It is the quarter-final, and the six contestants face the Critic's Test. Jay Rayner instructs them to make an exceptional pie, which can be sweet or savoury.
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It's the MasterChef quarterfinal...
..and this week's best home cooks are back.
It means so much more than I thought it would.
I so want to take this further.
I feel my confidence is growing.
To say, "I'm a MasterChef quarterfinalist"
is pretty big time, isn't it?
Today's the day where I have to outshine
my previous performances and show them how good I am.
Tonight, they will face just one challenge -
to cook an outstanding dish from a brief set
by renowned restaurant critic Jay Rayner.
Six cooks, all very different, all really interesting,
all of them fighting it out for a place in Knockout Week.
The pressure is going to build.
This is really going to stretch them.
Welcome to the MasterChef quarterfinal.
You have been set a brief today to make a pie.
Any pie you like - sweet, savoury,
spicy - but you need to make your own pastry.
That brief was set by none other
than the formidable Jay Rayner,
and he is on his way here to taste the pies that you make
and help us judge.
Ladies and gentlemen, 90 minutes, the perfect pie...
My brief today is, make me a pie.
Sounds very simple, doesn't it?
But there are many, many parts to a good pie.
The pastry has to be well made,
it has to have a good balance of fat to flour,
it has to be cooked all the way through.
I don't want to bang on about soggy bottoms, but raw pastry is not nice.
And then the contents have to be cooked properly.
We know they don't get much time on these challenges,
and that is going to be one of the real issues for them.
You look at a pie, you want to then hear the crunch as your knife goes
through the pastry, and after that,
it's all about, do you want to eat the whole thing?
Mary is a wonderful home cook who really understands flavour.
But her food is scruffy.
It's a real test for Mary today to do a pie and make it smart.
I so want to win this competition.
I'm so excited I'm here,
I can't imagine what it will feel like if I actually do get through
and go further.
What's your pie, Mary?
Steak and kidney pie.
What is it about the steak and kidney pie
that makes it such a classic?
Soft meat and the gravy,
and then also, the suet pastry soaks up a little bit of that sauce
so it's a bit soft, but it's crunchy on the top.
I'm actually salivating.
What about Jay Rayner?
It is pretty terrifying,
but I feel quite confident that he will like it.
And if he don't, I'll get my coat.
Mary's pie is made up of shin beef, which is lovely and sticky
and gelatinous, which will give us thickness to the sauce.
She has got suet pastry.
The thing that Mary needs to be careful about is that the pastry
doesn't take up all the gravy and there's no gravy left.
And the other thing she needs to be careful about
is not to put in too much gravy,
otherwise the whole thing will collapse.
I love Sweta's big, bold flavours.
You think about it, couscous with salsa verde and pickled vegetables,
and it works. And then a big, bold, north-eastern Indian curry.
I've got to say, I'm fascinated about what Sweta might make for us.
Today is something that is totally, like, beyond, like,
anything I've done ever in my own kitchen.
So if I can nail it,
I think I can convince them that I'm worth taking forward
to the next round.
Sweta, I'm guessing you've probably
never cooked for a food critic, right?
And I've never cooked a pie before.
I mean, I've practised it a few times,
but until I got the brief,
-I had never actually eaten a pie.
-What's your pie?
I'm making a chicken, ham and leek pie
with a slight Sweta touch in its because I'm adding parsley,
cheddar cheese and mustard,
and I think any cream-based sauce goes really well
when you put, like, a tiny bit of cheese in it, that extra oomph.
I love a pie and I've eaten lots of them,
so I know how they should feel,
how they should taste, how thick your pastry should be.
Because Sweta hasn't eaten them, I'm quite concerned,
because eating something is the reference point.
That's when you understand flavours and textures.
You've had 20 minutes.
George is a young man
full of adventure who wants to cook classically with real style.
He doesn't always get it absolutely perfect, but he's got true ambition.
So, I'm doing a chicken, butternut squash
and spinach curry in a hot water crust pie.
