I spent a good part of last week experimenting with these biscuits. I know they look pretty basic - shortbread topped with dried fruit and nuts, but I assure you they are anything but. These biscuits embody the minimalist perfection of taste and texture. There is no recipe to follow but you can hardly go wrong. It is just paramount to begin with good chocolate, quality garnish and your favourite shortbread.
The inspiration for these bite sized treats came from the French mendiant which literally translates into "beggar of alms", more specifically referring to the 4 orders of mendicant monks. Of course, classically these perfect rounds of crisp chocolate discs are topped with blanched almonds, dried figs, raisins and hazelnuts, each representing the colour of the robes worn by the friars. I chose a combination of 5 nuts and fruit: pistachio, walnut, dried apricot, cranberry and raisin, as I felt compelled to, though not by greed, but by my inability to decide between raisin and cranberry with their complimentary sweet and tart nature.
I think these are the perfect after-dinner sweet. A little something to accompany your coffee when there just isn't enough room for dessert (a situation which remains foreign to me). Also, by adjusting the size of these biscuits, you can cater for all walks of biscuit eaters: the nibblers and the chompers. I have to add, I am partial to the larger biscuits because they look bountiful but my family have a firm preference for the smaller and more elegant variation which admittedly are more laborious to produce, but are as delightful to look at, and as delicious to eat.