Celebrity MasterChef 2021, Episode 16: Molten Greige

Peter Andre has a name!

It’s finals week and before we whittle down the numbers further they have to tackle pies and are forcibly made to make desserts!

Pie’s the Limit

To kick off Finals Weeks, we’re celebrating the only good British tradition: The Pie! It is of course another professional chef PR stunt as we journey to The Holborn Dining Rooms to get a masterclass in Pies As Art from Calum Franklin a man that somehow simultaneously looks like Richard E. Grant, Gary Bussey, Tim Curry and Mrs. Tweedy’s less murderous but equally pie obsessed brother

and we can firmly put him in the small pantheon of The Only Professional Chefs Who Are Nice People as he managed to be incredibly encouraging and not shout in anyone’s face – bonus points for not calling Megan or Kadeena “love” for the entirety of the segment.
It was a pity that they introduced Calum as being all about creating extremely unique pies – such as but not limited to The Skull Pie

I would quite like to know quite what about those flavours inspired him to make a pastry death mask.
But then all of the celebrities were tasked with making quite classical pies – the wildest we got was replacing beef with beetroot purely for a pun. As for who these pies were being made for, we are informed they were “a group of pie experts” and I will be taking it as a personal slight against myself for having not been invited after tirelessly campaigning against Stews With Lids trying to gain pie status.

Kadeena was kicking off the proceedings with a take on Salmon en Croute, the gimmick being that it had to look like a fish, as Calum’s little doodle that definitely isn’t a knightly penguin illustrates

the filling of the pie is of course two salmon fillets, the gourmet aspect being that they are wrapped in a salmon mousse as well as gently, individually steamed spinach leaves because high end chefs are slightly unhinged. It does however seem to be the only way to end up with an excess of spinach given that while rolling her salmon fillets in their mousse and spinach layer, she had a, what she described as, “bit of a hole” but was more a gaping maw

but managed to repair it with some of the miraculously excess spinach – have we all been cooking spinach wrong this entire time? Are we the fools?
The biggest worry for Kadeena was the decoration of the fish, given that it required precision and neatness and her MS has made her hands slightly unsteady (John Torode, maybe stop yelling “YOUR HANDS ARE SHAKING!” at her, yeah?) but Kadeena being Thee Kadeena Cox, pulled it all off to a fantastic result

It’s at least definitely a fish, a very possibly pregnant fish, but a fish nonetheless.
And then there is of course the all important cut, and the fear it would reveal that she hadn’t de-moistened her spinach enough which would have caused the mousse to split

it’s literally perfect – absolutely no faults and everyone gives nothing but the highest praise for a pie (is a salmon en croute *really* a pie? It’s basically a pescatarian sausage roll.) made by Calum himself.

Following Kadeena was Joe who was having to recreate Calum’s take on the classic Cheese and Onion Pie, except because this is a ~fancy pie~ it is of course filled with Dolphin Noise Potatoes Dauphinoise Potatoes, a gratuitous amount of mature cheddar and a layer of caramelised onions that Calum specified required needed delicate and prolonged cooking, something Joe was doing everything not to do

Calum also stressed the fact that he wanted Joe to work as cleanly as possible but in true Joe Swash fashion he looked like a bomb had gone off in a bakery within mere minutes

it isn’t very surprising given the frenetic energy of his pie making saga, which involved a significant amount of running through the kitchen shouting “where’s my pastry?” like he was Jack Torrance in the Overlook Hotel

you’d think it might be quite hard to lose your pastry in a pie making challenge that is 70% about the pastry.
One of the biggest components of most of the pies was the visibility of the internal layers and while making his Joe did refer to it as “being like making a trifle” which seemed to deal Calum a significant amount of psychic damage

as it turns out, Joe Swash did just have trifles on the brain this episode.
Despite the chaotic free-for-all that is anything Joe Swash does, he did manage to pull off a great pie, complete with a perfect execution of the lattice decoration

which is a little bit of a miracle given that Joe seemed determined to yeet this pie off any surface he possibly could given any opportunity