It's like you would get in a pork pie.
Why a curried pie?
Two of my favourite comfort foods -
pork pie, curry, put them together.
What are you serving your curry pie with?
A mango salsa.
-Your dad taught you to cook, didn't he?
-He did, yeah.
-Have you told your dad you're doing a curry pie?
Yeah, he loves it.
Curry pie, you're a brave lad, George!
What a bloke, that's brilliant!
A curry pie with mango salsa.
Hey, if George can get this right, fantastic!
I hope they enjoy it, they don't think it's a complete mismatch
or a stupid idea in the first place, really,
because there are so many other things
that I could have chosen to put in a pie.
Ladies and gentlemen, just under one hour left.
That's good, I'm on time.
Anthony has cooked us food from the Middle East and the north east.
Where's he going to be coming from today?
His presentation has left a lot to desired.
He's got to make it sparkle.
Oh! I think the reason why I'm still here is because I've done dishes
which they haven't heard of before, something a bit different.
I'm using a recipe which is very regional.
It's just a slight few changes which just makes it even better,
so I hope they like that.
I'm making a Kentucky Derby pie, it's a variation on pecan pie.
It's got walnuts in, chocolate chips,
and like a really strong whiskey caramel,
and a Creole cream cheese ice cream.
I haven't got proper Creole cream cheese,
which is like really heavy on buttermilk, it's really sour,
so I've just made an ice cream with a bit of lemon juice in,
and then hopefully that'll give it the little kick it needs.
-Where did you learn about this?
-I got this on a blog, actually.
This was made in a hotel which was used to commemorate
-the Kentucky Derby race.
-Love the sound of this, get amongst it.
The one other thing about Kentucky is, they make bourbon,
and that means we have got a bourbon, chocolate and walnut pie.
Yeah, it could be really good!
Pastry made of cinnamon, brown sugar on top of it.
If there's too much sugar,
that pastry will stick to the base of the pie tin and it won't be able
to come out.
Chloe has made us a fondant, she's done scallops,
and she's done duck, and she's done them very, very well indeed.
Whatever pie she chooses,
I just want it to look as smart as her previous dishes.
The brief is interesting, because I'm not used to making pies.
It's just not something I would make.
I love eating them, but I'd always go to the pub
because they're a pain to cook!
What pie are you making?
I'm doing partridge, Stilton, and beetroot.
Whoa, whoa, is your pie completely pastry or just the lid?
No, it's completely pastry because in our village, in our pub,
they would say it's not a pie if it was just a top,
so it's got to be all the way around, fully encased.
How many did you have in the course of the week?
Well, it's pie night on a Tuesday, so every Tuesday.
-So you're pie-eyed every Tuesday?
-Yeah, pie and a pint.
Chloe's made a crust for her pie by blind-baking a base.
I think it's a real daring one.
Beetroot and blue vein cheese, I love together, that's fantastic.
With a partridge in a pie?
I'm not quite sure.
You've had an hour, which means you've got half an hour to go
and Jay Rayner is here.
-Gregg's just called 30 minutes.
-How long is your pie going to take to cook?
-You have five minutes to get it in?
-Yes. It's going to be in.
-I'm doing it.
I absolutely love Kate's Iranian flavours.
They're new to me and I just want to see her keep it up.
So I've decided to cook a sweet pie.
So far, I've only cooked savoury dishes.
It's a bit different, but also indulgent and delicious.
Hopefully, Gregg will really enjoy eating it.
I'm making a variation on a cake
that I make called love cake,
and I've turned it into a pie
filled with yogurt, lime, rose,
ground almond baked filling,
and I'm topping that with honeyed figs,
and I'm serving that
with a pomegranate butter sauce,
Chantilly cream and pistachio praline.
Any concerns over this?
Mainly that you won't like it.
Rose is one of the main flavours,
and I think you've got to be really careful.
It's a balance of flavour, really.
Kate is making us a pie filled with a baked yoghurt filling.
