for our mendiants!

and now the nuts!

Now that that is ready, we plunge into chocolate tempering!! The minimum quantity to temper is 400gr...Less than that, it becomes tricky...We chop our chocolate well, and pour it into a dry stainless steel bowl (one drop of water, and our chocolate is ruined, remember!

We put some water into a saucepan, to make a "bain marie". When the water is simmering, we put our bowl on top.. Careful!!! the water must not touch the bowl, otherwise the temperature of chocolate might rise sharply. 

And now the question of temperatures for tempering:

Bittersweet chocolate: It should melt at 45°/50°C; descend to 27°C; rise to 31°/32°C
Milk/White Chocolate:  It should melt at 40°/45°C; descend to 25/26°C; rise to 29/30°C

Here, I'm checking the right temperature.....and rushed to the dining-room!

Since, obviously I don't have a marble top, I used this metal baking tray...I poured 3/4 of my chocolate there...The idea is that we will make descend the temperature of the chocolate on the tray, while the chocolate in the bowl stays approximately at the same temperature (or will lower very little) Careful!!! one drop of water of the bowl on the chocolate and "Kaput"!!! (notice the towel !)

And the beautiful part begins here !!! With the spatula, spread your chocolate evenly.....

Clean your spatula !!! we have to be very careful and neat, because working with melted chocolate can be a mess !!!! Soon, with the scraper, start moving the chocolate towards the center...Why soon? Because if you wait too long, the chocolate on the outer edge will cool down faster, and it will begin to, don't waste time!! If Jude Law calls you, you tell him you are busy tempering chocolate !!!???!

Just play here, and enjoy it!!

Clean your spatula...clean your scraper!!

Start the process again! 

See how smooth and shiny!

What you see like little balls, in fact, it is air!!

Temperature, again? 

Yes!! It's ready !!

Now the difficult part...We must put everything back in the bowl!! Oops!

Now our chocolate at 25°C meets the warmer chocolate in the bowl...

Stir fast, the overall temperature will rise..It's like magic! You will see the 29° / 30°C

Prepare your pastry bag: twist the "neck". Otherwise, when you incorporate the chocolate, it will run out of it!

When you are done, set the bag pointing upwards.. Adjust pressure..We don't want air bubbles in it! Ready??? Hold your breath!! There we go!

Just like with macarons...

Oops !!!

When you are done, tap your baking tray! Imperfections will disappear...

Now, one piece of hazelnut everywhere....then pistachios...and so on!

And it's done!! Aren't they lovely?

Keep the mendiants at room temperature (unless it's too hot) till they harden....Don't eat too many at a time !!!

I would like to thank all the people that voted for me in the previous challenge, and the judges of course! If you believe that this tutorial has taught you something...I would appreciate your vote starting October 11th, 6am Pacific Time to October 14th, 6pm Pacific Time!
I would also like to thank my 15 year-old daughter C. that took all the pictures while I was tempering chocolate!


Unknown said…
Love your tutorial on tempering chocolate, you have my vote and next time I visit Paris let's meet for coffee:)
Anonymous said…
Tempering Chocolate... Read about it, but I have never seen it so well explained.
Will keep this Tutorial handy for the day I will have enough courage to try to make these White Chocolate Mendiants myself.
Thank you !
Anonymous said…
This is an excellent tutorial. I could have used it last week! I unfortunately ruined some dishes in the microwave =( I will have to keep referring to this post. It's excellent and the photographic element goes far in filling in the gaps.
Cute mandiants! So perfect and tempting.


Jean said…
Very well done, Cristina. I'm smiling as I type this because I think you hit the nail on the head with this challenge. You were precise in your instructions (and warnings! :-) ) and of course, the pictures were very clear in illustrating the necessary steps to temper chocolate. You should be pleased with yourself--you did a wonderful job! :-)
Chef Chuck said…
Hi Cristina, You show the process so well "White Chocolate!!" ~Love to try them~
So happy, your happy!!,
Sippity Sup said…
Your posts always have such style. This one is no exception. White chocolate in the hands of an expert i divine. Great job. GREG
Torviewtoronto said…
lovely tutorial and pictures
Unknown said…
I must say, your daughter must have inherited her photography skills from you. Taking all those lovely, detailed photos during such a fast process like tempering can't be easy. She did it so well and made your tutorial on tempering chocolate seem so doable. Bravo to mother and daughter for a job well done! You both have my vote.
bunkycooks said…
That is a perfect lesson in tempering chocolate. I hope that I can see this lesson in person sometime! BTW, if Jude Law called, I just might have to answer! ;) Chocolate...what chocolate?!
Asha @ FSK said…
What a beautiful tutorial! Tempering is such a delicate process and you have nice conveyed it through these photos!
Looks great! I've never really known how to properly temper chocolate, so I'm glad I read this! Good luck in the challenge!
Mariko said…
That IS like magic. Tempering chocolate is like chemistry.
Winnie said…
That is an amazing tutorial and really has me wanting one of your mendiants RIGHT NOW :)
Anonymous said…
My! my! my! For once, I caught you early... and it was more than worth it ! What a fantastic demonstration and so beautifully photographed. C. is definitely "a chip of the (not so) old block" ! My warmest congratulations to both of you. You obviously will go very very far. I bet the judges are simply stunned, not to mention little me (although nothing will surprise me after your macaron show) !
@ Everybody:

I'm so glad you find this tutorial helpul..That's the idea!

