The Croquanter Technique: fruit and vegetable crunchies
Molecular gastronomy chef Ferran Adria created the Croquanter technique to obtain geometrical shapes of crunchy sheets of ingredients such as fruit, vegetable and yogurt. They are similar to a caramel tuile but with a delicate flavor of the main ingredient instead. It is all made at relatively low temperatures (under 80 °C) to preserve the delicate aromas of the main ingredient and a dehydrator is used to obtain the crunchy texture.
These are some of the creations of Ferran Adria using the Croquanter Technique:
- Yogurt Croquant
- Pistachio Croquant
- Blackcurrant Croquant
- Carrot Croquant
- Raspberry Croquant
- Apple Croquant
- Beet Croquant
What you need for the Croquanter Technique
I wouldn’t recommend using the oven as a dehydrator in this case because the dehydrating time is usually 48 hours. So if you don’t have a dehydrator yet, now may be the time to get one! Read Dehydrating Food in Creative Ways.
Ferran Adria’s Textura line of products has a Croquanter kit that includes a set of round Teflon mats that fit some round dehydrators. Unfortunately, it doesn't fit most round dehydrators in the USA as they are a little larger.
The Croquanter kit comes with 8 stencils of different shapes (circles, triangles, rectangles, squares and leaves).
In addition to the main fruit or vegetable ingredient, most recipes require caster sugar, Isomalt and glucose. Adding lyophilisied fruit speeds up the dehydration process and increases flavor. Adding maltodextrin also helps to add consistency to fruit puree with high water content (e.g. passion fruit).
How to make crunchy shapes
Just place the stencil on the Teflon mat, apply the mixture with a spatula, lift the stencil and carefully place the Teflon mat in the dehydrator. Leave them for 24 to 48 hours depending on the temperature applied, the sugar and water content of the mixture. The crunchies can be carefully rolled or bended with the hands while they are still warm. (see Mango Croquant recipe)