Indulge, which features Kathy's own recipes for creating mouth-watering mini-desserts that will satisfy your cravings in just a few bites, is currently on pre-order at Amazon (it's released September 2) — and it's already hit the #1 best seller in Dessert Baking spot on Amazon. Talk about impressive!
Wetpaint Entertainment recently caught up with Kathy to talk about what makes her book so irresistible and to get some dish on the most recent RHONJ drama.
Wetpaint Entertainment: Anyone who's watching RHONJ knows you're the dessert expert, but what sets your cookbook apart from all the others out there?
Kathy Wakile: Well, everything is small, bite sized. So I've developed all the recipes, broken them all down, controlled them to make sure everything is right per recipe. It makes it fun. And then it's so pretty. Everything that's small is so cute, you know? So each recipe makes the desserts aesthetically beautiful.
Also, I don't take any of the flavor away. I make everything small, but in that I don't take the sugar out, I don't take any of the extra fat out. So you do feel like you've indulged in dessert. Real dessert instead of a reduced calorie whatever. How I'm reducing the calories is the size, so you do get satisfied with just two bites. That's the key. You go traveling to Europe, you get regular desserts, but they're small, the way that desserts are intended to be. Just little sweet notes, not this supersized anything that doesn't really have any taste, and then you feel guilty afterwards.
And then the other great thing is that my book is broken down by season, because that's the way I cook, and most cooks really do cook that way, using what's readily available at its peak of freshness. And what you're thinking about. You know, in the summer time you're not really thinking about baking, because it's too hot, you don't want to heat up your house, so we're looking for lighter things, like gelato, or we have a section of fruit barbeque. It goes through the seasons, and it's great that way.
What was the hardest part of developing the book?
I think it was testing and re-testing and making sure everything was right. For me, the creative side of my brain is always working, so I don't write things down. I don't think to write things down, and I just assume that other people know. And when you're writing a book, when you're teaching, you have to take people step by step through the recipes. As someone that's been doing it for so long, that's hard to remember. As a teacher, you have to remember you're teaching someone who has never made this before, or maybe has never baked before. So that's a really important factor in writing a cookbook, or specifically a dessert or baking cookbook. I have to remember that I'm teaching someone.
What's your favorite recipe from the book?
I think that any of the lemon desserts are my favorite because they're sweet and tart at the same time, and refreshing. And I have a number of different lemon desserts. The Lemon Dream Cheesecake Cuties, they're so cute, and they're tiny, they're literally three bites. They're decedent, and refreshing and tart, just something so special.
What's your top piece of advice for someone who is new to baking?
Start off with the simplest recipes, and perfect that, and go from there. Don't try and make something that's so complex that you end up getting so confused and discouraged and not wanting to go back to it. If you start off making something simple, and making it really great, that's your foundation for the next thing.
So in my book, I have recipes that start with one element. Like, apple pie, simple right? Very simple. I have a recipe that's simple but small. And then from there I build on other recipes that incorporate apples, some are simple, some make them a little more complicated. So in the fall, when everyone's going apple picking, we have four different apple recipes. And that is the same for, in summer, with tiramisu, I have a traditional tiramisu, and then I have three other recipes for tiramisu, each one that's a little more complex. So I say master the basics, and then build on it.
That sounds like a great way to learn.
I want to encourage people to bake and make desserts, but not discourage them or have them feel guilty afterwards. And the best thing about my recipes is that they break down easily to share. Instead of making one big cake to share, and then you have none left, you can make a dozen little cakes, and bring six over to someone. For me, it makes it easy to share, and sharing is caring. That's the best part of cooking, it's sharing it with people you love.
We've seen you a little on RHONJ Season 6. Will we be seeing more of you?
Yes! During the time when we were filming I was so involved in writing my cookbooks, so I really needed that time to finish up. And also my expanding dessert line, I was on tour, with my desserts, so that kept me busy. But towards the end of the season I had a little bit more time, so you'll start seeing a little bit more of us.
You were at the first responders party, though. What was your perspective on that craziness?
It just happened so fast! It seemed stranged. Whenever something escalates to getting physical, it usually starts off with some bad conversation, or some conversation heats up, but it happened so fast, it seemed very bizarre to me. When Amber walked in, the mood changed, and then boom. All of a sudden there was hair pulling.
Any final thoughts about your book?
It's on pre-order on Amazon, and I'm overwhelmed. I don't even know what to say, I can't even believe it hit No. 1 just on pre-order alone. No one has even seen it, really, and it hit No. 1. That to me is very gratifying, overwhelming, it's amazing. I'm thrilled. I can't wait for people to actually have it in their hands and start baking and showing me recipes that they've made. That's the feedback. It's like a teacher teaching someone, and the student becoming better than the teacher. I love that.
We predict a lot of tweets with photos of what your fans have baked.
I can't wait! It's really gratifying that I can motivate people to enjoy baking, not be intimidated, and to become really great bakers.
You can order Indulge: Delicious Little Desserts That Keep Life Real Sweet on pre-order here.
Want to meet Kathy in person? She's excited to meet fans at her book signings, which you can learn more about at her website. Also at her website is her delicious dessert line, which will soon expand to include specialty coffees in amazing flavors like Butter Rum and Bananas Foster! And don't forget to follow her on Twitter @KathyWakile.