Masterchef 2020 recap: Will a pavlova send one of our favourite chefs home tonight?

Amina Elshafei, like all of us, is over the twists already and it's only day two.
Amina Elshafei, like all of us, is over the twists already and it's only day two. Photo: NETWORK 10

Welcome to Twist Week, not to be confused with Twisties Week, where the contestants have to make all of their meals out of a bag of Twisties. Look, I wouldn't be opposed!!

Yesterday's team challenge saw the judges annoy the hell out of the contestants/everyone watching by yelling at them to swap dishes, and then add vegetarian options halfway through the cook. The grey team lost, and here we are at another elimination. This is what happens when you invite vegetarians to dinner! 

Today's pressure test dish comes from Melbourne pastry chef, MasterChef guest veteran and, as the high-drama orchestral background music would have you think, Roman gladiator Darren Purchese.

The contestants will have to cook one of Darren's dishes from Burch & Purchese, and... it's a pav! If my pavlova attempts are anything to go by, this will be a very hard, emotional challenge that will end up with tears, a second failed pavlova and then Eton mess served at Christmas lunch. Not that I'm scarred or anything.

But...Twist Week! This, of course, is no ordinary pav. Darren picks up the meringue to reveal… it's a babushka pav! The fancy meringue cloche has given birth to an even fancier complex dessert underneath made of passionfruit curd, coconut dacquoise, salted caramel cream, mango mousse, vanilla panna cotta, a white chocolate collar and probably some other stupid element that has no business being inside a pav.

The contestants come to have a closer look and all start dipping their spoons into the dish in what looks like a COVID-19 germ nightmare.

They have three hours to complete the cook, and Darren tells them they should all read the recipe thoroughly before starting. There are seven pages of instructions, so just some light reading then thanks, Dazza.

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Reynold's strategy is just to fly through it, which doesn't sound like much of a strategy to me, but Reynold is the dessert king so, no stress babes. Darren and Jock ask him how confident he is and Reynold rates himself a 10 out of 10… tickets! He tries to prove it by flexing his guns while whipping his eggs. Nobody swoons.

Everyone starts on the passionfruit curd first, because it needs time to cool. Amina has decided not to follow the recipe and make her meringue first. Jock says it's an "interesting tactic". Darren is like: your funeral, mate.

Jess' plan is to multitask. She does not want to go home today. We get a little backstory on her, which shows us that she loves MasterChef so much she even puts a cloche on her own desserts when baking at home. What commitment!

The contestants start to make their meringue and the gantry all start bitching about them swinging their piping bags. "Why don't they just push it down with their hands like a normal person," says Emelia, who has no time for fun.

Poh says that she is a dessert person, so feels confident about this cook. She also says she feels comfortable because she's an "artiste". Yeah, ok then. But I have lost all faith in her and her casual attitude, TBH. She'll be praying into her oven in no time, just watch.

Laura starts making her dacquoise, making sure to say the word "dacquoise" plenty of times so that we all know she can pronounce it correctly.

Ben tells too-cool-for-school Reynold that he is about third or fourth from the top. Reynold does not like hearing this about himself, but is confident he'll catch up because he is the dessert king and is not about to get toppled off his throne.

But just like the Red Wedding in Game of Thrones, Melissa comes in with her fluoro pink Christmas-wreath earrings blazing. She yells at them all to stop what they are doing, because it's #TwistTime. The judges are taking their recipes away from the contestants and they will have to finish the cook on instinct alone.

Poh says she has instantly forgotten everything and thoughts are just tumbling around inside her brain. At least she is consistent.

Reynold, the so-called 10, instantly regrets not reading the recipe. He says he feels like an amateur right now.

Tracy, who I didn't even realise was here, says that all the information in her head has vapourised.

Jess says that she read her recipe top to bottom, and reckons she can get away with making a glaze and tempering the chocolate without it. What a star.

Amina is looking very depressed. She was already so far behind and now she's wandering around looking like she might just curl into a ball on the kitchen floor and start weeping. She asks the gantry for help with her dacquoise. She starts having a little cry, saying she's frustrated.

But, wait, it's a bird, it's a plane, no, it's Super Jess! Jess comes over and asks her if she needs help. She gives Amina her memorised mango mousse recipe and wow, is the twist that we just end it here and crown Jess the winner now?

Reynold starts feeling embarrassed about how bad he is cooking. He starts telling anyone who will listen how hard this challenge is. Everyone is like, shut up, Reynold! Hayden accidentally helps him with his panna cotta step before realising that this was probably not a smart move. Everyone is just too damn nice on this show!

Poh starts having an existential crisis about quitting, but manages to get her brain out of the oven and continues on working. She decides to ditch the glaze on top so she has time to finish all the other elements.

Amina has her mousse on thanks to Kween Jess, but doesn't feel confident tempering the white chocolate. She gets a pat on the back from the judges, which is nice but not helpful thanks.

Laura is blitzing her mango glaze, like, literally blitzing it with the stick blender. But also just kicking goals.

They all start glazing their entremets (lets just skip over what the hell this is) and Laura, Jess and Callum nail the golden gloss. Amina pulls out her entremet and it looks like a chewed up dog biscuit. Poh's isn't much better, but she freestyles it with some slices of mango and hopes for the best.

Jess is first to plate up. She puts on her meringue cloche but her dessert is too big! She squishes it on like I do with my high-waisted jeans every morning. She'll be right!

Jock compliments her on being a good sport helping Amina, and it looks like this good samaritan act has them completely side-stepping her wonky pav. He lifts the meringue up and Darren says it looks "sensational". I hope Andy is listening to this new adjective.

Jock says the taste and texture is perfect; Darren says it's almost identical to his. Well, apart from the fact that the pav didn't fit on the actual dessert, but whatever Jess is a nice person and that's all we care about!

Poh is next and says that cook shaved two years off her life. You and me both, girl. She has made the decision to leave the mirror glaze off. She is hoping no one will notice this because she is Poh and the star of the show! But Darren says there are quite a number of issues: dacquoise is too thick, the meringue is chewy. Andy says it could well send her home.

Teacher's pet Laura brings her perfect pav in with her perfect dessert and everyone goes on about how "outstanding" is. Full points to her though, because this wasn't even pasta.

We speed through some of the contestants who didn't get any air time: Callum's dome is too thick as was his dacquoise base; Sarah Clare's looks like a dog's breakfast, but the judges say it was "not the worst they've seen", which seems like a lie?; Tracy's was perfect, but we have no investment in her dish as we barely saw Tracy all episode; Hayden's looks odd, and he stuffed it up by putting the dacquoise on top.

Mister thinks-he's-a 10 Reynold saunters over with his dish, which he says is just "ok". Ok turns out to be a total masterpiece because it is perfect outside and in. Darren says he was full of confidence, but he's backed it up.

Oh, Amina. Unlucky last. When she plates up her dish the cream falls straight through her meringue dome. She has a spare one, but as Jock lifts it off it crumbles in his hand. The dessert is not much better – it looks like a sad splodge of pumpkin soup. Darren says there is a fault in every single layer. Time to start preparing the tissues.

The judges reveal the top three: Jess, Laura and Reynold, obvs. Tracy, Callum and Sarah are also safe, which we knew because they didn't get any dramatic edits. They join the rest of the contestants, including Khanh, who has decided to dress like a '70s police detective today.

That leaves Amina, Hayden and Poh in the bottom three. But the dish with the most problems was Amina's. Mel gives her a hug and for once looks genuinely sad that someone is going home. I told you that you'd need tissues!!

Read the rest of our MasterChef recaps here and follow Eloise Basuki on Twitter @eloise_baz.