Chatting Desserts with Kathy Wakile from RHWNJ
Dédé Wilson: Kathy! I am so excited to be connecting with you. I first saw you on Real Housewives of New Jersey and when the scenes would come on with you setting out desserts, I thought, my kind of gal! Amongst all of the hubbub there was an authenticity between you and your desserts. I could see that you were a fellow baker. How did it happen that you were on camera so much with your sweets?
Kathy Wakile: When Bravo TV came knocking and the cameras entered my home to capture my reality, that’s exactly what they got. I have always spent the greater part of my day in the kitchen cooking and baking. Whenever I’ve had the occasion to bake for a special event, it has always been something I look forward to doing. So the cameras really ate it up… (Pun totally intended).
Reading your new book, Indulge, is like a trip down memory lane. You did such a nice job of bringing the history of the desserts to life and of your relationship to the kitchen. It seems as though we are similar in that we find baking to be a creative outlet. How do you get inspired to come up with new recipes?
I’ve always cooked and baked according to the season and what ingredients are the most readily available. Another important factor is that I have food memories, as most people associate a song that triggers a memory to time, place or feeling. Those memories have inspired me to create new desserts and recipes. What really excites me is that by recreating a fond memory of my own, I’m also reminding someone else of a fond memory. Food and particularly desserts are treats that are endlessly delightful.
Tell us something you are excited about baking in these coming fall and winter months.
As with every autumn, I totally embrace the flavors that come with the season, like apples, pumpkin, figs and nuts. I’m looking forward to experimenting with my favorite ingredients and spices like cinnamon, allspice and nutmeg.
Is there one dessert that you are known for with your friends and family?
Lemon Dream Cheesecake Cuties, which can be found in Indulge!
Tell us the 3 things you think every home baker should know that will help them have success in the kitchen.
1- Start out with a simple recipe and keep at it until you’ve made it perfect. New bakers often get too ambitious and end up feeling overwhelmed and discouraged when things don’t turn out perfectly.
2- Baking takes planning. Most ingredients are best when used at room temperature unless the recipe specifically calls for them to remain refrigerated. This is very important.
3- If something doesn’t come out looking exactly the way you expected, don’t despair. Most times you can spruce up the appearance by drizzling the top with one of my many glazes or a dusting of confectioner’s sugar. Tips like these little, quick fixes can be found in Indulge, making your dessert look like an artisan pastry chef prepared it. Remember, the effort of making something homemade for your family and friends is what matters most.
When making the Caramel Apple Ravioli, make sure you have the caramel drizzle done first. It can be made days in advance & stored in the refrigerator. Be sure to bring to room temperature before serving. I like to store mine in a plastic squeeze bottle that you can find at any craft store. This makes it very easy to have ready for a special finishing drizzle on any dessert.
When making Zia Regina’s Flan, work quickly & carefully when pouring the caramelized sugar. The sugar gets very hot and cools down very quickly. So you want to make sure you divide the melted sugar evenly among the ramekins before it cools down & hardens.
Kathy, thank you for your time and good luck with Indulge. Your enthusiasm is infectious; keep it up!
Indulge: Delicious Little Desserts That Keep Life Real Sweetis available now online and in bookstores.