Last year, right in the beginning of the finals week, the producers of the show set an amazing contest for the contestants of the Masterchef Australia: they asked them to cook any dish they wanted and to dedicate it to their beloved ones. The stakes were high: the winner was allowed to spend a whole day with the family – that was a kind of a boost that anyone in the show needed before stepping into the most important stage of the competition!
The challenge was one by Alana who missed her husband a lot during the project. She decided to cook one of his favourite dishes – crepes with lemon curd – but to make it, as she put it, “masterchefy”, or more of a restaurant style. Basically she complicated the dish by cutting rounds out of the crepes and layering them with the lemon curd and raspberry jelly. Alana covered the prepared stacks with Italian meringue and browned them afterwards – just like the Alaska dessert is usually made.
There is no recipe of the dish on the official Masterchef website but, to say true, in this case one doesn’t need any. It is just the general idea of the dessert that should be taken. I made my crepe stack with strawberry jelly and orange curd and – of course – I also dedicated the dish to my beloved husband! Needless to say, he appreciated it a lot. He has even excused me for smashing his Alaska – I just had to do it in order to take a picture of all the layers inside!
250 gm strawberry puree, sieved
40 gm castor sugar
4 gelatine leaves
1 orange, zested and juiced
2 egg yolks
65 gm butter, cut into cubes
40 gm castor sugar
80 gm plain flour
1 tbsp sugar
a pinch of salt
160 ml milk
2 tbsp canola oil
100 ml heave cream
1 tbsp Cointreau
3 egg whites
3 tbsp caster sugar
a pinch of salt
12 fresh strawberries, hulled
- For strawberry jelly, line a 23x15 cm tin with a foil. Soak the gelatine in small amount of cold water. Put the strawberry puree in a saucepan with sugar and stir over medium heat until the sugar has dissolved. Bring to the boil, remove from heat and stir in the gelatine and any soaking liquid. Pour in the prepared container and put in the refrigerator until set.
- For orange curd, combine egg yolks with sugar, orange juice and zest in a bowl. Place the bowl over a pan of simmering water and cook, stirring, till the mixture thickens. Remove from heat, and then stir in the butter. Let it cool, then cover and refrigerate till you need it.
- For crepes, mix together the sieved flour with sugar and salt. Make a well in the centre and add a slightly beaten egg into it. Whisk starting in the centre and drawing in the flour. Add the milk, a little at a time, whisking until the batter is the consistency of thick cream. Add 1 tbsp of oil to the batter, cover it with a cling film and leave at room temperature to rest for one hour.
- Grease a medium pan with some of the remaining oil and put it over high heat. Ladle in crepe mixture, turning the pan to coat the base completely. Cook for 1 – 2 minutes until golden and lacy. Turn over and cook for 10 – 15 seconds on the other side. Remove to a plate. Repeat using the remaining batter to make other crepes.
- For whipped cream, whip the cream till soft peaks, add the liquor and whip till firm peaks are formed.
- To make the stacks, use a 7,5 cm cutter to cut rounds out of the prepared crepes. Use the same cutters to cut 6 rounds of strawberry jelly. Place a 7,5 cm mould in the centre of the serving plate. Line the bottom with a round of crepe and spread some orange curd. Cover with another crepe round and place the strawberry round on top. Top with another round of crepe, followed by 1/3 of the whipped cream, then repeat the layers in reverse order. Carefully remove the mould. Make the stacks on two more plates in the same way.
- For meringue, whip the egg whites with a pinch of salt on medium speed till soft peaks. Add sugar, 1 teaspoon at a time, increase the speed and beat till the meringue is firm and glossy.
- To serve, cover the stacks with the meringue, and then brown them using a blow torch. Decorate the plate with fresh strawberries.