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STUFFED BUTTERMILK PANCAKES WITH FRESH BERRIESAND PURE MAPLE SYRUP 26 EGG IN PURGATORY 28 EGGS BENEDICT WITH PROSCIUTTO ON CRISPY LATKES 31 EGG EN COCOTTE WITH MUSHROOMS AND BRIOCHE TOAST 35 STEAK AND EGG WITH RANCHERO SAUCE 36 CINNAMON-ORANGE FRENCH TOAST 40 BLUEBERRY SCONES WITH LEMON GLAZE 43 CRUNCHY GRANOLA 44 TROPICAL FRUIT SMOOTHIE 45
Stuffed Buttermilk Pancakes with Fresh Berries and Pure Maple Syrup
Recipe courtesy of Jenna Hamiter
Jenna, a homemaker from Texas, stands out as the only cook to prepare a sweet breakfast dish for her signature dish. The young mom cleverly uses a Danish aebleskiver pan to form soft popover-like pillows filled with silky sweetened cream cheese. "I make these for my three kids every weekend. They call them doughnut holes," says Jenna.
The cast-iron aebleskiver pan (see inset) resembles an egg poacher and is available at cookware stores and on the Internet.
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour 2 tablespoons plus 1/4 cup granulated sugar 2 teaspoons baking powder 1/2 teaspoon baking soda 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt 1 1/2 cups buttermilk 1 large egg 3 tablespoons vegetable oil 8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature Zest of 1 orange, finely grated 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract Unsalted butter, at room temperature, for greasing the pan 1 cup mixed fresh berries 1 cup pure maple syrup 2 tablespoons confectioners' sugar
Sift the flour, 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a large bowl. Make a well in the center. In a separate bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, egg, and oil. Pour into the flour mixture. Gently fold all of the ingredients together to form a moist batter. Set aside.
In the bowl of a standing electric mixer or with a handheld beater, cream together the cream cheese, orange zest, vanilla, and the 1/4 cup granulated sugar. Beat for 3 minutes, or until the sugar is incorporated and the cream cheese is completely smooth.
Grease the indentations of the aebleskiver with butter and place the pan over medium heat. Spoon 1 tablespoon of the batter into each well. Carefully place 1 tablespoon of the cream cheese mixture into the mold. Top with another tablespoon of the batter to fill the mold. Cook for 2 minutes, or until the edges are set and begin to pull away from the sides of the pan. Carefully turn the pancakes over using 2 chopsticks or a fork and spoon.
Pile the pancakes on a serving platter, scatter with fresh berries, and drizzle with maple syrup. Dust with confectioners' sugar and serve immediately.
Egg in Purgatory
Recipe courtesy of Tony Carbone
Purgatory, here, is practically heaven: a chunky tomato sauce served atop a soft-cooked egg and a slice of crusty, toasted bread. Tony explained to the judges, "It's a peasant dish from southern Italy made from ingredients in a typical Italian home. It's quick and definitely hits the spot without being too heavy." Typically, the egg is poached in tomato sauce with toast served on the side. Tony says, "I wanted to reinvent the classic and make it my own by cooking the egg inside the bread, like the traditional Toad-in-a- Hole dish, and bathe it with spicy tomato sauce."
This recipe can be doubled if cooking for two.
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling 1/2 onion, chopped (see Master the Basics: Chopping an Onion, on page 30) 1 clove garlic, minced 1/4 teaspoon red-pepper flakes Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper 1 can (15 ounces) diced tomatoes 1 slice (3/4 inch thick) brioche 1 tablespoon unsalted butter 1 large egg 1 sprig fresh flat-leaf parsley, leaves picked off the stem 2 fresh basil leaves, hand-torn 2-3 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Heat the oil in a small pot over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, and red-pepper flakes. Season with salt and pepper. Cook for 5 minutes, or until the onion is softened and translucent, stirring with a wooden spoon. Stir in the tomatoes (with juice) and season again with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 12 to 15 minutes, or until the sauce thickens and the flavor deepens.
Meanwhile, put the brioche on a cutting board and use a 2- to 3-inch biscuit cutter or the top of a water glass to cut out a hole in the center. Melt the butter in a small skillet over medium heat. Place the cut-out brioche round in the skillet and cook for 1 to 2 minutes per side. Set aside for serving.
