Neneeish Leakes Tart

Baking, Dessert, Snack, Sweets

Someone call Olivia Pope y’all, because I’ve got a scandal on my hands! Now I don’t mean to take away from my friendship with NeNe – because let’s be honest, I was balls deep on a back catalogue of leeks recipe awaiting her arrival to this patch of cyberspace – but a damned celebrity has taken issue with how I documented our catch-up.

Disrespectful and offensive. Two words that I have never had thrown my way, callously thrown in a jealous rage for showing an untouched photo of post meal euphoria? Nope. No. Hells no, not today satan. I don’t want to name names because I am mature and kind, by Mannie Bonox can go eat a bag of rotten dicks.

Restraining order or not, I called my fave smear artists and decided to exact my ultimate revenge … by doing an even better version of her recipe with a far better celebrity who is way more fun, far more entertaining and actually delightful. Even better, she doesn’t count herself as an Oscar winner for simply riding the LOTR train when it swept the pool like a loser. Let’s be honest, it should have gone to Eug and Cath’s song from A Mighty Wind.

Anyway … this isn’t about the <redacted stupid bitch that didn’t like mock-cream on her face>, it is about the absolute divine friend of mine, with the juiciest peach known to man – my girl NeNe Leakes!

I first met Neens through my dear friend Bey whilst they were filming The Fighting Temptations. While her scenes were cut from the film, she was an absolute laugh riot … and I realised that I want to live a colourful life, rather than a beige one. Because Neens is probably the most exciting person I know.

Aaaaaaaaannnnyyyway, Neens was thrilled to drop by a catch-up, make-up for my turd ex-friends slight and celebrate the fact that for a decade, she has been one of the four queens of the Real Housewives … with Lisa, and two v. obvs others. To her, having a Neneenish Leakes Tart wasn’t a second place, it was a chance to reclaim the recipe from a buzzkillington for a friend that she loves. And that is why NeNe Leakes is the greatest person to ever grace the planet ever.

 

 

As I tried to mention the first damn time I tried this recipe, I have a passionate aversion to mock cream – which is weird, given my love of butter – so this isn’t the most traditional of neenish tarts. But I would argue, that is what makes it so damn good. Sweet and tangy, with a pastry that melts in your mouth. Sign me up to this goodness.

Enjoy!

 

 

Neneeish Leakes Tart
Makes: 12-16 individual tarts.

Ingredients
250g plain flour, plus more for dusting
50g icing sugar
125g unsalted butter, cubed
1 egg, beaten
raspberry jam, to taste
2 cups icing sugar
½ cup condensed milk
⅓ cup butter, at room temperature
lemon, juice and zest
2 tsp cocoa powder, sifted
4 tbsp water
a few drops of pink food colouring

Method
Chuck the flour and icing sugar in a food processor and quickly blitz to remove any lumps. Add the butter and blitz until it just starts to come together. Add the egg and blitz again. If it isn’t coming together, add ice cold water a tablespoon at a time, blitzing after each addition. Once formed, shape into a disc, cover in cling and place in the fridge to chill for half an hour or so.

Preheat oven to 180C.

Dust a clean bench and a rolling-pin with flour and roll out the pastry until it is 4mm thick. Cut into 12-16 rounds with a cookie cutter, and place into mini-tart pans. Trim off any excess dough and prick the base with a fork. Transfer to the oven and bake for ten-fifteen minutes, or until lightly golden and cooked through. Remove to a cooling rack until completely cooled.

Spread about a teaspoon of jam into the base of each tart and place in the fridge while you work on the filling. On that, combine half a cup of icing sugar with the condensed milk, butter and juice and zest of the lemon, mixing until smooth. You could use a stand mixer if you want, but aggressive utilisation of a wooden spoon – which should be an award show category, TBH – will work just as well.

Divide the filling between the tart cases, smooth the surface and return to the fridge for half an hour, to set.

Combine the remaining icing sugar with the water and stir until smooth. Split it between two bowls, adding the cocoa to one and the food colouring to another. If either is too runny, add some more icing sugar until it is a spreadable consistency.

Spread half of each tart with chocolate icing, and return to the fridge to set for fifteen minutes. Spread the other side with the pink icing, return to the fridge and set … before devouring the lot.

