This week on MasterChef it was BAKING WEEK – eeeeeeek!!!
Obviously I was excited, but were the contestants?
All four of them were nervous, to say the least. Shelina was worried about what could go wrong saying, “there are so many variables.”
Jay was concerned because he says he doesn’t even eat dessert, Tom wasn’t sure he could conform to the “exact science” that baking is and Andrew admitted that he doesn’t practice sweets as much as savoury. But, obviously, I think everybody’s capable of baking fantastic cakes and pastries!
The four were taken to Sketch in London, to serve afternoon tea, to comedy heroes from the seventies and eighties. They each had to make one savoury pastry and two sweets, plenty of inspiration for us bakers!
Shelina cooked a spicy scone with coriander cream cheese and a mango relish, an exotic fruit tart with cardamom custard and a carrot, ginger and pecan nut cake. Shelina didn’t even seem to flinch, her dishes looked absolutely perfect and the comedians all seemed to like them.
Jay only managed to get two dishes out, when, having already gone over by 40 minutes, his raspberry and chocolate ganache tart failed to set. The two he did get out looked nice enough, but nowhere near as refined as the others. He made a custard tart with strawberries and salmon and broccoli tartlets, which some complained were slightly bland.
Tom, did my favourite, macaroons, with a rhubarb and strawberry filling, he burnt the first batch and undercooked the second so they didn’t have that perfect finish which macaroons are famous for. He also made a beautiful looking coffee and walnut gateau and little duck and red currant pies. However, he was also very late with all of his pastries.
Lastly, Andrew also cooked savoury scones with mozzarella and a pancetta jam, carrot cake with a thyme topping and raspberry marshmallows with a white chocolate dipping sauce. There was disagreement between Greg and John, over the thyme flavoured icing on the carrot cake, but everything looked so beautiful, as is the usual with Andrew.
In the second half the four had two and a half hours to cook two sweet dishes for Greg and John, along with Claire Clark, who has an MBE for her services to food, Damian Allsop, and James (Jocky) Petrie, who has appeared on How To Cook Like Heston and is the pastry chef at The Fat Duck.
Andrew, who has previously said he’s been inspired by Aki and Shelina, cooked a Thai mango tart with a tropical fruit salad and a chocolate, orange and coriander tart with a pear and fennel sorbet and a yoghurt mousse. The judges all agreed that the flavours by themselves were lovely but all together, were far too complex. The presentation was stunning but there were a lot of components.
Jay made a pineapple tarte tatin with a malibu and white chocolate sorbet, which the judges complained was grainy and too strong of malibu. They also were disappointed that the pastry wasn’t crisp and said the presentation was unexciting. As well as the tarte tatin, he made a tiramisu doughnut with a coffee and chocolate sorbet, which Greg said made him ‘one happy boy!’
Shelina got Greg all excited when he saw her ingredients, she made a passion-fruit tapioca with palm sugar ice cream and baked ricotta slice which the judges said ‘ticked all the boxes’ and a mango ‘millefeuille’ with dulce de leche slice and white chocolate sorbet. Both of her dishes went down well, and both looked beautiful.
Tom was slated for his de-constructed lemon and lime tart with meringue, honey comb and a basil coulis, which he tried to make look edgy but it ended up looking like he’d dropped it on the floor. The judges said that the dish was too risky and too much. His second dish was a chocolate mint delice on a pistachio base with creme de menthe caviar pearls, which looked fantastic and he definitely put everything he had into it.
In the end, I think it was inevitable that Jay was sent home, his dishes just haven’t been refined enough to get him into the final three.
Next week, the final three will battle it out to compete for the MasterChef title.
To bake any of the amazing things that you saw on MasterChef, click here.