Interview by Lori Bizzoco. Video by Damian Kolodiy.

Kathy Wakile first captured our hearts as a cast member of Real Housewives of New Jersey (RHONJ), and now, she’s enchanting our taste buds with her dessert line Dolci Della Dea and her cookbook Indulge: Delicious Little Desserts That Keep Life Real Sweet, which was released on September 2nd. Earlier this week, the reality TV star did a book signing at the Boulevard Books & Cafe in Brooklyn. In our celebrity video interview, we got the latest scoop on her decadent desserts, the upcoming season of RHONJ, and life at home with her family.

 

Cupid's Pulse Article: ‘RHONJ’ Star Kathy Wakile Talks Desserts in Celebrity Video Interview: “Indulge. It’s Not Going to Kill You!”
Lori Bizzoco with Kathy Wakile and her husband Richard.

 

Reality TV Star Dishes on New Cookbook

As fans may know, the title of her cookbook came from something she said on RHONJ: “We were talking about my desserts, and I mentioned how I see really, really skinny girls who deprive themselves of everything and who aren’t happy. So I said, “Honey, have a cupcake. Indulge. It’s not going to kill you!'” With that thought in mind, Wakile focused on mini desserts, so people can enjoy something sweet without feeling guilty afterwards. She adds, “We want them to look good and taste good, but we don’t have to have such large portions.”

Related Link: ‘RHONJ’ Star Jacqueline Laurita: “I Try My Best to Get Along with Everyone”

When it comes to impressing your partner, her best love advice is simple: She recommends baking her Chocolate Volcanoes. As she mentioned after our interview, “It should be served hot — and it’ll make your man feel hot too!” It’s no surprise that it’s her husband Richard’s favorite dessert. Another great date night dessert is the Almond Joyous Cheesecake Cuties (recipe below) — perfect for sharing with your cutie!

 

Cupid's Pulse Article: ‘RHONJ’ Star Kathy Wakile Talks Desserts in Celebrity Video Interview: “Indulge. It’s Not Going to Kill You!”
Almond Joyous Cheesecake Cuties. Photo: Andrei Jackamets

Almond Joyous Cheesecake Cuties – makes 2 dozen

CRUST

2 large egg whites

¼ cup granulated sugar

2 cups sweetened flaked coconut

TOPPING

½ cup sour cream

3 tablespoons sugar

1 teaspoon almond extract

FILLING

Two 8-ounce packages cream cheese, at room temperature

½ cup granulated sugar

3 large eggs

3 tablespoons sour cream

3 tablespoons heavy cream

1 teaspoon almond extract

2 teaspoons coconut extract

¼ cup almonds, toasted and finely chopped

Ganache (page 181)

Sliced almonds, for garnish

EQUIPMENT

Two 12-cavity mini cheesecake pans

Food processor

Electric mixer

Small pastry tamper, optional

2 large rimmed baking sheets

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F with one rack positioned in the center of the oven and another rack positioned at the bottom of the oven. Fill a broiler pan or roasting pan with about 2 inches of water and set it on the bottom rack.
  • To make the crust, combine the egg whites with the sugar in a medium bowl and use an electric mixer to beat to very stiff peaks. Use a rubber spatula to fold in the coconut until well combined.
  • Scoop about 1 tablespoon of the mixture into each cavity in the mini cheesecake pan and use the back of the measuring spoon to firmly compress the mixture into an even layer about ¼ inch thick.
  • Set aside.
  • To make the almond topping, in a small bowl stir together the sour cream, sugar, and almond extract. Set aside. To make the filling, in a separate bowl beat together the cream cheese and sugar with an electric mixer at medium speed until smooth and creamy. Beat in each egg separately and scrape down the bowl after each addition. Continue to mix at medium speed and add the sour cream, heavy cream, almond extract, and coconut extract.
  • Set the cheesecake pans on rimmed baking sheets (this will make it easier to get them in and out of the oven). Press the crust down again to ensure that it is well packed.
  • Transfer the filling to a large measuring cup with a spout and pour enough filling into each cavity of the pans to fill a bit more than three-quarters of the way up to the rim.
  • Bake for 7 minutes at 350°F then lower the temperature to 250°F and bake 10 to 12 more minutes, or just until the surfaces of the cuties are set at the outer edges but still wobbly in the center. (Keep a close eye on them!
  • Take the pans out of the oven and divide the almond topping among the cakes, spooning an even layer onto each and smoothing the tops with the back of the spoon. Top with the chopped almonds, then return the pans to the oven and bake for an additional 7 minutes. (They’ll still look wet, but they will set as they cool.)
  • Let the cakes cool in the pans for 3 to 5 minutes, then run the tip of a very sharp knife around the top edge of each cake (this will unstick any topping that has adhered to the side of the pan and help the cake come out of the pan easily and flawlessly once they are cool.) Don’t try to add the chocolate ganache or unmold the cakes while they are still warm!
  • Let the cuties cool in the pans all the way to room temperature, at least 30 minutes. Then chill in pans for 2 hours before unmolding and topping with ganache.
  • Carefully unmold the cuties by pressing the little round disk underneath each cake upward to raise the cake so that its bottom is level with the pan rim, then slide a small spatula underneath the cake.
  • To cover the cuties with ganache, arrange the unmolded cheesecakes on a wire rack that’s sitting on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Use an offset spatula or butter knife to carefully apply a thin layer of ganache to the tops and sides of each cutie. Let dry, then go over the cheesecakes again to smooth out any spots you may have missed, working from the top first and then down around the sides (dipping the spatula or knife in hot water and wiping dry periodically will also help keep the ganache smooth).
  • Garnish with sliced almonds and refrigerate 6 hours or overnight before serving. (You could chill the cuties overnight before adding ganache, then chill more briefly just to set the ganache. The cuties can be kept in the refrigerator for 3 days and are also freezable.)

Ganache – makes about ¾ cup

8 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped

¼ cup heavy cream

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

  • Combine the chocolate, cream, and butter in a small heatproof bowl. Set the bowl over a saucepan of barely simmering water. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is very smooth.
  • Let the ganache cool to room temperature before using.

From Indulge by Kathy Wakile with Miriam Harris. Copyright 2014 by the authors and reprinted by permission of St. Martin’s Griffin, an imprint of St. Martin’s Press, LLC.

Celebrity Video Interview: Kathy Wakile Opens Up About Her Family

Although the mom of two focused on her cookbook over the past few months, she will be gracing the small screen towards the end of season six of RHONJ. “You’ll see what’s happening with my family and see how my children have grown. You’ll see what’s happening with our everyday lives,” she explains.

 

Cupid's Pulse Article: ‘RHONJ’ Star Kathy Wakile Talks Desserts in Celebrity Video Interview: “Indulge. It’s Not Going to Kill You!”
Kathy Wakile at her book signing at Boulevard Books & Cafe.

Speaking of her family, the reality TV star reveals that her daughter Victoria is doing well after battling her second benign brain tumor. “She’s a strong, brave girl, and she’s just more motivated than ever,” she says with a smile. Of how she got through such a difficult time, she credits the power of prayer. “I don’t feel like it was me doing everything. I feel like God was carrying me through.”

Related Link: RHONJ’s Teresa Giudice Debunks Divorce Rumors

Of course, the New Jersey native isn’t done expanding her empire just yet. Next up is a cookbook of Mediterranean-based appetizers and small plates. As she explains, “I get a chance to show my love through my cooking!”

Keep up with Kathy on Twitter @KathyWakile. You can purchase her cookbook Indulge: Delicious Little Desserts That Keep Life Real Sweet at your local bookstore or on Amazon.