@ Bunky

If Jude Law called me, I would say: "Blog? What blog?


Thank you, "teacher"!!
Miriam said…
Mmmm, Jude Law?? Por favor, con lo divertido que debe ser templar chocolate, Jude puede esperar... XD.
Fantástico tutorial y tu hija es una gran fotógrafa!
Unknown said…
This is a great tutorial. I really must try this. The mendiants you made are absolutely beautiful. Perfect for giving as a hand made gift.
*kisses* HH
fromBAtoParis said…
@ Miriam

De parte de mi hija, gracias!!! Està chocha con esto de tener "comments" ja ja
Wonderfully informative post! The chocolates looks supremely divine!

...I'd love to see a snapshot of you tiny Parisian kitchen!
Karen said…
Great tutorial...I've never tempered chocolate that way. It looks fun!
Very pretty finished product!
Good luck on this round!
Liren said…
This was a joy to read, Cristina. What a wonderfully precise and beautiful tutorial - all the extra hints on what to watch out for are extremely helpful. Now, if only I could taste one, preferably while chatting to Jude Law on the phone :)
Gastronomicduo said…
What a delicious post! Nice work.
Wow, really looks like a lot of work and effort, but I bet they are devine. The pictures are great, really help explain what you are doing.
I love this post!! I'm one of those scaredy cats who is afraid to temper chocolate, but you've just made it seem not-so-scary!! You absolutely have my vote!!
beautiful photo tutorial! very easy to follow steps for making delicious mendiants. you have my vote - good luck!
fromBAtoParis said…
@ Amy:
You are not alone.. A lot of people are afraid of tempering chocolate..This is why I did the post !!!
Lori Lynn said…
Fabulous Cristina! Great choice for the challenge. I love the action shots!
I have never tempered chocolate but thanks to this fantastic tutorial I might be able to attempt it. Your mendiants are gorgeous and delicious looking. You have my vote for sure!
Wow! You made that look easy. When I first read that you were going to temper chocolate in your dining room, I thought, "oh, her poor floors!" But, you worked so cleanly. Your tutorial is a great lesson!
Cristina said…
Cristina - I've never considered wanting to temper chocolate, but this demonstration with your instructions and fantastic supporting images makes me want to give it a try. I like that you improvised using a baking sheet.

Your Chocolate Mendiants are lovely and elegantly presented. I can't wait to try one!
Magic of Spice said…
Beautiful! A great entry :)
Heather said…
The first photo is just so lovely! Very cool to see tempering chocolate here.
Stella said…
Nice, Cristina! I've never tempered chocolate, but you make it look like an easy process. A process for sure, but an easy one (smile). Ooh, and your mendiants are very elegant and beautiful. Plus, I'm a white chocolate fan, so these sound extra yum to me!
Beautiful! The photos and tutorial were excellent! (VOTE!)
Monica said…
Its.. like magic! Of course once you work at it and play .. and who does not like to play with chocolate?

Great, great tutorial.. do you have one for macaroons too?
Adelina said…
Wow Cristina! Que buenito! Working with chocolate while trying to document each step... That is way too difficult, challenging and so well written and illustrated. I am so going to go back to your post when it's time for me to play with chocolate. I can't wait to see your next challenge!
I just want to swim in that white chocolate. It looks lovely. This post was so informative. Good job you have my vote.
GreenGirl said…
thank you so much for your tutorial, I've read so much about it but never seen it explained so well, thank you once again
I've always wanted to learn how to properly temper chocolate but been too hesitant. I think I'll try it - bookmarked this post. And voted! Good luck!
Unknown said…
Thank you for sharing your tips. It is great.
Beautiful post - well done! I hope to join you in the next round :)
fromBAtoParis said…
@ Everybody

