Friday, June 11, 2010

The Art of Quenelling and a Deconstructed Caramelized Banana Tart

Posted by Quinn at Friday, June 11, 2010

I have been to restaurant many times and being served food, especially desserts in the form of a beautiful dollop. It's not any dollop, but a very clean, neat and crisp dollop that resembles the shape of a football. This, my dear readers, is called a Quenelle. It is achieved with nothing more than a spoon. All you need is hot water with a spoon in it, a spatula to scrap down the sides of whatever you are going to
Quenelle and of course, what you want to Quenelle. In this case, I quenelled whipped cream.

There is no one thing such as
Quenelle spoon and you can form Quenelle with anything from a teaspoon to a spoon, though I do have a favourite spoon for quenelling. You can do it with whipped cream, any type of mousses, ice creams and sorbets and even mashed potatoes. I've tried with all and I am a little confident in posting this.

I don't want to say this is the right way to form Quenelle but this is what I was taught by chef. It is all in the wrist and the swift movements and I cannot stress enough that there is no shortcut in achieving this. Some things just take a lot of practice and quenelling is one of them, but once you pick it up, you'll have it for a lifetime. I am okay, but I still could improve.

I've posted a video here as well. It's not a top-notch quality but it's good enough to show you how I did it. I used whipped cream here and I use one spoon. There is a quenelling technique that uses two spoons but I only know the one spoon Quenelle technique and it is easier than using two spoons in my opinion.

If the
Quenelle is stuck to the spoon and refuse to be released to the serving plate nicely, gently warm the back of your spoon by pressing it against your palm and it should come right off. This shouldn't happen as long as you are quenelling with a hot and wet spoon. Hot tap water is fine, boiling water is too hot and will melt the things you're quenelling.

For every time you finish one
Quenelle, scrap down the sides of the bowl with a spatula to smooth it out before beginning quenelling again. It is best to practice with mashed potatoes because they don't melt so easily but if you do it with whipped cream, you'll get to see how much pressure you need to apply and you improve faster.

Here's a dessert, deconstructed caramelized banana tart with dark chocolate mousse Quenelle and Chantilly cream Quenelle. If you've mastered the art of quenelling, you'll realise food can be presented in a more elegant way and it really does taste better!

The steps to form
Quenelle are as shown in the video. Just scoop a hot wet spoon into the cream towards you, with the initial angle of the spoon almost perpendicular to your eyes. Scoop it towards you in one swift motion so that it curls up naturally. Drop it back in there and wet and clean your spoon and drain off excess water but don't wipe it. Scoop the dollop that you've dropped back and press it against the side of the bowl and all the way in an upward stroke. Immediately place it on a serving plate. If it refuse to release nicely, warm the back of the spoon on your palm and try releasing again.

For the deconstructed caramelized banana tart, make a batch of the sugar cookie tart crust. Use a cookie ring and press out four large rounds with it and crumble up the rest finely. Make a batch of chocolate mousse and whipped up some chantilly cream and flavour it with vanilla bean paste.

For the caramelized banana, melt some butter and EVOO in a pan and chopped up two bananas. You can coin it like me or slice it lengthwise so you get long strands. Toss them into coarse sugar and dust off excess sugar. Place them on the pan. Let it sizzle and caramelize away, checking frequent if it's browning nicely. Flip over and cook a while until the bananas are softened, but not mushy.

To assemble, place one tart ring each on a serving plate. Place a Quenelle of chocolate mousse on each of them. Scatter with more tart crumbs on the Quenelle and place another tart ring on top or just by the side. Arrange the caramelized bananas around it and finish off with a final touch of chantilly cream Quenelle.

Serve immediately. I love the warm bananas texture paired with the cold chocolate mousse. The bitter mousse and the warm sweet bananas are to die for! I basically love all sorts of cooked fruits so don't take my word for it. Try it for yourself!!!!

What's with all the rave about football and World Cup today? I'm no football fan but I promised Aaron I'll stay up and watch football with him any time he wants and I'll just sit down next to him with a large bowl of mashed potatoes and practice my football shaping skills! Australia is in World Cup!!!! For once, almost all the matches are aired through national channels. I didn't know Aussies can play football really. They're famous for their footies though, some crappy football in my opinion with crazy rules!

6 packs of beers, checked! Assorted salted nuts, checked! Popcorns, checked! Mashed potatoes, checked! We're both all geared up for a little football celebration and quenelling session! World Cup, here we come!!!

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12 comments on "The Art of Quenelling and a Deconstructed Caramelized Banana Tart"

Honey Bee Sweets on June 11, 2010 at 5:46 PM said...

Incidentally I made a caramel Banana cake, talk about coincidence. :D Wow, your "football-like" mousse and Chantilly cream are very nicely shaped! Indeed very restaurant like. :) Good job! Nicely decorated.

Kitchen Corner on June 11, 2010 at 5:53 PM said...

Nice dollop of cream show!! Very professional!

Shirley @ Kokken69 on June 11, 2010 at 7:19 PM said...

Quinn, this is one of the most useful post I have come across in a long time! Thank you for posting the video. I have seen chefs rubbing their hand under the spoon but I love the idea of hot water. One thing about working in a hot, non-air conditioned kitchen though - this becomes more tricky.

Sonia (Nasi Lemak Lover) on June 11, 2010 at 7:48 PM said...

this look exactly like those serve in restaurant, simply delicious, Happy watching World cup, am not a fan of football too, hehehe..

zurin on June 11, 2010 at 8:38 PM said...

Quinn..(u must listen to me.)..:))
beautiful quenelle. I ususally use 2 spoons and sometimes I cant stop scooping frm one spoon to the other because it feels so satisfying.. but ur method id sooo much quicker and neater. I declare u a chef.

Anncoo on June 11, 2010 at 11:26 PM said...

Oh..I didn't know must use hot water. I only used cold water instead. Thanks for your info ;)

pigpigscorner on June 12, 2010 at 6:31 PM said...

I do love that shape and have no idea it's called quenelle!

Jess @ Bakericious on June 12, 2010 at 6:59 PM said...

yummy dessert and pretty presentation

Su-yin on June 12, 2010 at 8:17 PM said...

Oh this is a much better way of making quenelles! And they look lovely too. Mine always turn out so unsightly (haha)... hopefully your method will bring me more success :) Thanks for the video!

Pei-Lin@Dodol and Mochi on June 12, 2010 at 10:59 PM said...

Quinn, now that I got to see what you were telling me that night! Again, I'll try to be fancy with my foods when time allows ... Thanks for sharing the tips on getting Quenelles ... Hope I get to apply the method someday for someone special on special occasion ... I'm too busy at this point of my life!!! *Sob* Jealous of those tai-tai's. Dang!

Passionate About Baking on June 13, 2010 at 10:22 AM said...

Oh wow! This is very new to me. Thanks for sharing and posting the video on "quenelling". I shall try it out someday. I've always wondered how restaurants do it, now I know. :) Thank you so much!

Nirmala on June 16, 2010 at 2:34 PM said...

That's a twist I have not seen.

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