Last night sweet week on Masterchef came to a close with an elimination that took everyone by surprise.
Hoda, Ben, Khanh, Chloe, Brendan and Samira were in awe as they were greeted by the judges standing alongside a giant, edible chocolate wheel, the creation of the queen of chocolate, Kirsten Tibballs.
Each contestant had a turn spinning the wheel, and whatever ingredient they landed on they had to hero in a sweet dish. Ben landed on coconut, Chloe had almond, Samira had banana while Khanh, Brendan and Hoda all landed on cinnamon – forced to hero the challenging and at times spicy ingredient in a dessert.
Hoda decided to make cinnamon meringue cake pops, starting with a cinnamon sponge, which she planned to blitz when cooked into a paste to form balls. Kirsten and George were concerned she was taking the air out of the dessert, but having made these before for her kids, she stuck with her plan, hoping for a dense fudge texture.
Keen to use cinnamon where she could, she added it in her cake, chocolate and meringue but was thrown when Gary warned her not to overuse it. She was not sure how to balance the intense flavour, so decided to make an orange zest sugar to provide relief from the cinnamon.
In the final minutes Hoda dipped her cake pops into the chocolate before sprinkling orange zest sugar and piping meringue atop each one before torching them. Ben had opted to make a lamington to hero coconut, but his jam overset and he was worried as he headed into the tasting. His concerns were founded when the judges tasted and were less than impressed. Also failing to land was Hoda, her dish was heavy and Matt said there was no freshness of orange and the cinnamon was overpowering.
At the other end they found Brendan’s roti with cinnamon ice cream and apple perfect, and marveled at Khanh’s sticky date. Samira ticked boxes for her banana pudding, while Chloe’s chocolate cake showed great flavours.
With a thick and stodgy cake mixture hot with cinnamon, Hoda became the next contestant to be eliminated from MasterChef Australia, narrowly missing out on the Top 10.
Hoda has since travelled to Lebanon to inspire her pop up dessert bar Halawa – Sweet Treats of the Middle East. Profits will go towards a mobile cooking school for disadvantaged communities.