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MasterChef: Classic with a Twist

Classic sweet treats are given a makeover in these recipes suggested by 2 former Masterchef winners

Raspberry Lemon Italian Meringue Pie

With a layer of raspberry jam beneath the lemon curd and neatly piped mounds of Italian meringue on top this is a restuarant- standard take on a classic dessert? (Simon Wood)

Serves: 12

Prep: 25 minutes, plus chilling

Cooking: 1 hour, plus cooling

Ingredients:

For the filling:

45g butter, cut into cubes, plus extra for greasing

1tbsp freeze-dried raspberries, plus extra to decorate

5 egg yolks, at room temperature

3 tbsp plain flour, plus extra for dusting

3 tbsp cornflour

450g caster sugar

Juice of 3 lemons

1 tbsp finely grated lemon zest

150g smooth raspberry jam

4 egg whites, at room temperature

Micro lemon verbena, to decorate (optional)

For the sweet shortcrust pastry:

100g unsalted butter, chilled and cut into cubes

150g plain flour, plus extra for dusting

50g caster sugar

1 egg yolk

Half tsp vanilla extract

Method:

1) Preheat oven to 200C/Gas 6. Lightly grease a 23cm (9in) loose-bottomed tart tin. Prepare the pastry (see below), roll it out onto a floured surface and use it to line the tin. Gently press the freeze-dried raspberries into the pastry. Place on a baking tray and blind bake for 10-15 minutes, or until pale golden, then remove from the oven to cool. Reduce the oven temperature to 180C/Gas 4.

2) Lightly beat the six egg yolks in a bowl.

3)Combine the flour, cornflour and 225g of sugar in a saucepan. Slowly add 360ml of water and heat gently, stirring until the sugar dissolves.

4) Increase the heat slightly and stir for three to five minutes, or until it starts to thicken. Beat several spoonfuls of the hot mixture into the egg yolks.

5)Pour this back into the pan and slowly bring to the boil, stirring. Boil for three minutes, then stir in the lemon juice, zest and butter. Boil for another two minutes or until thick and glossy, stirring constantly. Remove from the heat, cover and keep warm.

6) Place the pastry case on a baking tray. Spread an even layer of jam over the base, then pour in the lemon filing. Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until lightly golden. Transfer the tart to a wire rack to cool completely before removing it from the tin. 

7) Prepare a sugar syrup using the remaining sugar and 90ml water (see below). Use this syrup and the four egg whites to make Italian meringue (see below). 

To serve: Spread an even layer of meringue on each plate, then brown with a blowtorch. Spoon the remaining meringue into a piping bag fitted with a wide round nozzle. Place a slice of tart on top of the meringue, then pipe neat mounds of meringue onto the slice, Brown the piped meringue with a blowtorch. Garnish with freeze-dried raspberries and micron lemon verbena, if using.

Sugar Syrup: Heat your measured amount of sugar and water in a heavy based pan over a low heat, without stirring, until dissolved. Use a wet pastry brush to wipe the pan edge to stop grains of sugar sticking. When the sugar has dissolved, slowly heat the syrup until it reaches boiling point. Boil for two minutes to make a basic syrup.
Italian Meringue: Dissolve the caster sugar in water over a low heat and add your hot sugar syrip. Whisk the egg whites until they form soft peaks. Pour the hot sugar syrup into the egg whites, whisking continuously. Continue to whisk until the meringue is cold, very stiff and has a smooth and satiny consistency. Transfer into a piping or pastry bag fitted with a metal tip.
Sweet Shortcrust Pastry: Sift the plain flour onto a work surface. Make a will in the centre and add the butter, sugar and egg yolks. Using your fingertips, work the flour into the butter and egg mixture. When rough crumbs have formed, gather the dough into a ball and knead lightly until it is pliable. Wrap in cling film and chill for 30 minutes before using.

 

 Pear, Passionfruit and Raspberry Pavlova

This double-layered pavlova combines pached pears, macerated raspberries, two types of cream, and toasted pistachios to make an unashamedly decadent dessert.

Serves: 12

Prep: 1 hour

Cooking: 1 hour 30 minutes, plus cooling 

Ingredients:

6 egg whites, at room temperature

Pinch of salt

350g caster sugar

2 tsp cornflour

2 tsp white vinegar

200g shelled pistachios

For the pears:

500g passionfruit puree

3 tbsp pear liqueur 

100g granulated sugar

6 pears, peeled but retaining stalks

Pulp of 6 passionfruits:

For the raspberries

500g raspberries

4tbsp icing sugar

90-120ml balsamic vinegar

For the mascarpone cream:

250g mascarpone

200g natural fromage frais

1 tsp vanilla extract

1-2 tbsp caster sugar

Milk, to loosen

For the white chocolate cream:

100g white chocolate, broken into small pieces

530ml double cream

Method:

1) Preheat the oven to 130C/Gas 1/2. Draw 2 20cm circles on greaseproof paper and place on baking trays. 

2) Make the meringue (see below) whisking in the cornflour and vinegar once the mixture is glossy and firm.

3) Spoon into the circles and bake for one and a half hours, then turn off the oven, leaving the meringues inside until cool

4) Combine the passionfruit puree, liqueur, sugar and 300ml water in a large pan. Add the pears and simmer over a medium heat for 30 minutes until soft and tender.

5) Remove the pears and stand them upright on a plate to cool, then refrigerate. 

6) Continue to simmer the poaching liquid until it reduces to a thick syrup. Let it cool. Discard half of the syrup. Stir the passionfruit through the remaining syrup. Set aside.

7) Combine the raspberries, icing sugar, and balsamic vinegar in a bowl, and leave to macerate for 30 to 40 minutes. 

8) In another bowl, whick together the mascarpone, fromage frais, vanilla and sugar in a bowl until smooth, adding a dash of milk to loosen if necessary. Cover and chill until needed.

9) Preheat the oven to 180C/Gas 4. Heat the chocolate and 60ml cream in a pan, stirring occassionally, until melted and combined. Leave to cool.

10) Beat the remaining cream to soft peaks in a bowl, then gently fold in the cooled chocolate mixture and refrigerate.

11) Bake the pistachios on a tray for 6 to 8 minutes.  Rub in a clean tea towel to remove the skins. Leave to cool, then chop. 

12) Spread the mascarpone cream over one meringue, followed by the raspberries and hald of the pistachios. Top with a second meringue and cover with the white chocolate cream. Stand the pears on top, drizzle with passionfruit syrup, sprinkle with the remaining pistachios, and serve.

Meringue: In a large bowl, whisk the egg whites and half the caster sugar at a moderate speed. Continue whisking until the mixture becomes smooth, shiny and firm. Draw the whisk out of the mixture to check that soft peaks form. Using a rubber spatual, gently fold in the rest of the sugar. Bake according to the recipe. 


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Masterchef The Classics with a Twist (£25, www.DK.com)

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