I’m mostly just relieved that by the time he had served it his pie had stopped gentling foaming

anyone for a slice of Rabid Pie?
And then it came time to reveal Joe’s trifle-esque layers

I have to say, nothing quite ruins the mood of opulence like a slowly dripping and ever so slightly congealed blob of cheddar cheese but I feel like that’s just the Joe Swash flair.
As with most pies, it looks great to begin with and then once you start slicing and serving it it gets a little less grand, Joe’s going from charming bowler hat to looking like the terrifying landscape from that episode of Pingu where he runs away and traumatised me as a child

this episode awoke things within me that I have long supressed.
The pie does go down very well with everyone and he had managed to cook everything well enough, John Torode obviously takes the time to stress how good the massive lump of cheese in the middle was.

Megan was meant to follow Joe but there was a bit of a palaver about the fact she had completely frozen her whopping great big patty of black pudding

fry that up and call it breakfast, please.
This meant that by the time it came for her to serve it up the internal temperature of the pie was reading 35 degrees when it needed to be 63 degrees – a moment that was treated with the most overly dramatic slow motion shot of Megan’s horrified realisation that she was on the brink of giving someone Trichinosis

whoever got that tight close-up on her eyes deserves an instantaneous promotion to The Fellowship of Cinematographers, or a BAFTA at the very least.
I’m not sure Megan was ever going to get on particularly well with this challenge given that when it was announced she said “I love a pie” while her face was firmly set to “poorly hidden disgust”

that’s the face a woman with a pie-based vendetta.

Because Calum wasn’t about to have his good name sullied on national television, he let Kem take Megan’s spot while she desperately hoped an oven could cook her pie in the time it takes Gregg Wallace to inhale a slice of chicken pie.
Kem of course once again found himself confounded by poultry, this time having to butcher a chicken, which he for unknown reasons decided to do by just contorting its body like it was a Stretch Armstrong doll

we’re all very thankful that there is no such thing as a lobster pie. Nobody is allowed to make me aware of any existing Lobster Pies.
Kem’s chicken pie was being cooked in a corset mould which meant he had to take great care in perfectly pressing the pastry into the mould to achieve the ribbed sides

and Kem’s slightly premature pie managed to come out of its mould incredibly cleanly,

in fact the biggest threat to its stability was Kem himself who was determined to give Calum a heart attack by the day’s end

I am more than a little bit in love with the very nervous pie man.
The pièce de résistance of Kem’s pie though was the reveal, which Calum described as “looking like lava flowing from rocks” which sure, lets go with that more romantic vision of what it actually looks like

molten greige isn’t ever going to be the most appetising colour in the world but if nothing else, this pie is British to its core.

Megan’s delayed pie was Calum’s take on a Pork Pie which mostly differed from a regularly Pork Pie by being absolutely massive and being laden with apricots and a stratum of black pudding running through its centre. Due to the fact Megan is gluten intolerant, she was using gluten-free pastry which the show seemed to suggest Calum doesn’t ordinarily have on his menu so I suppose that means there’s no fancy pies for the coeliacs. As we discussed when Megan made her gluten-free beef wellington, there does come a trickiness with gluten-free pastry in that it has a tendency to very crumbly, although I’m not sure Megan’s pastry was ever going to misbehave considering how she treated it

that wasn’t the end of her pastry abuse as her first attempt at a crimp along the top of it was a bit of a grizzly affair

and the final result wasn’t a great deal neater

but hey, it gave the whole thing a bit of a medieval vibe and I’m sure Henry VIII would have loved nothing better than to be served a great big leathal looking pork pie for dinner

and yes, it was all cooked perfectly right the way through so don’t worry, Supreme Pie Champion of 2020, Phil Turner’s life isn’t in danger.
It of course goes down very well with everyone, they’re hardly going to slag off Calum’s recipe but Megan does deserve a lot of praise just for how thin her pastry was

it’s a testament to her intimidating skills with a rolling pin.