 

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%^neenish Tart #$!(*&

Baking, Grammy Gold, Grammy Gold: Goldenade, Party Food, Snack, Sweets

After a long, busy week celebrating the Grammys with this year’s Grammy Gold, Goldenade, and spending time with my dear friends Whits, Burt, Tom, Madge and Jim, we’ve finally reached the end of the road. And there is no one I’d rather mark the grand finale with, than the divine [redacted].

I was meant to have [redacted] over for last year’s Grammy Gold celebrations but ran out of time, so it was wonderful to have the opportunity to make it up to her this year.

I’ve known [redacted] since the late ‘70s, when she and [redacted] were part of [redacted]. After breaking backstage at a concert, I convinced them that they were carrying the others and to leave the band if they wanted to achieve greatness. Cut to a few years later and the [redacted] were a success and they released the hit song [redacted] … which was coincidentally written about me.

As always, you’re welcome. For that, and encouraging her to release a [redacted].

Anyway, we’ve got a lot to cover today so I’m going to jump straight into the odds, lest you miss your bookies. I think Best New Artist will go to Khalid – [redacted], obvs thinks it will go to Alessia Cara. We agree that song of the year will go to Despacito, despite the fact it should have been released the way I wrote it … as a celebration of the great Jennifer Esposito. Album of the Year we’re tipping for Lorde and Record of the Year will go to Childish Gambino, even though it is likely Jay-Z or Kendrick Lamar Odom’s to lose. Donald Glover is just my zaddy.

With all that out of the way, and us well and truly caught up on each other’s lives there was only one thing left to do. And that, obvi, was to smash some [redacted]nenish Tart [redacted].

Now I have a passionate aversion to mock cream – which is weird, given my love of butter – so this isn’t the most traditional of neenish tarts. But I would argue, that is what makes it so damn good. Sweet and tangy, with a pastry that melts in your mouth. Sign me up to this goodness.

Enjoy!

[redacted]neenish Tart [redacted]
Makes: 12-16 individual tarts.

Ingredients
250g plain flour, plus more for dusting
2 cups plus 50g icing sugar
125g unsalted butter, cubed plus cup at room temperature
1 egg, beaten
raspberry jam, to taste
½ cup condensed milk
lemon, juice and zest
2 tsp cocoa powder, sifted
4 tbsp water
a few drops of pink food colouring

Method
Chuck the flour and 50g icing sugar in a food processor and quickly blitz to remove any lumps. Add the cubed butter and blitz until it just starts to come together. Add the egg and blitz again. If it isn’t coming together, add ice cold water a tablespoon at a time, blitzing after each addition. Once formed, shape into a disc, cover in cling and place in the fridge to chill for half an hour or so.

Preheat oven to 180C.

Dust a clean bench and a rolling-pin with flour and roll out the pastry until it is 4mm thick. Cut into 12-16 rounds with a cookie cutter, and place into mini-tart pans. Trim off any excess dough and prick the base with a fork. Transfer to the oven and bake for ten-fifteen minutes, or until lightly golden and cooked through. Remove to a cooling rack until completely cooled.

Spread about a teaspoon of jam into the base of each tart and place in the fridge while you work on the filling. On that, combine half a cup of icing sugar with the condensed milk, butter and juice and zest of the lemon, mixing until smooth. You could use a stand mixer if you want, but aggressive utilisation of a wooden spoon – which should be an award show category, TBH – will work just as well.

Divide the filling between the tart cases, smooth the surface and return to the fridge for half an hour, to set.

Combine the remaining icing sugar with the water and stir until smooth. Split it between two bowls, adding the cocoa to one and the food colouring to another. If either is too runny, add some more icing sugar until it is a spreadable consistency.

Spread half of each tart with chocolate icing, and return to the fridge to set for fifteen minutes. Spread the other side with the pink icing, return to the fridge and set … before devouring the lot.

 

As you can probably tell, we are very social but the fun isn’t only limited to celebrities! You can follow us on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr and Google+.

Whoopi Goldberg Pies

Baking, Dessert, Emmy Gold, Emmy Gold: Game of Golds, Snack, Sweets

Oy vey – it’s the end of the road. You ready to let go?

Given that we kicked off this year’s Emmy Gold with such an icon, in the form of Reets – followed by Jack, Chevs, Luce and Ty – I knew we could only wrap-up Game of Golds with another EGOT winner. And there is no EGOT winner more iconic than my dear, dear, DEAR friend Whoopi Goldberg.