Lay the remaining brioche piece in the skillet and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, or until the bottom is crisp and golden. Turn the bread over and crack the egg into the hole. Cook for 5 minutes, or until the whites are just set.
To serve, use a flat spatula to put the brioche and egg on a plate. Stir the parsley and basil leaves into the tomato sauce. Put a few spoonfuls of the sauce on top and around the plate. Sprinkle the grated Parmesan on top and drizzle with a little olive oil. Serve with the reserved brioche round for dipping.
As the top 24 amateur chefs cooked together for the first time, they took a crack at impressing the judges. In a 30-minute battle of "skill, creativity, and intuition," the judges asked that they each create a standout dish using one egg as the "hero of the dish." Judge Joe Bastianich pointed out that this deceptively simple exercise shows that while anyone can cook a soft-boiled egg, "What defines a MasterChef is what he or she does with the other 27 minutes." The contestants prepared a wide variety of egg-inspired dishes, from the runny to the remarkable. But in the end, only 14 made it through to stay in the competition.
MASTER THE BASICS:
CHOPPING AN ONION
1. Cut the onion in half, lengthwise. 2. Peel off the onion skin and discard. 3. Place the onion half face down, with the root end at the top. Slicing parallel to the chopping board, cut horizontally toward, but not through, the root, taking care at all times to keep your fingers away from the blade. Start at the base and work up, repeating two to three times. 4. Cut finely spaced vertical lines into the onion top to bottom, making sure not to cut all the way to the root. 5. Finally, chop horizontally (knife perpendicular to the cutting board) from tip to root.
Onion Chop Challenge
"If you can't chop an onion, how do you expect to put food on a plate?" That's what judge Gordon Ramsay asked the MasterChef Top 30 as a dump truck piled high with six tons of onions backed into the giant warehouse where the contestants awaited their first challenge: slicing and chopping a pile of onions with precision. "Make every cut count," Gordon told them. "Keep chopping until I say stop. When I tap you on the shoulder, you'll find out if you're making it to the next round or going home." With eyes watering and hands shaking, the contestants chopped onions for more than 90 minutes without a break. Nerves and knives proved a bloody combination for more than one contestant, as many fingers were bandaged along the way. In the end, 24 hopefuls survived the chopping block.
Eggs Benedict with Prosciutto on Crispy Latkes
Recipe courtesy of Lee Knaz
When Gordon asked the contestants to create a dish that reflected their take on a breakfast classic, Eggs Benedict, Lee knew he had to create something memorable to stay in the competition. After tasting Lee's interpretation of the dish, which included latkes (crispy potato pancakes) and prosciutto, Gordon remarked that the dish was perfectly cooked and reflected Lee's unique personality.
SERVES 4 TO 8, MAKES 8 LATKES, 1 CUP HOLLANDAISE
FOR THE LATKES
2 russet potatoes, peeled (about 1 1/2 £ds) 1 onion Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper 1 large egg white 2 sprigs fresh chives, chopped, plus extra for garnish 1/4 cup vegetable oil, plus more for frying
FOR THE HOLLANDAISE
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter 2 large egg yolks 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander Juice of 1/2 lemon 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
FOR THE POACHED EGGS
1 tablespoon white vinegar 8 large eggs 8 slices prosciutto
Preheat the oven to 250°F.
To make the latkes: Use a box grater or food processor to coarsely grate the potatoes and onion. Put the grated potatoes and onion together in cheesecloth or a tea towel and twist it over a bowl, to squeeze out the excess liquid. Reserve the liquid. Put the dry potatoes and onions in another bowl and season with salt and pepper. Fold in the egg white and chopped chives to bind the mixture together. Spoon out the potato starch from the bottom of the potato-onion liquid and add to the grated potato mixture.
Heat a large nonstick skillet coated with the oil over medium heat. For each latke, take about 4 tablespoons of the potato mixture and press with your hands to form a pancake. Carefully drop two or three pancakes into the hot oil and gently flatten them with a spatula so they fry up thin and crispy. Fry for 3 to 4 minutes on each side, or until golden. Remove them from the pan and let them drain on several layers of paper towels. Season with salt while the latkes are still hot. Continue frying, in batches of two or three, adding more oil as needed, until all of the potato mixture is used up. Transfer all of the latkes to a baking pan and place in the warm oven.