Seeing the pie tasting session out was Dion who sadly wasn’t making a dessert pie and was instead making the aforementioned vegan version of Beef Wellington, The Beet Wellington, which is exactly as it sounds: beetroots in pastry. And if any of the dishes relied almost totally on their appearance it was this one because as pretty as it is when you slice into it, it does look decidedly moistureless

that is a sad, dry pie. The savoy cabbage and the spiced butternut squash (the grenad- SHUT UP GAVIN ESLER) are trying their best to add some sort of moisture to it but it’s in vain because those are just two great big lump of beetroot sandwiched in there.
As for Dion’s presentation, he was given free reign to top the pie with whatever he wanted, finally decided on an elongated football pitch because of course he did

and he was VERY proud of it, carrying it to the pass with a swagger in his step only for Megan to rain a deluge upon his football dreams like she was the entire Italian football team

is this the birth of a last minute finale rivalry? THREE COURSE DEATHMATCH, HERE WE GO!
The Beet Wellington doesn’t get quite as rapturous a reception as everyone else, I don’t quite know why you’d choose to end a menu on it but I suppose Calum just wanted to show that he does take care of some dietary requirements.

Like a Gregg in a Sweet Shop

To make their bid for a place in the top 4, and because it has become very obvious that everyone is avoiding making a dessert like they’re avoiding the [ARIADNE DON’T YOU DARE SAY THE P-WORD RIGHT NOW], the celebrities have been tasked with creating a dessert inspired by a memory of a trip to the sweetshop, which is the weirdest way you could possibly word “make a dessert that tastes like a sweetshop sweet but please everyone don’t choose rhubarb and custard boiled sweets, that’d be great xoxo Gemma From Production.”

Apparently not everyone listened to Gemma from Production though as Joe set forth making a rhubarb and custard trifle and it’s hard to say what was a bigger mess, an actual trifle or Joe after having to make his cake sponge mixture three times

the whole “I’m making a mess!” thing was cute at first but it does get to a point where it becomes glaringly obvious that it’s being done on purpose and I think we hit that threshold 2 weeks ago so at this point it’s just grating. That being said, it’s a wonder he didn’t create a bigger mess considering he was swinging a piping bag full of custard around like a bolas

I don’t think Megan’s BooHoo trackie set would have appreciated being splattered too much.
And given that at one point it seemed Joe had created The Thing from a sieve full of rhubarb

it’s a bit of a miracle that we got anything as halfway good looking as his final dessert turned out

that being said, his “free-standing trifle” deserved as much derision as they gave Bez’s “free-standing crumble” and yet because it’s Joe Swash they just marvel at the fact it tastes of rhubarb and custard while glossing over the fact his jelly is the texture of an anti-slip bath mat and his sponge is denser than hi-ARIADNE THAT IS A MEAN JOKE STOP IT.

Dion’s dessert wasn’t too far removed from what Joe was doing as he took inspiration from those Strawberries and Cream sweets that are always super disappointing but each to their own. And it’s quite something that despite the fact Dion was working with blood red food dye, he was still cleaner than Joe Swash

Dion’s dessert was a touch confused, it was kind of a halfway house between a Victoria Sponge and an Eton Mess as he sandwiched layers of crushed meringues, strawberries and cream between vanilla sponge

and John does point out that it’s more of a cake you’d see at an afternoon tea than a dessert because as we know CAKE IS NOT DESSERT and for it to be served as such is an affront. As for Gregg’s critique, he was a little too busy having a lot of fun spinning the plate

whoever left this shot in the edit – I love you.