I first met Whoops in the ‘80s while she was filming The Color Purple. While I was mentoring my girl Oprah at the time, I saw Whoopi as a bright talent and endeavoured to make her a star. She wasn’t convinced Ghost was a good idea, but thankfully I was able to talk her around and well … Oscar came knocking. So, well, you’re welcome Whoops.

But in all seriousness, she has been extremely grateful for the career success I bequeathed her and is eagerly awaiting my screenplay for Sister Act III: Saving Lauryn Hill. In the meantime, she was thrilled to drop by and run the odds for the final time this Emmy season.

For the final time, I’m going to run the odds. So starting with the obvious, Outstanding Limited Series is going to Big Little Lies and Drag Race is taking Reality Competition. I’m praying Black Mirror will take out Outstanding Movie, though Wizard of Lies wouldn’t shock me and Coat of Many Colours would give me life. Saturday Night Live will win Variety for Kate McKinnon’s Hillary, Variety Talk is anyone’s game though I root for Colbert, Atlanta will win Comedy and The Handmaid’s Tale will win Drama.

Or This Is Us. Or Stranger Things. We really couldn’t decide.

Busy work, calls for a bit of a sugar rush, so thankfully Whoops was hella keen for some of her favourite treats – my Whoopi Goldberg Pies!

 

 

The earthiness of the rich chocolate, with the sticky muscovado and the sweet marshmallow filling, work together to fill your heart with joy and stomach with goody, goody, Goody Procter goodness.

Enjoy!

 

 

Whoopi Goldberg Pies
Serves: 12.

Ingredients
2 cups plain flour
½ cup valrhona cocoa powder
1 ¼ tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 cup buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla
115g unsalted butter, softened
1 cup muscovado sugar
1 egg
200g white marshmallows
30g butter
60g white chocolate, chopped

Method
Preheat oven to 180°C.

Whisk the dry ingredients in a bowl until combined, in another bowl slowly whisking in the buttermilk and vanilla. Then in a third bowl, beat the butter and sugar in a stand mixer for five or so minutes, or until light and fluffy. Add the egg and beat to until combined.

Reduce speed to low and mix in the dry ingredients and buttermilk-vanilla alternating between the two, in threes.

Spoon ¼ cup mounds of batter on a lined baking sheets and baking for ten-fifteen minutes, rotating the trays halfway through. Transfer to a wire rack and allow to cool completely.

While the pies are chillin’, place the marshmallows and butter in a saucepan over low heat, stirring continuously, until smooth and combined. Remove from the heat and stir until combined. Allow to cool completely.

When you’re good to go, spread half the biscuits with icing and sandwich with a bare half. Then, devour – oh happy day!

 

As you can probably tell, we are very social but the fun isn’t only limited to celebrities! You can follow us on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Tumblr.

Willa Hazelnut & Chocolate Cake

12 Days of Chrismukkah, Baking, Cake, Dessert, Snack, Sweets

Good news – we finally have a cast member that doesn’t link into my torrid love life. I mean sure, I did sleep with Willa Holland’s current co-star Stephen Amell years ago … but I didn’t meet her through him, so technically I’m home free.

You see I met Willa through my dear friend Lisa Kudrow – who I am so overdue to see that it scares me – when Willa guested on an episode of the majestic and underrated series The Comeback.

It would shock nobody to know that my attitude inspired her characterisation of Valerie Cherish.

I was taken by her talent and she was the only person I could think of to replace my cousin-in-law Shailene when they wanted to beef up the role of Caitlin. I also put her forward for the role of Thea Queen on Arrow … not that I’m saying she should be grateful to me for her career.

But she probably should be … a little, at least.

As she has been super – get it? – busy with her role in the Arrow-verse shows, I haven’t been able to spend much meaningful time with Wills in the last few years but thankfully our friendship is so beautiful that our bond never changes.

Plus, if it did, I’d just withhold my Willa Hazelnut & Chocolate Cake until she loves me again … because that is what you do with your family during the holiday!

 

img_7342willa-hazelnut-chocolate-cake-1

 

Combining the velvety sweet charm of one Caitlin Cooper and the brooding darkness and depth of Thea Queen, this cake is the perfect hybrid of my dear friend’s roles.

Enjoy!

 

willa-hazelnut-chocolate-cake-2

 

Willa Hazelnut & Chocolate Cake
Serves: 10-12.