The texture inside that pie should be that of a baked cheesecake.
I am fascinated by it.
I just hope that yoghurt mixture doesn't split,
because if it does split,
all the water will come out and we're going to have a soggy,
soupy, yoghurt, lime,
rosewater filling inside a pie case.
Never a good thing.
Listen. MasterChef quarterfinal and you have ten minutes left.
Your ham for your chicken and ham pie seems to...
-So you left the ham out?
Yes. The ham is out.
Soggy bottom, soggy bottom?
Oh, my God, it's perfect.
Guys, don't run out of time.
Keep your eyes on your pies.
That's it, guys, time is up!
Pie time. Well done.
-Mine fell out of the thing! It all broke.
the pastry actually looks really nice, to be honest.
Yeah, but it literally just went...
Time, I think, to introduce you
to the gentleman that set this task in the first place,
the incredibly knowledgeable Jay Rayner.
Mate, listen, we've got a fair few pies to taste.
That's all right, I'm up to the task.
Mary? Please, up you come.
Coventry-based Mary has made a steak and kidney pie
with a suet pastry crust, served with mashed potato and beef gravy.
The bottom is not cooked, you can see that.
I know, yeah.
When I set this challenge, this was what I was hoping for.
The filling is bang on. That's a beautiful, beautiful, rich gravy,
full of meat. And your pastry is terrific,
it's just a little undercooked.
But no, that's a lovely, lovely pie.
I love it.
The detail in here is just fabulous.
The extra pepper in the sauce, the extra butter in your mashed potato,
I think it's great.
The meat is cooked beautifully well, it's very, very tender.
Kidneys are full of flavour.
That is a top class sight, that is.
Oh, my God,
I actually can't believe how I'm feeling right now!
I'm so thrilled they liked it.
PhD student, Sweta,
has cooked a chicken and leek pie
in a cheese and mustard sauce with shortcrust pastry,
served with potato puree, asparagus, heritage carrots
and cauliflower in sage butter, topped with bacon,
a garnish of micro herbs and a chicken sauce.
The pastry, I think, is terrific - it's light and it's crisp.
The filling is rich and ripe.
There's a strong cheese flavour there.
There is a mustardy kick to it.
And I'm just sorry I had to share it with them.
What you've been able to do here is give us leeks with cheese
and mustard sauce, which are absolutely delicious,
with bits of chicken with it, and then this lovely, short,
really beautiful, buttery, soft pastry around the outside.
For somebody who's never eaten a pie
and only ever cooked one for this brief, I think it's a good pie.
The pastry is buttery and soft inside,
and the flavour coming out of that is serious tang!
That is really good.
Oh, my God.
-You were so nervous, honestly.
-Oh, my God.
I'm really, really, like, delighted that Jay Rayner, who I look up to,
I mean, unbelievable comments from him.
And John and Gregg.
I'm so pleased that I didn't disappoint them, really happy.
Marketing account manager
Chloe has made a partridge, Stilton and beetroot pie
in a shortcrust pastry,
served with a bacon crisp, mashed potato, onions
and baby carrots.
I really like the combination of partridge, blue cheese
and beetroot where it's slightly sweet,
it's earthy and of course that blue cheese,
that's given it the seasoning.
Your partridge is really well cooked.
I do so wish it was sitting in a pie that would hold together.
What we've got here is almost an apple crumble top
without any sugar in it. I mean, it literally falls apart.
The flavours inside are a rich Stilton and a sweet beetroot,
and I find the sweetness of the beetroot too much.
I like the way in which the partridge has been cooked,
but the actual result of the pie, it's falling apart and collapsing.
I'll be honest, I didn't know it was possible to stick butter together
with so little flour.
I think the real problem here is just too many big,
bullying flavours together in one place.
It just went terribly, I don't know.
Just...just didn't work. The pastry didn't work.
So, yeah, really gutted.
