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In the kitchen of most good restaurants you will most likely find a collection of ring molds. These are simply cylinders with open ends that come in various diameters as well as heights. These are also known by a plethora of other names including: prep rings, plating rings, forming rings, food styling forms, food presentation rings, and simply food rings.
They are typically used for one of two purposes. The first is to form a variety of food into "towers" of various heights. The uses of ring molds for this purpose are nearly unlimited. They include forming appetizers, molding salads, forming crab cakes and steak tartar and desserts.
The second use for ring molds is to cook food in a cylindrical shape. These may include cylindrical eggs, pancakes, rice timbales and mousses.
Ring molds, also known by other names as mentioned above, can be purchased at numerous department and kitchen supply stores. But before we get into listing some of our recommendations for ring molds, it's probably worth saying that you don't necessarily have to pay a lot for these. For example, you could buy a piece of PVC pipe, of the appropriate diameter, at your local home improvement store which would work fine for many of the uses for ring molds. Another inexpensive alternative would be a tin can, with both the top and bottom removed. You might want to just look through your kitchen drawers and you'll probably come up with one or two other inexpensive items that could be used as ring molds.
Ring molds are designed primarily for constructing food towers. The GEFU 12170 Rings Set (pictured at the top of the page) even comes with tampers to help in forming the cylindrical food item. This set has three pairs of rings of different sizes, 4 x 3 cm, 6 x 4 cm, and 8 x 5 cm. It also includes a pusher for each of the three mold sizes. The parts are made of stainless steel and are dishwasher safe.The Kuchenprofi Prep/Plating/ Forming Rings is another nice set of ring molds. It includes two pairs of rings, 2-1/4 inch and 3-inch diameters. They are made of 18/10 stainless steel and are dishwasher safe. If you'd like you can also purchase a pusher for these as well.