Ingredients
200g hazelnuts, peeled and roasted
250g good dark chocolate, chopped
185g unsalted butter, cubed
40g cocoa powder, sifted
30ml strong, freshly brewed coffee
30ml amaretto
6 eggs, at room temperature
275g caster sugar
ice cream, cream or fresh berries, to serve
Nutella, to drizzle on top

Method
Preheat oven to 160ºC and grease/line a springform tin.

Chuck the hazelnuts in a food processor and blitz until it it is finely ground and just starting to turn to a paste. Set aside.

Combine the chocolate, butter and cocoa in a saucepan over low heat, stirring constantly until just melted. Remove from the heat and whisk in the coffee and amaretto. Set aside.

Meanwhile, beat the eggs and sugar in a stand mixer until just combined. Fold through the chocolate, followed by the hazelnuts and pour into the prepared tin and bake for 45 minutes, or until just set. Remove from the oven and cool completely.

Once cooled, serve with a dollop of ice cream and drizzled with nutella … because we can’t get enough hazelnut!

 

As you can probably tell, we are very social but the fun isn’t only limited to celebrities! You can follow us on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr and Google+.

Rachel Bilsonta Hats

12 Days of Chrismukkah, Baking, Cake, Dessert, Snack, Sweets

You can’t celebrate the 12 Days of Chrismukkah without my dear friend, the pocket-rocket portrayer of the gloriously rage-filled Summer Roberts … Rachel Bilson.

Deep breath – what a freaking (long/terrible) sentence, amirite?

I first met Rach – and spotted her talent – in early 2003 on the set of Buffy The Vampire Slayer. I was part of SMG’s entourage at the time but was taken in by Rachel’s spunk. As soon as I saw her perform, I knew that she was the only person that could play the role of Summer and do just to her season 1 catch-phrase “ew.”

While we had a brief falling out after I tried to set her trailer on fire after she began dating Adam Brody (I had fantasised about us becoming a twincesty couple), she understood my complete lack of logic/basis in reality and forgave me within a week.

The girl, it needs to be said, is a damn saint.

(Her sweet, forgiving nature is the only way I could forgive her for marrying Hayden Christensen, who broke my heart on the set of Life as a House when he wouldn’t play sweet dixie with my behind… but that is another story for another time. Plus I worked that line into Hart of Dixie, so how could I stay mad?).

I haven’t been able to see much of Rachel since Hart of Dixie was egregiously axed – which is actually about my life as a small town Alabama doctor falling for a myriad of similar looking men – given how busy she is with my dear god-daughter Briar Rose Christensen, so it was such a treat to be able to reconnect over some festively appropriate Rachel Bilsonta Hats!

 

rachel-bilsonta-hats-1

 

Sweet, delicious, kind-healthy (yay whole strawberry!) and completely kitsch, these little babies are the perfect festive bake for those dreaded office Christmas morning teas.

Or as a gift for people you actually like. Like the Bilson-Christensens – enjoy!

 

rachel-bilsonta-hats-2

 

Rachel Bilsonta Hats
Serves: 8.

Ingredients
2 cups plain flour
¼ cup valrhona cocoa
1 tsp bicarb soda
1 ½ cups raw caster sugar
¾ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp ground ginger
¼ tsp nutmeg
¼ tsp cloves
¼ tsp allspice
1 cup buttermilk
200g unsalted butter, melted
2 eggs
1 tbsp white vinegar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp red food colouring
Icing
500g cream cheese, at room temperature
2 cups icing sugar
120g butter, at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
strawberries, tops sliced off

Method
Preheat oven to 170°C and line muffin muffin pans with paper cases – quantity will depend on the size you want, but I can make 8 Texans.

Sift all the dry ingredients into a bowl and whisk the wet ingredients in a large jug until combined.

Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and stir through the wet ingredients until just combined. Then stir through the food colouring. You can use a stand mixer – like I do, because I’m lazy – but just remember that the best muffins are the ones that are barely mixed, so just do it on the lowest setting and only for as long as it needs.

Divide the mixture among your pans and bake for 20 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centres comes out clean. Remove from the oven, transfer to a wire rack and allow to cool completely.

While they are getting chill, combine the icing ingredients – sans strawbs – in a stand mixer and beat until smooth and fluffy.

To assemble, smear each cupcake generously with icing, top with an upturned strawberry and top said strawberry with a dollop of icing. Ta dah – bilsonta hats!

Devour.

 

As you can probably tell, we are very social but the fun isn’t only limited to celebrities! You can follow us on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr and Google+.