IT recruiter George has created
a chicken, butternut squash and spinach curry pie
made with a hot water crust pastry,
served with a mango salsa.
The technical side of that pastry is really very impressive.
A pastry like that is very hard to get right,
and particularly in the time given.
Unfortunately, to me, it feels like
two ideas happening at the same place. You've made a great curry,
you've made a brilliant pie case,
and the two have been introduced to each other and they're not sure
what they make of each other.
A curried pie is something you can get at football matches
or rugby matches, but it's not in the pastry of a pork pie.
So when you first taste this, it feels odd.
After a couple of mouthfuls, I found I quite enjoyed it.
I can't, however many ways I go at this,
get used to a pork pie pastry and mango.
Technically, I think it's great.
The pastry, I love the fact it's all still crumbly and crisp.
I like your filling in your pie,
I don't like the mango on the outside.
Feeling...unsure at the moment.
I took a bit of a risk. Some of it paid off, but I'm not sure.
-I don't know.
-Come on, it's over at least.
Kate has made a sweet pastry pie,
topped with honeyed figs and almonds,
with a lime, rosewater, yoghurt, and ground almond filling...
Served with Chantilly cream,
a pistachio praline crumb and a pomegranate molasses sauce.
On the one hand, there's something slightly inelegant about this -
there's a whole lot of stuff going on.
But on the other, it's completely compelling.
It's deep and it's rich.
You've got that soft filling almost like a frangipane.
There's a tartness to the pomegranate molasses.
This isn't an oversweetened dessert,
which is very hard to get right, but you really have.
Your pastry is lovely and crispy.
I'd like those figs to be releasing a bit more juice
because I love the flavour of honey that comes from figs,
but that bitterness from your nut praline is staying in my mouth,
and I don't like that bitterness.
I haven't tasted anything like this or had anything like this texture.
It's like a yoghurt frangipane, and it just feels mushy.
I'm...not convinced by this at all.
I was so excited when I heard it was Jay Rayner
because I'm a big fan of his, so,
you know, I'm thrilled that he liked it.
Just disappointed Gregg didn't like it as much.
Finally, ambulance dispatcher Anthony
has made a Kentucky Derby pie -
a shortcrust pastry case filled with walnuts, chocolate
and a whisky caramel,
served with a cream cheese Creole ice cream.
There are going to be people who are going to look at this and go,
"That's not a pie, that's a tart," but if it's playing
on the American tradition of the pecan pie, it's a pie.
So technically, that's a class piece of work. It's a really good,
crisp, crunchy pastry,
and there is a sort of lusciousness to the filling,
but I would say it's an acquired taste
because there's quite a hit off that booze,
and then you get this really heavy chocolate push.
It's very, very rich.
Very, very powerful.
It's a full-on number which I think some might find a bit overwhelming.
Every time you eat this, or a mouthful of this,
your mouth is left completely dry
because your pastry, as good as it is, is very, very short.
You've got chocolate and walnuts,
and the walnuts really suck the moisture out of your mouth.
Your ice cream isn't enough to freshen my palate
after I've had it. I'm finding the whole thing far too rich.
I think it's a wonderful, wonderful piece of work.
You've managed to get cocoa chocolate in there,
the heat of booze, warm,
you get that oil from those nuts,
and it's actually quite dry and not too sweet at all.
And then your ice cream itself is not too sweet,
it's almost got a sour finish.
I wasn't expecting it, it took me by surprise, and I absolutely love it.
Oh, my God, I have no idea what to make of that.
I don't know whether to, like, celebrate or to be gutted.
I don't know.
What we're going to do now is ask you to step outside,
because we've got a lot of talking to do. Thank you very much indeed.
I'm really happy that you came in,
and I was doubly happy that you chose pies.
Thank you very much indeed.
A pleasure as always, chaps.
See you again.
What was your favourite pie?
My favourite pie of the day was Mary's.
Yeah. Mary did a steak and kidney.
Classic British pie, and it was good.
Thick, rich, gravy, juicy pieces of meat.
