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September 22, 2019

The Essential Round Food Molding Set

by Anne Paddock

Several months ago, I was in a restaurant (Levél Veggie Bistro) by Retiro Park in Madrid when I was blown away by a dish called “Timbal Fresco de Quinoa” which means “Fresh Quinoa Timbale.” This beautiful plate of layered quinoa, sliced avocado, and chopped tomatoes with sprouts and ground black peppercorns on top was served with basil leaves along with a lemon squeezer and olive oil.  I simply sprinkled the fresh lemon juice over the top with a sprinkle of salt and the flavor was magnificent.

After I returned home, I kept thinking about that timbale and decided I had to figure out how to make this colorful and delicious dish at home so I started reading about timbales. A timbale (which derives from the word “drum”) is typically a layered dish of chopped food that has been formed with a food mold. The mold is removed before the timbale is served because the visual presentation is key (note:  different colored foods are often used to enhance the presentation).

The key to a making a successful timbale seemed to be in choosing the right ingredients (both firm and semi-soft colorful foods) and the right food molding set.  A food that firms up nicely (i.e. quinoa, rice, or any cooked grain) should be on the bottom to form the foundation of the timbale followed by complementary colorful semi-soft foods on top).

Surprisingly, there are not a lot of timbale food molding sets out there but after reading reviews and visiting a restaurant supply store in New York City, I chose the Ateco 4952 Round Food Molding Set (a 4 piece food molding set made of stainless steel and silicone), which can be purchased on Amazon or Web Restaurant for about $20. It works like a dream and cleans up easily (dishwasher safe or wash by hand). Choose from the large size (3.5 inches across by 2.1 inches high) or the medium size (2.75 inches across by 2.1 inches high). My preference is for the large size but if you prefer a smaller serving, choose the medium.

The Ateco 4952 Round Food Molding Set comes with what is referred to as a spatula. This is the bottom piece (on far left). The spatula has a small hand piece with silicone to allow you to hold on and move the spatula.

  • Place the spatula in the middle of the serving plate.
  • Put one of the round food rings (looks like a cylinder; pictured center, above) on top of the spatula.
  • Place the first layer of cooked or chopped food into the cylinder and then take the round press (a plunger, pictured at right, above) and gently push down (this eliminates any airspace and compresses the first layer).
  • Add the second layer of ingredients and again use the round press to compress the food.
  • Add the third layer and use the round press to compress the food.
  • Gently pull out the spatula, then lift the round press, and then gently lift the cylinder food ring.
  • Repeat the above steps for each serving.
  • Garnish the top of the timbales and the plate. Serve. It’s that easy.

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