Calling them "one of the most widely-used, time-saving culinary innovations of the twentieth century," Padma tells the cheftestants they'll be making magic with frozen pie shells. Huh, I would have said that frozen puff pastry is the ultimate time saver because even when frozen, the flavor and performance isn't compromised in the least. The same can't really be said for frozen pie shells, which taste like freezer-burned cardboard. Plus, puff pastry takes fucking long to make, and pie crust, while futzy, just isn't the same sort of ordeal. Hung seems to be in the process of exclaiming, "I KNEW IT!" but he doesn't quite finish and instead grabs at his forehead convulsively. Dale, citing his recent problems with pastry-based dishes, said his immediate response to this challenge was, "Fuck you." He also throws the bird in the direction of the interviewer to illustrate his deep feelings. Never fear, however, because impressionable young minds will never know what is happening at the end of Dale's expressive, digitized wrist. Padma turns to Chef Frumkin to ask her opinion of "our humble frozen pie crust." With a very Snow-y dodge, Frumkin says, "You will have to use your talent and your creativity to come up with something tasty with this frozen 'pie crust.'" The cheftestants can do whatever they want but they have to make the "most ambitious creative dish" they can in 90 minutes. Padma says they "really expect a miracle, especially after last week's dessert debacle." I wonder how many takes that tongue twister took. Also, poor Dale. He's looking peevish and like he might just like to debacle Padma right down the garbage disposal. Food flurry.
Hung, speakingathespeedoflight, tells us that he loves banana pies, so he's of a mind to whip up a banana, chocolate, peanut confection. In some worlds, we call that a banana split. However, using the pie crust, he's going to take the banana cream pie approach and chocolate mousse it instead. "How can you go wrong with that dish?" Hung wonders. You know what they say: pride goes before a phaal. Oh, crap -- Hung basically half folded his melted chocolate into his cream and then ran off to spaz out somewhere else. Chocolate mousse recipes can either call for just whipped heavy cream or a combo of whipped heavy cream and egg whites, and some of them even use yolks in the chocolate base. The chocolate, being much heavier than cream or egg whites, is going to weigh all that shit down and deflate it. As soon as you add something heavy to egg whites or cream, you have to quickly and gently foldfoldfold until it's all incorporated. Only after that point can you chill it. (Or bake it, if you're doing a soufflé.) You do not start folding and then run off to do something else. Far and away the best thing to do is fold fully, dump in the shell, bowl, or whatever, and chill ASAP. Don't leave the mousse out in the hot kitchen any longer than you have to because the whites or cream will begin to weep and the chocolate will ooze. Actually, what's even worse is that Hung wasn't even folding correctly -- he was stirring. Folding is cutting your spatula down the middle, lifting and turning, and repeating the entire process while spinning the bowl. Mixing breaks down the air bubbles. And I don't care if Hung says he's not a pastry chef, any chef needs to know how to properly manipulate egg whites and cream or make a mousse. Even worse offense: did he even bother to cool the chocolate before adding it to the whipped cream/whites?