After watching the movie again in preparation for this episode, I decided to make pistachio chocolates because that’s what stood out to me in the film. After I got The Little Book of Chocolate, the cookbook by Joanne Harris and Fran Warde, I discovered the chocolate and nut treats called mendiants. Then again, while reading the novel Chocolat, I learned that they are Vienne’s favorites! They really are so tasty and also very versatile to suit anyone’s palate–and very easy to put together!
The chili and sea salt chocolate is also found in The Little Book of Chocolat and I feel is very reminiscent of the film with it’s heavy inclusion of Mayan and Aztec influences. Also, I’ve always really liked the idea of salty and sweet and then throw in spicy? Yes, let’s!
- Dark Chocolate, broken into pieces of similar size
- White Chocolate, broken into pieces of similar size
Bring some water to a very low simmer in a small to medium-sized pot. Place a heat-proof bowl over the pot (make sure it fits nicely/snugly & doesn’t touch the water) & put 2/3 of either the dark or white chocolate into it. Place a candy thermometer or digital kitchen thermometer into the bowl with the chocolate & heat until it registers about 131ºF for dark chocolate or 122ºF for white chocolate, stirring occasionally. Remove the bowl from the heat & stir in the remaining white or dark chocolate pieces, continuing to stir until all of the chocolate is smooth & melted. Put the thermometer back into the bowl & let it sit until the temperature lowers to just over 80ºF for dark chocolate or just under 80ºF for white chocolate. Replace the bowl of chocolate over the gently simmering pot &, stirring constantly, let the temperature climb to about 88ºF for dark chocolate & 85ºF for white. Now it’s tempered & ready to use!
- 3.5 oz or so of Tempered Dark Chocolate (I used a 72% bar of Godiva)
- Tempered White Chocolate (optional)
- Dried Fruits, cut into small bits (I used dried apricots, pineapple, & crazins)
- Shelled Nuts & Seeds (I used pistachios, cashews, & pepitas–green pumpkin seeds)
Lay a large sheet of parchment paper on a baking sheet. Using the back of a regular-sized spoon (a table spoon, like the kind you’d eat cereal with) spread circles of tempered dark chocolate onto the parchment, making them coin-size or biscuit-size–it’s up to you. If you’d like to marbleize them, spoon a tiny amount of white chocolate on top, & then gently swirl it ’round once with the back of the spoon. Tap the tray gently on the counter a few times to help the chocolate settle. Next, place nuts, seeds, & little bits of dried fruit on top, & then let the mendiants sit aside to harden.
Chili & Sea Salt Chocolate ‘Bark’
- 10 oz. Tempered Dark Chocolate (I used a bag of Ghirardelli’s 60% baking chips)
- Sea Salt
- Dried Red Pepper Flakes (I cut a dried red chili pepper into tiny bits
Spray an 8″ x 12″ pan (or similar size) with cooking spray & then lay a large sheet of plastic wrap inside. Pour your tempered dark chocolate into the pan & smooth it out & tap it on the counter to get out any air bubbles. Sprinkle the chocolate with a little bit of sea salt & pepper flakes (including seeds), & then sit aside to harden. Remove the chocolate from the pan by lifting up on the plastic wrap & then gently break the chocolate into pieces using your hands or cut with a knife. Eat it as is or use it for decorating other desserts (like cake!).
Listen to the episode! Fiction Kitchen Episode 18: Chocolat