Tasty tart sparks a tall tale of Ruby Neenish
The neenish tart is not English. According to an ABC report, the first known recipe, published in 1901, is from a newspaper column by a woman known only as “the housewife” in the Sydney Mail.
A common myth, however, is that a woman named Ruby Neenish made the tarts up when she ran out of cocoa and made half the icing white and the other half dark.
But it turned out a Grong Grong resident (the New South Wales town in which the myth began) had spun a journalist a tall tale after a couple bottles of wine, and the story spread.
INGREDIENTS: Pastry – 125 g butter; 125 g white sugar; 1 egg beaten; 250g plain flour; 1 tsp baking powder; 1 tsp cocoa *optional. Filling – 125g butter; 2 tbs sugar; 2 tsp gelatine powder; 3 tbs boiling water; 1 pinch cream of tartar; 1/2 tsp rum essence; 1 tbs icing sugar; 1 tbs cocoa.
METHOD: Pastry – Mix butter and sugar until creamy using an electric beater. Combine egg. Sift in flour, baking powder and cocoa. Knead mixture on a lightly floured board. Roll out pastry and cut rounds to fit patty tins. Line base and sides of tins with pastry. Bake at 170C to 180C for 10–15 minutes. Cool pastry cases on a cake rack. Filling: Dissolve gelatine in boiling water and cool. Cream butter and sugar, beat in the cooled dissolved gelatine. Add cream of tartar and the rum essence. Fill pastry cases with filling. When set, spread completely with white icing, allow to set then spread chocolate icing over half for effect.
NOTES: If you wish to make chocolate tarts add cocoa with the baking powder and the flour.