To make the hollandaise sauce: Melt the butter in a small pot over medium- low heat. Remove from the heat and skim and discard the white foam that rises to the surface of the butter. Carefully ladle or pour the clear golden butter into a measuring cup with a pouring spout, taking care not to add the milky solids. Set the melted butter aside.
Fill a large pot halfway with water and bring to a gentle simmer over medium heat.
In a heatproof bowl, combine the egg yolks, coriander, and 1 tablespoon of water. Whisk until the yolks are light and frothy. Put the bowl over the pot of simmering water, making sure the bottom of the bowl does not touch the water. Whisk constantly and vigorously for 2 minutes, or until the yolks are thickened and light. (If the eggs begin to scramble, or the mixture gets too hot, remove the bowl from the heat and whisk to cool).
Remove the bowl from the heat and continue whisking for a couple of minutes to cool slightly. Slowly trickle in the reserved butter as you whisk. Don't add the butter too quickly or it may curdle. When all of the butter is incorporated, whisk in the lemon juice and cayenne and season with salt and pepper. Set the bowl back over the pot of hot water (but turn off the heat) to keep it warm. Stir occasionally to prevent a skin from forming. If the sauce gets too thick, whisk in a trickle of water, 1 tablespoon at a time.
To make the poached eggs: Follow the directions on page 39.
To assemble, put a latke on each plate. Lay a slice of prosciutto on top and set a poached egg in the center. Spoon the warm hollandaise over the eggs and garnish with additional chopped chives. Serve immediately.
Egg en Cocotte with Mushrooms and Brioche Toast
Recipe courtesy of Sheena Zadeh
"When the judges announced that our challenge was to make a memorable dish with a single egg in only 30 minutes, my brain immediately thought of my favorite brunch dish, egg en cocotte," says Sheena. "The rich yet simple take on baked eggs is perfect for a single serving because the egg is baked in a small ramekin." When baking eggs, the objective is to have the white set but the yolk still pleasantly runny.
This recipe can be doubled if cooking for two.
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for drizzling 1 shallot, minced 4 cremini mushrooms, wiped of grit, finely chopped 4 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves stripped from the stem and chopped (about 1 teaspoon) Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper 1 tablespoon dry white wine, such as Pinot Grigio 2 slices (3/4 inch-thick) brioche, crusts removed 1 teaspoon unsalted butter, melted 1 large egg 2 teaspoons heavy cream 2 tablespoons (about 1 ounce) grated Gruyere or Swiss cheese Frisee or curly endive
Preheat the oven to 400°F. In a large saucepan, bring water to a boil.
Coat a small skillet with 1 tablespoon of the oil and place it over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the shallot. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute, or until softened. Add the mushrooms and thyme. Season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring, for 2 to 3 minutes, or until the mushrooms lose their moisture and begin to brown. Pour in the wine and cook for 1 to 2 minutes longer, or until the liquid is completely evaporated.
Using a brush or your fingers, coat the bottom and sides of a 6-ounce ramekin with melted butter. Spoon the sauteed mushroom mixture into the ramekin, make a slight indentation in the center, and crack the egg into it. Drizzle with cream and season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle the top with a layer of cheese to cover completely. Put the ramekin in an 8 x 8- inch baking dish. Pour boiling water into the baking dish until it is halfway up the sides of the ramekin. Carefully put the baking dish in the oven. Bake for 20 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and the ramekin jiggles slightly when gently shaken.
Meanwhile, slice the brioche into 1/2-inch sticks. Lay them side by side on a baking pan, drizzle with some of the remaining oil, and season generously with salt and pepper. Bake for 6 minutes, or until lightly toasted and crisp.
To serve, put the ramekin in the center of a small dessert plate and stack the brioche slices on the side. Put a small mound of frisee next to the bread, drizzle with the remaining oil, and add more seasoning if desired.
Steak and Egg with Ranchero Sauce
Recipe courtesy of Jenna Hamiter
Jenna passed the Egg Challenge with flying colors--the colors of the Texas flag, that is. She says: "Living in Dallas-Fort Worth, I know a thing or two about Tex-Mex cooking! It's the flavor I identify with most. Huevos rancheros is the ideal breakfast for me, so when the judges challenged us to cook with one egg in 30 minutes, I knew my picante tomato sauce with steak and egg would earn me a spot in the final 14."
This recipe can be doubled if cooking for two.