chefs Ernie Quinones

Strawberry-Rhubarb Tart with Banyuls Sorbet
Pastry Chef Ernie Quinones of Mantra – Boston, MA
Adapted by StarChefs
Star Pastry Chef Ernie Quinones of Mantra on Star Chefs

Mantra Boston, MA

September 2003

Philosophy on cooking:
Simplicity and discipline. I keep my desserts simple in terms of presentation and flavor profiles. Do not deviate far from the classics; desserts should be cutting edge, yet satisfying.

Formerly of:
Abiento - Pasadena, CA
Hotel Hershey – Hershey, PA
Four Seasons - Las Colinas, Irving, TX & Houston, TX

Culinary School:
Culinary Institute of America - Hyde Park, NY.

Tools you can't live without:
KitchenAid mixer
Offset spatula
Induction burner
A great pair of shoes

Favorite ingredients:
Fresh fruit
High quality chocolate
Espresso coffee

Three tips for dessert success:
1. Preparation is key. Do research and find out how flavors will go together. Don’t be afraid to try something new and different but make sure that it will work.

2. Quality is a huge factor as to whether the flavors will blend as you anticipated. If you aren’t working with the best quality food the flavors may not come together as you expected. Be prepared to make adjustments based on the product that you receive each day.

3. Have fun and be creative. Just because it hasn’t been done before doesn’t mean that you can’t try it. Going out on a limb can bring you an idea that might just put you on the map. Everyone was a little surprised when I came up with Blue Cheese Ice Cream, but it worked!

Short Bio:
A Los Angeles Native, Ernie’s path to Mantra was a circuitous one, starting out in California and leading to Massachusetts. Ernie received an associate degree in Baking and Pastry Arts at the Culinary Institute of America. Then, after a whirlwind externship at the exclusive Newport Country Club, he continued on to Chocolate Central -- The Hotel Hershey in Hershey, Pennsylvania.

For the next two years, he headed the resort's pastry operations, before making a major move to the Four Seasons Hotel in Dallas and then the Four Seasons Houston. As Executive Pastry Chef at the AAA rated 5-Diamond property, Ernie managed a staff of five and created delicacies for breakfast, lunch, dinner, room service and banquets of all sizes.

Ernie was then recruited to help open Mantra in Boston in 2000. As Executive Pastry Chef, he has won rave reviews for his unique sweet and savory flavor combinations - he won an award at Boston's annual Masters of Pastry competition before the restaurant had even opened. This spring, Ernie tied for first place in Boston's annual "Chocolate Madness" contest.

Yield: 4 Servings

    Sugar Dough

  • 1 pound sweet (unsalted) butter, at room temperature
  • 1 ¼ cups granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 cups all purpose flour
  • Pinch of salt
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
    Strawberry-Rhubarb Filling

  • 1 cup diced fresh strawberries
  • 1 cup diced rhubarb
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 cup mascarpone cheese
  • ¼ cup confectioner’s sugar
  • Banyuls Sorbet
  • 2 cups Banyuls wine
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 4 cups water


For the sugar dough:
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
Cream the butter and sugar in a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, until the butter is light and fluffy in appearance. Add eggs one at a time to the mixture, mixing well after each. Add the flour and slowly mix until just incorporated. Remove the dough from the mixer, and wrap up tighlty in plastic wrap. Freeze for 1 hour. On a well floured surface, roll out the chilled dough to 1/8” thickness. With a 2” round cookie cutter, cut rounds out of the dough. Bake the rounds on a baking sheet for 10 minutes, or until golden brown.

For the filling:
Whisk together the mascarpone and confectioner’s sugar in a mixing bowl. Once well combined, place the bowl in the refrigerator to chill until use.

In a small bowl toss the rhubarb with the cinnamon and sugar. In a sauté pan over medium-high heat, sauté the rhubarb until soft. Remove the rhubarb from the heat, and allow it to cool. Once cool, add the diced strawberries.

For the Banyuls sorbet:
Bring the Banyuls wine, sugar and water to a boil in a large pot. Once boiling, remove from heat. Pour it into a shallow pan, and place the pan in the freezer. Stir it every 30 minutes until frozen.

For assembly:
Place a sugar cookie in the center of a serving plate. Using a pastry bag and tip, pipe a mound of the mascarpone on top of the sugar cookie. Spoon a bit of the strawberry-rhubarb mixture on the mascarpone, and place a small scoop of the sorbet on top. Serve immediately.