Kristen Sheffield has bowed out of MasterChef Australia after battling an epic pressure test to recreate Quay restaurant’s famous snow egg.
With just seven contestants now remaining in the competition, the Adelaide urban planner left following a momentous rise in the competition including a victory which took her to London to have afternoon tea with Nigella Lawson.
Kristen found herself in the elimination following a week of challenges which left only Chloe standing last night with the Ten Year Super Power. Battling the six remaining contestants in blacks, Kristen and the group were stunned with the arrival of Peter Gilmore from Quay. Tasked with making his famous dish, Peter told the group the dish had sold close to 500,000 in its time at the restaurant, and had previously been seen on the season two grand finale of MasterChef Australia.
Contestants had to make the original flavour – strawberry guava and custard apple, finding that inside the poached merengue snow egg sat custard apple ice cream, wrapped in a torched tuile.
With two-and-a-half hours to plate three dishes, the group started off stressed and in a hurry. Jess started on her granita, combining sliced guava and strawberries, water, sugar and vanilla bean into a saucepan, heating it until it reduced. Ben started working on his custard apple ice cream, making an anglaise of milk, egg yolks and caster sugar, whisking to ensure there were no lumps before heating it to temperature before it was cooled down. He removed the seeds from the custard apple before mixing it into the ice cream mixture and popping it in the churner.
There was less than 90 minutes to go and her ice cream was in the churner when Kristen realised she misread the recipe and had not added enough egg yolks, only adding two instead of six. It was a huge issue and would not allow the ice cream to set. She started over again, but knew it would put her well behind the pack.
With 50 minutes to go she began whipping egg whites for the meringue, piping it into her moulds and proud to see she had made up time in the kitchen. But half an hour later she whisked her custard cream and was worried as it began splitting. With no more double cream she could only use pure cream to see if she could rectify it.
When it was time to taste the contestants delicately plated their dishes one by one with 10 minutes allotted. When it was Kristen’s turn she blowtorched her tuile over her snow eggs, but could see they were cracking on top of the meringue. She had no choice but to continue to move quickly, and in the final seconds she popped each egg into the bowl.
When they tasted, Peter said that while the meringue was really good and a nice consistency, the custard cream was grainy and the granita overly sweet. He said the ratios of the granita were wrong, and the balance lost in the dish.
When it came time for the judges to deliver their verdict, as always it came down to the balance of flavours. As the contestant who most missed the mark, Kristen was sent home from the MasterChef Australia kitchen.
Since leaving the MasterChef Australia kitchen, Kristen has travelled to London, enjoying high tea with Nigella. She has launched her sweets business, The Flourist with a pop up planned later this year.