It makes me real happy to know that you have found this tutorial helpful !! This was what all this was about!
Lisa said…
Oh this is beautiful. It's like looking at art. You've got my vote.
Yummy yummy yum, it looks wow great, wish you good luck :)
How apt that you placed them among pearls - they really do look like jewels. Beautiful! Love the tutorial and see you in round 5 :)
Barbara said…
Cristina, you are brilliant! What a fabulous post, full of information, lots of fun to read and see and those gorgeous Mendiants? OH MY! And there you are in your pretty apron, showing us the way.
I voted for you already. :)
I absolutely love your tutorial on tempering chocolate. I've never done it before and after reading your post, I think I could do it. Your pictures are just wonderful and the white chocolate mendiants look SOOOO good! Great job and I already voted for you! :)
shaz said…
Wow, they are like jewels. Thanks for such a fabulous tutorial, I tried to temper chocolate last week (in a bowl) and it bloomed terribly!). Will try again with your help :) Good luck, hope you get to the next round, I'm sure you will with such gorgeous posts!
Wow, I'm super impressed! Tempering chocolate really is a science, especially in a non-existent kitchen. Fabulous job! :)

Whitney said…
amazing work! i too have a small kitchen and am glad to see i could do it! :)
S said…
beautiful- you are so talented- these little gems are gorgeous. love it love it love it. x shayma
Great tutorial - who doesn't love chocolate? I sent a little red heart your way - Good luck!
Nancy said…
This is a fantastic tutorial with very helpful instructions. You make it look like I might just be able do this, just might:) So elegant as usual. Going to vote now.
Jacob's Kitchen said…
Stunning as always! A really well executed tutorial. It is clear and easy to follow, and your photos are as gorgeous as they always are. nicely done. I voted for you!

Good luck! Hope to see us both in round 5! =)
Jeanne said…
You've made tempering chocolate look like fun! Great tutorial, and you have my vote!
Gaby said…
Hi Cristina, you are really flourishing, with this tutorial you have excelled yourself.
Of yourse I have voted for these yummy chocs!
Unknown said…
Beautiful job! You've made tempering chocolate seem easy, despite the fact that it can be tricky to do it just right. Plus your mendiants look absolutely gorgeous.
Voted. Good luck with this round!
riceandwheat said…
Love this - best use of a photo tutorial I've seen so far since that's definitely a technique words can't do justice to. I especially love the shots with your fast-moving blurry hands because they definitely show the flurry of activity. Good luck this round, but I don't think you'll need it! ;)
Allison said…
Great post, thank you! Now I really want to try this! You have my vote!
Corrie said…
So helpful, I've been reluctant to try tempering as I don't have a marble slab. You have solved that, thank you
Claudia said…
Excellentand gorgeous post. (Voted!) You are a born teacher and a natural chocolatier!
Deeba PAB said…
Utterly charming. Your tutorial is a complete work of art. You had me holding my breath throughout! Bravo!! The chocolate mendiants are brilliant!
jen cheung said…
Excellent post - you got my vote for this! Good luck :) Feel free to hop over to leave a comment :)

Have a wonderful day!
jen @
AWESOME tutorial! Perfect for this challenge, and definitely bookmarked for the future. :)
I love it! I have a tiny kitchen too, so it's great to see posts directed to people like us. I love the action shots.
Bravo Cristina !!! Happy to see the real way to tempering chocolate so many take the shortcut route. Great pics as always. Good Luck !
fromBAtoParis said…
@ Tiny Urban Kitchen

What you see in my blog has come out from a tiny urban kitchen (in Paris), so ...Good for us !!!
Jun Belen said…
Your mendiants look divine. Truly picture perfect!! Great tutorial on tempering chocoate, too! I'm absolutely bookmarking this post! Well done!
Ayush Kejriwal said…
Ur blog is so nice love it!! Tried to follow it but was unable to find the follow button ;-(


My blogs -
Lovely. Lovely, lovely, lovely!
Butter said…
Gorgeous and a great tutorial. I have to bookmark this one for sure. I have a small kitchen too so I can relate :) I voted for you yesterday and hope you make it! You deserve it.
- Butter
Daily Spud said…
The mendiants are indeed quite lovely, while the tempering lesson and the photos of same are impressive! I will no longer use my small kitchen as an excuse for anything :)
Unknown said…
I've had at least one disaster trying to temper white chocolate, this tutorial pretty much clears up where I went wrong. Say I want to add some coloring to my white chocolate, when would be an appropriate time to add food coloring so that it doesn't ruin the chocolate?

Good luck this week, voting for you!

Lick My Spoon
Krista said…
I love working with chocolate, but It always gets funky when I melt it. I've wanted to try tempering but I really needed to SEE it done. Now I feel that I might be able to tackle it at my house! Thanks!
El said…
I love mendiants. You did an amazing job tempering by hand. I'm impressed.
Marisa said…
What a great tutorial! Very helpful seeing this done step by step - have always been intimidated by tempering chocolate.
Just gorgeous! And it gives me something to do with the leftover chocolate I had from my chocolate dinner party for Round 3!

Good luck and hope we both make it to Round 5! :)
Thank you! I really needed someone to walk me through this process! And your pictures are gorgeous. I got over my disappointment of not making it to this round and voted for you! Thanks for the chocolate therapy!
Luluto said…
It was really very very useful! Thank you very much!
Mar said…

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