How to make the perfect quenelle?

In cooking, it’s not only the taste that counts, but also the presentation! To serve butter, ice cream or mousses for dessert, there is nothing like serving them in the form of quenelles: small oval-shaped rocher. You’ll look like a pro right away!

In this article, I explain how to how to make the perfect quenelle?. Trust me, I didn’t know how to do so and after a few trials, I could pretend to be a pro chef!

– this article contains advertising for the Triangle –

Three butter quenelle on a wood board

What is a quenelle?

The term quenelle refers to a classic presentation technique of mostly used in haute gastronomy. The quenelle shape is often used by great chefs to serve butter, side dishes and especially desserts such as ice cream and mousses.

Zoom on a perfectly shaped butter quenelle

A quenelle looks like a small oval rocher about 5 to 10 centimeters long.

Which spoon to choose?

To make a quenelle, you need one or two relatively deep tablespoons. Great chefs usually use silver vintage spoons found at flea markets because they are deeper than the soup spoons found today.

If you cannot find vintage spoons, my kitchen tool partner, Triangle, based in Solingen, Germany, has developed a unique product: a quenelle spoon. It’s a sturdy, tapered spoon created to help chefs make the perfect quenelle. There is a small and a large one and you can buy them in pairs so you have an identical spoon of each. 

Three butter quenelle on a wood board

Link to the Triangle Quenelle Spoons

How to make a quenelle?

I will show you how to make a quenelle with a homemade compound butter. You will find the three recipes for compound butter in my article 3 recipes of Homemade Flavored Butter : Lemon Butter, Garlic and Herb Butter and Tomato and Chilli Butter.

There are two different ways to make a quenelle : with one spoon or two spoons. I will explain both methods below.

1. Ingredients at the right temperature

Quenelle can only be realized with smooth foods. So if you want to make a butter or ice cream quenelle, they must be at the right temperature. The butter should ideally be soft so that when you push the spoon in there is no resistance.

The ice cream should also be taken out of the freezer a few minutes beforehand so that the spoon will slide in well.

2. Place the spoon in hot water

The most important tip is to dip the spoon in hot water just before making the quenelle. The water must be at a high heat (90°C) to immediately melt the butter or ice cream on contact with the spoon. Remove excess water by wiping the spoon over a small kitchen towel. 

Remember to put the spoon back in the water to rinse and reheat it after each quenelle.

Zoom on a perfectly shaped butter quenelle

3. The movement with one spoon

The movement should be as smooth as possible, especially with only one spoon.

Hold the spoon with the bottom 3/4 of the way down. Make sure you have enough room to perform the movement. To do this, start the movement at one side of the container.

Dip the warm spoon into the butter or ice cream and bring it towards you at the same time. Then wrap the spoon around the quenelle and finish it off in one go.

How to make a butter quelle with one spoon

Even though I’m not a gourmet expert, I managed to make some beautiful quenelles! (See the video)

4. The movement with two spoons

The movement with two spoons is much easier. So if after practicing, the one-spoon quenelle still doesn’t look good, try this! For this, you will need two identical spoons.

Take a generous spoonful of butter or ice cream with the first spoon and scrape the inside of the spoon with your other spoon. Roll the mixture towards you in one single motion and repeat this once or twice, alternating spoons.

How to make a butter quenelle with two spoons

Once you have shaped your quenelle, place it rapidly on a chilled plate (for ice cream) or wood board (for butter) to avoid the quenelle to slip.

And, if you want to see beautiful quenelles and original compound butter recipes, have a look at the famous TikTok cook Thomas Starker and his series called All Things Butter!

For more inspiration, here are my latest recipes:

Feel free to leave me a comment, this always makes me very happy!

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