She nailed it!
We knew she could do flavour.
"Make it look smart, Mary." And Mary came in here and did it.
Sweta's pie was a triumph.
The chicken and the leeks,
but also that cream mustard cheese sauce, absolutely fantastic.
I cut into Sweta's pie,
it opened up all juicy, and I thought, "Ho, ho, ho..."
And it tasted really good.
We know which two are going through.
Then we've got a conversation about four other cooks.
George put a huge amount of work into that pie.
And raised pastry, as you would get on a pork pie,
as Jay said, is really difficult to get right.
That casing was fantastic.
George did good pastry,
and I liked George's chicken curry inside the pie.
However, pie and mango?
-I don't know.
-Chloe made a shortcrust pastry pie,
and her pastry was so short, it was like a crumble topping.
It was just a little bit of flour and butter
that didn't hold the case.
I felt sad for Chloe when her pie fell apart.
But I really liked the ingredients.
Blue cheese, not too much of it, that's giving the seasoning.
The partridge was very,
very well cooked, and a little bit of sweet beetroot.
Well, perfect for me.
Kate's dessert really divided us as judges.
She had a baked set yoghurt with lime inside a shortcrust pastry.
Then we had a pistachio brittle, which was very, very bitter.
That was the lasting memory on my palate.
I think that she takes a lot of risk and I don't know if it paid off.
Oh, I didn't really like Kate's dessert, honestly.
I didn't like the look of it, I didn't like the texture of it.
The flavours were OK.
However, Jay liked it.
Jay did like it.
Anthony gave us an American style Kentucky Derby pie.
However, the whole thing was really dry.
Listen, I loved Anthony's pie.
I loved that it had grown-up flavours of booze and nuts
and some chocolate.
But I have to put my hands up and say...I was on my own here -
you didn't particularly like it and neither did Jay.
I probably should have stuck with a British pie, to be honest.
But I don't know,
I like cooking to be a bit of a globetrot, so, I don't know,
I probably pushed it a bit too far this time, I think.
I think it's just...it's gutting cos I can do it so much better,
so it's rubbish when something doesn't go to plan.
I think I just made some wrong decisions
in terms of the filling and maybe the type of pastry I used.
I really didn't want to play it safe. That may have backfired.
Obviously, I would be absolutely gutted to go home,
but this dish was what I wanted it to be.
And I don't feel I let myself down.
If it didn't work for them,
it didn't work for them, and I suppose that's that.
This has been one of the hardest decisions we've had to make.
We've decided to take four of you through to Knockout Week.
you two are going through to Knockout Week.
The third person going through to Knockout Week...
The fourth and final person going through to Knockout Week...
Kate, Chloe, thank you very much, ladies.
Yeah, I'll look back on it really fondly,
just at the moment, obviously, everything's just...
I am gutted, but it's been so extraordinary and unique,
and I'm very lucky to have done it.
-Well done, guys. I'm so pleased.
I'm still in shock.
I'm a little concerned, my heart is racing at the moment.
Made it through, can't believe it.
I can't believe... I don't know how I got to this point,
but I think this is only the start of it.
I'm really, really happy and really proud of myself
that I pulled it off.
I just feel amazing. I feel so happy and so privileged to be here.
Next week, seven new cooks battle it out for a place in the quarterfinal.
-You've got a towel on your head.
-I have, I'm very hot.
It's really not good.
-I mean, that's lovely.
-I'd eat it,
pretty much all of it with a nice drop of red.
It is the quarter-final, and the six contestants face the Critic's Test. This episode's brief has been set by Jay Rayner. His challenge for the amateur cooks is to make an exceptional pie - it can be any pie they like, sweet or savoury, but they must make their own pastry.
After cooking their dish based on this brief, the contestants stand before Jay and judges John and Gregg to hear what they think of their dish and whether they've managed to rise to the challenge and fulfil the expectations. At the end of this quarter-final the best cooks go through to Knockout Week.