While Joe and Dion understood the assignment, Megan kind of just thought “I like dark chocolate” and ran with that, which isn’t invalid, it just wasn’t the challenge. But with her theme of dark chocolate she was hoping to create a Dark Chocolate and Salted Caramel Fondant (gluten-free, obvs) with a vanilla ice cream before she told us the harrowing tale of how in her trial run only one fondant worked and her ice cream machine broke. Write the script and sell it to Blumhouse Productions!
Sadly for Megan, things didn’t go fantastically for her this time either as even before they cut into it you could see the fondant slowly sinking into its own raw interior

and then lo and behold, there was ooze but it was the wrong kind of ooze

“The outside tastes of cocoa!” John offered in a half-hearted attempt to prevent Megan from sinking into her own pit of emotional despair

meanwhile Gregg was enthused by her first attempt at ice cream and I imagine looked at the MasterChef branded ice cream machine like a proud father.

Kadeena was also going for a Chocolate and Caramel themed dessert, drawing inspiration from the caramel chocolate bars that her mother used to ration between her and her siblings. And there was A LOT going on in this dessert, this is Kadeena after all, it wouldn’t be a Kadeena Cox plate of food without at least 6 components. The main part of the dessert being a Chocolate and Caramel Delice which would sit alongside a caramel cremeaux, a chocolate soil, some Chantilly cream and an almond tuile – which John claims is the work of a master pastry chef as though they didn’t have a group of celebrities try to make brandy snaps several episodes ago. And I know they’re not the same things but they’re not too far removed from one another.
Despite Kadeena giving herself a veritable heptathlon to do in the kitchen she plated up a superb dessert

her delice is absolutely perfect with feather light mousse and an ideal balance between the chocolate and caramel. If anything, the caramel cremeaux was probably a little bit pointless but if you can do it, you might as well show them you can – showboating is allowed and encouraged in the MasterChef kitchens after all.

Lastly we have Kem who was creating his dessert around “those popular coconut chocolate bars” because apparently it’s too much to say “Bounty Bars” even once on The Beeb

although, are they that popular? The begrudging remains of the nation’s Celebration’s boxes beg to differ.
They are however the favourite of his Cypriot grandmother and so he was combining them with Baclava to create the sort of thing that could only ever be thought up within the fevered brain of a MasterChef finalist. He began by disembowelling the de-branded Bounty Bars to create what we are generously calling truffles which he was then coating in crushed wafers and deep-frying them

I am both disgusted and yet would like to place an on going order to have 10 of them delivered to my house every Friday at 7pm.
Alongside the coconut truffles of a mad man, he was making God knows what but it involved baclava filling, disks of pastry and a smear of chocolate that just about brought on an existential crisis in the poor man

In the end the whole thing looked a bit like someone had tried to make a pancake clown on TaskMaster but they were only allowed to use ingredients that began with the letters of their name

Alex Horne, you can have that idea for free!
And yes, I’ll add the googly eyes

I fear I have created a monster and must now seek penance for my crimes against you all.
The judges are thoroughly confused by the entire affair, most of it being aimed at the unfortunate truffle that was brought kicking and screaming into this world very much against its own will. But also because everything is far too sweet and needed something a bit more savoury to bring it down to earth. I just want to know if this is on the menu of Kem’s restaurant because if it is, I will make a pilgrimage down to it and try it. For science.

A Sweetshop Dessert Ranking

  1. Kadeena Doing The Most
  2. Dion’s Not-Really-a-Dessert-Cake
  3. Megan’s Over-Oozed Chocolate Fondant
  4. I Reject The Free-standing Trifle
  5. Kem’s Mutilation of a Bounty Bar

Ultimately it came down to a decision between sending either Megan or Kem home and I think everyone expected Megan to be sent packing after having such a misstep in both the pie round and the dessert round and yet apparently Kem’s Bounty-ful Baclava was the bigger culinary crime and our himbo prince was given the boot

I didn’t particularly want to lose either of them, I find both Megan and Kem to be thoroughly charming people who seemed genuinely invested in trying their best and learning with the process, so yeah, I will Kem a lot but I’m sure his family will be relieved that no more of their secret family recipes will be leaked to the general public.

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