MasterChef recap: Jock breaks a heart with his sneaky tart challenge

Jock Zonfrillo sets tarts racing on MasterChef Australia.
Jock Zonfrillo sets tarts racing on MasterChef Australia. Photo: Supplied

Tonight's pressure test sees last night's losing team fighting each other to avoid elimination. But wait…it's cruel to call them the 'losing team'. MasterChef isn't about that sort of negativity. Instead, let's just call them "the team that let themselves and everyone who loves them down". So, the members of that team gather to attempt to shake off the glum rainhat of failure and don the nifty fedora of relief.

Maja assumes the old 'squat in front of the oven and hope for the best' position.
Maja assumes the old 'squat in front of the oven and hope for the best' position.  Photo: Channel 10

Andy explains that today's pressure test is about getting out of your comfort zone. For example, for Eric and Sabina, that will mean actually being on camera. Melissa reveals that Jock has set today's pressure test, creating two dishes: an Australian curried yabby tart or a chocolate gingerbread salted caramel tart. The amateurs must choose which one they want to cook: the sweet or the savoury. They divide themselves according to which one they prefer.

Except! Remember that thing about getting out of your comfort zone? How dumb would you have to be to hear that and think you would get to cook what you wanted to? As dumb as these six, apparently, who are stunned when Jock switches the tarts around, meaning the amateurs who chose to make the sweet tart must make the savoury one, and vice versa. They gasp and gape and stare goggle-eyed as if Jock has just unzipped and shown them his elephant impression. "This is a game-changer," says Depinder, as if anyone asked her.

Conor and Therese are the only two who wanted to make a sweet tart, so they're the only ones who'll be making a savoury one. It's a tricky one because not only do they have to get the texture right, they have to catch their own yabby from the creek out back. Meanwhile Eric, Sabina, Kishwar and Maja must make a sweet tart despite their loathing of sugar, but at least caramel is relatively easy to catch.

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Conor begins strongly. "Add the yabbies and Blanche," he reads from the recipe: all Golden Girls fans know that you need to add Blanche if you're after a delicious tart. Therese is shocked at how fast Conor moves with his yabbies: she is still trying to break her yabbies down, which is proving difficult as they have higher self-esteem than expected.

Meanwhile, Sabina is being mansplained to by the guys on the balcony. "Whisk whisk whisk!" they call. She whisks. "Good!" they call. They're really making a difference. All Maja has is Aaron saying flatly, "You're doing really well", as if he's contractually obliged. It's difficult to say whether Sabina is better off having multiple cheerleaders urging her on, or Maja is better off not having a bunch of loudmouth tools yelling the bleeding obvious at her.

While cleaning her yabbies, Therese has removed the coral from the head. Elise assures us that this is a bad thing, and we as viewers are expected to simply take her word for it. They might as well have told us that Therese has failed to comprehensively scrumf her beadle's amplitude, and it would mean as much.

Meanwhile the sweet tart makers are tempering their chocolate, which as many seasons of MasterChef has taught us is a terrible idea and should never be tried. Yet it's part of Jock's recipe because Jock is a sadist, and so the tempering must be done even though nobody has ever satisfactorily explained what the point of it is.

The next step for Conor and Therese is to paint their pans with pastry. Why? Who knows? Their tart shells go in the oven and all is well until the next catastrophe.

Melissa makes everything better.

Melissa makes everything better. Photo: Channel 10

Sabine, who has already won hearts throughout the nation as the girl who stands in a field at the start of the show, is basking in the spotlight and cutting out gingerbread circles like she's done it all her life. Confidence is brimming far less in Maja, who looks in the oven to find she's burnt her crumb, a nasty injury in anyone's language. She has no more cake to make more crumb with. It comes down to a brutal choice: stale bread or dandruff.

Conor is worried about his tart shells. "They're a bit thick," he says, but look who's talking. Jock drops by his bench to mock his pain, then moves onto Therese. Looking into her oven, he asks, "Are you happy?" "Yes I'm happy!" Therese snaps, in the tone of a woman who has very nearly experienced as much Jock as she can stand.

Eric rejoices as his tart shell comes out of its mould perfectly. Sabina doesn't rejoice as she repeatedly fails to get her tart shell out at all. Kishwar and Maja are struggling to get their tart shells out too, which can be an issue for people with no performance background. Kishwar begins assaulting her tart shells, hurling abuse on them in the hopes they'll emerge purely from shame. And suddenly time is up, and…

We are kept in suspense as to the fate of the shell-less three, as Therese begins by serving her yabby tart. Jock cutting into it makes Melissa smile, showcasing just how easy to please Melissa is. Therese's tart is excellent, meaning she has not committed the ultimate idiocy of going home with an immunity pin.

Next is Conor with his Lesser Thick-Shelled Tart. Melissa does not smile at the cutting. "It's not a bad effort," says Jock patronisingly.

Kishwar produces her sweet tart. It does not have a shell, which means it's not actually a tart. "I'm sorry I made your tart look like this," she says tearfully. "Don't be sorry!" says Jock, who really enjoys it when people cry in front of him. Melissa explains that Kishwar shouldn't feel too bad, because it was quite a difficult challenge and Kishwar isn't much good, so chin up. The tart is delicious: it's just not a tart, which can be a drawback in a tart.

Eric is feeling happy as he serves his sweet tart, which has a shell and therefore pretty much automatically makes him safe from elimination unless he's accidentally put a live spider in it or something. But no, it's fine.

Sabina serves her tart, a la Kishwar. Shell-less it sits upon her plate like a nude snail, buffeted by the chill winds of judgment. The flavour is pretty good, something that wouldn't matter a damn if it weren't for the proliferation of unshelled tarts.

Maja brings in what she calls a "deconstructed tart", with "deconstructed" used here in the sense of "bollocksed up". She has served her tart on a bed of shattered shell shards, a grisly reminder of the fate of the shell that might've been. Melissa admits there are flaws in Maja's completely rubbish dish, but she likes the smell of it, which is almost, if not quite, nothing.

The judges emerge to inform the amateurs which of the day's three dreadful failures failed slightly more dreadfully than the other dreadful failures. Kishwar, Sabina and Maja all buggered their shells, but only Maja also made her tart taste like microwaved garbage, and so she is off to the land of Goodbye. "Hopefully this is just the beginning," Maja says as she leaves, showing a shaky grasp of linear storytelling.

Tune in tomorrow when the mystery box will contain ingredients.