Friday, June 18, 2010
the dreaded quenelle
At work, we scoop ice cream into two shapes: balls and quenelles. Ball shapes are a piece of cake, but quenelles are a different matter. We use large spoons from the dining room to carve out what can best be described as a three dimensional teardrop shape, smooth it out on the side of the ice cream container, then gently slide it onto the plate. The ice cream always sits on top of a mound of ground up tart shell crumbs so that it doesn't slide around on the plate on it's way out to the dining room.
If the ice cream is tempered, or softened, it is fairly easy to get a good quenelle shape. If it's too hard, you have to claw away at the ice cream with the round scoop to soften it up before you can go in with the quenelle spoon. If it's too soft, you only get one shot at getting a good shape before it becomes too soupy to use.
Right now, I have gotten the general shape down, though my quenelles don't have much of a point on them. One of the girls I work with said that it took her two months before she was able to consistently get quenelles with perfectly pointy tips on them.
malt ice cream with dark chocolate drizzle
This is another recipe from David Lebovitz's The Perfect Scoop. The recipe said to fold chopped up malted milk balls into the finished ice cream. I've never really liked malted milk balls, so instead, I folded in drizzles of dark chocolate, just like stracciatella gelato. I loved the texture of this ice cream, but not the taste. It was just too sweet for me.
Wednesday was one of those days when everything went wrong. I had to make a mint sauce, but I didn't blanch the leaves thoroughly enough, so I ended up with army green sludge instead of a thin, bright green sauce. I then had to rush to redo the sauce before service started. The recipe calls for 120 grams of mint leaves, which you have to laboriously pluck off their stems. This takes FOREVER, but it's an important step because if enough stem gets into the sauce, it can ruin the color. Next, towards the end of service, we ran out of petits fours that we give to all guests at the end of their meals, as well as dessert amuse, which go out to all the guests who order dessert in the dining room. We ended up giving out cookies instead of petits fours and diced strawberries and whipped cream instead of the normal amuse. Here's hoping Saturday goes more smoothly!