Monday, March 29, 2010
Easter Candy Workshop
This past Sunday a handful of (fascinating!) students joined me in the workshop space of The Road Less Traveled for what has now become my favorite workshop- Easter Candy! We made egg-shaped truffles, with colorful coatings, and reinterpreted the mendiant, a traditional Christmas candy, as truly Spring-inspired confections.
Chambord was the flavor of the day for our truffles- a real Spring time classic. Forming them into little eggs, we tumbled them in pistachio crumbs, powdered sugar, cocoa rouge and toasted almonds—kind of like dying Easter eggs, only less stinky. And probably more fattening.
And then there were the mendiants! Mendiants are part of the 13 desserts of a proper Provencal Christmas, a tradition steeped in religious symbolism. Though I’m neither French nor Catholic, I love mendiants! And I want to eat them more than once a year.
Dried figs, Raisins, Almonds and Hazelnuts are the wintery goodies usually found on a mendiant- each topping symbolizing a particular monastic order (the word ‘mendiant’ means beggar-- the mendicant orders survived completely on alms). By keeping their origin story alive, I’m hoping to be forgiven for shaking this tradition up a bit. First to go is the Christmasy context, and with it go the wintery flavors.
In their place…thin slivers of chili mango, tart petals of dried hibiscus flowers, spicy candied ginger, and locally foraged pink peppercorns … Keep Preserves’ Pink Chili Salt, brilliant green pistachios, and sunny strips of dried apricot… huge crunchy Brazil nuts, aromatic tangerine zest, and- of course- a smattering of sea salt.
The results were surprising, Spring-y and quite modern. And addictively delicious. No bite is the same as the one before and even the very bite you have in your mouth changes as the chocolate warms on your tongue.
The C Salt Mendiant is here to stay, folks.
Since its getting warmer, and chocolate is such a delicate flower, this may have been my last workshop until after summer- but I’ll keep you posted!