Neenish tarts and Australian bakeries

I’ve decided that I need to add a little bit of Australia into my blog. I included the wattle in my blog here, but that’s not enough! So starting now, there will be a category of recipes which scream Australiana to me. I’m not promising any kangaroo burgers or emu pies, because I don’t have the slightest interest in eating our national symbols. What I do mean is recipes that taste like my childhood, or my parents childhood – many of these sweets (think lamingtons, cream buns), but I’ll do some research to find other dishes that are Australian.

I’m also going to try and incorporate some more Australian natives into the blog. Gerbras and lillies are very pretty, but Australian flowers are beautiful in a different way. It wasn’t until a few years ago that I really came to appreciate how unique our flora is – they’re hardy, earthy and wonderful. Watch this space.

It was only recently that I realised how long it had been since I had a Neenish tart! I’m not even sure if these delicious things are Australian, but when I was young, any bakery worth its salt sold neenish tarts. And I ADORED them. They came half black and half white, or half pink and half white. But over the years bakery-bought ones have changed. (Or maybe I’ve changed?)

They don’t taste like they used to. They’ve lost some of the magic.

Make them using this recipe and you will not be disappointed! I’ve given them a little twist by making the pastry chocolate, but you can make them with normal shortcrust to stay true to the true blue neenish tart!

Grown up Neenish tarts:

Chocolate shortcrust pastry:bite

  • 140g butter
  • 1/2 cup icing sugar
  • 1/3 cup cocoa
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 1 egg yolk

Mock cream:

  • 120g unsalted butter
  • 1 cup icing sugar
  • 300g sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice


  • 2 cups icing sugar
  • 4 tbsp water
  • 2 tsp cocoa

discMake your pastry by combining the butter, icing sugar, cocoa and flour in a food processor, blitzing it until the mixture resembles bread crumbs. Add in the egg yolks and water, scraping the sides down and mix until you have a soft dough. Flatten the dough into a disc and refrigerate for at least 30 mins.

After you’ve removed the dough from the fridge, preheat your oven to 180°C. Grease a 12 capacity muffin or tart tin. Sprinkle your work surface with flour and roll you disc of dough out to about 3mm thick. I find
rolling dough out easier when the rolling pin has a coating of flour as well. Cut pastry rounds just bigger than the muffin case they need to fill and gently press them into the greased tins. Prick the base of the tarts a few times with a fork and bake them for 15 minutes.

When the pastry is done, remove them from the oven and allow them to cool. As they’re cooling, place the butter, sugar, condensed milk and lemon juice in a bowl and whisk until the mixture thickens and whips up nicely.


Once the tarts have cooled completely, fill with mock cream (it should be 1-2 tablespoons per case) and smooth the top as well as you can. Refrigerate them for 15 minutes . While the tarts are in the fridge, make a start on the icing. You could also put a blob of jam on top of the mock cream for an even sweeter neenish tart experience.

Combine the water and icing sugar, mixing out any lumps. When you’ve got a runny icing mixture, split it across two bowls. Add the cocoa to one bowl – you know have your yin and yang colours for the neenish tarts!

Making sure the cream has set, remove the tarts from the fridge and dollop half a teaspoon of white icing onto one side of each of the tarts. Try and work quickly, this part is a little tricky. When you’ve dolloped each tart, go back to the first one and spread the icing to cover one half of the tart using the back of your teaspoon or a palette knife.

allRepeat for each of the tarts. No dollop each of the tarts with the chocolate icing and then spread it, ensuring that the icing meets in the middle. You can be a little slap dash about the white icing, but try to be more precise with the chocolate icing, as this is the final step.

Don’t worry if they’re not perfect, they’ll still look and taste great!

Pop them in the fridge for about ten minutes until the icing on top sets, then devour!

4 thoughts on “Neenish tarts and Australian bakeries”

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