Week 99: Lemon meringue tartlets

 I was never a fan of lemon meringue tarts. But, strangely enough, the more lemon meringue tarts I ate, the more I like them. And now, I have to say, I am officially a fan of lemon meringue tarts. These ones are so good, the first time I cut a small slice for “taste test”, I ended up gulping down the whole tart!
So here’s sharing another one of Pierre Herme’s recipe. I use the pâte sucrée beurrée from last week’s Cheesecake Mosaïc for the tart crust. It takes about 45g to 50g of dough to line one tart ring. As usual, I would line the tart rings, allow it to freeze overnight. They were then blind baked for 20 minutes at 170C fan. And another 5 minutes after removing the cover (I used aluminium foil) to further brown the tarts.

Makes 4 8cm round tarts

For the cream cheese mousse

60g cold whipping cream

7g fine granulated sugar

58g cream cheese, at room temperature

¼ tsp pure vanilla extract

1) Pour the cold whipping cream and sugar into a mason jar. Screw on the top tightly, then shake the jar until cream is whipped. Set aside in the refrigerator.

2) In a bowl, beat the cream cheese and vanilla extract until smooth.

3) Fold the whipped cream into the cream cheese until incorporated.

4) Divide the cream cheese mouse evenly into baked tartlets and shake each one lightly to flatten the mousse. Refrigerate while preparing lemon filling.

For the lemon filling

55g caster sugar

Grated zest of 1 unwaxed lemon

50g eggs (roughly 1)

40ml freshly squeezed lemon juice

75g unsalted butter, at room temperature

1) Place the sugar and lemon zest into a bowl. Using your hands, rub the zest with the sugar until the mixture is moist and grainy.

2) Add eggs and lemon juice and mix well.

3) Heat the lemon mixture over a bain-marie, whisking continuously, until it reaches a temperature of 83C.

4) Remove the bowl from the bain-marie and allow the mixture to cool to 60C, before adding pieces of the butter.

5) Blend the mixture using a handheld immersion blender on high speed to burst the fat molecules.

6) Divide the lemon filling evenly into the tartlets, covering the cream cheese mousse. Set aside in the freezer while preparing the Italian meringue.

For the Italian meringue

60g egg whites

40g still water

120g caster sugar

1) Put the egg whites into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment.

2) Heat the still water and caster sugar in a heavy bottomed saucepan. Start whisking the egg whites to soft peaks when the syrup reaches 115C.

3) When syrup reaches 121C, remove from heat. Turn the stand mixer to low and pour the syrup in a thin stream into the egg whites, avoiding the whisk.

4) Increase the speed of the stand mixer and allow to whisk until meringue has cooled to room temperature.

5) Transfer meringue into a piping bag, fitted with a St. Honore piping tip and pipe meringue around the edge of the tartlets, covering part of the lemon filling. Lightly torched the meringue.

This recipe makes a lot more meringue than used here, so you can piped the remaining meringue onto parchment paper and bake them to dry as meringue treats. The cream cheese mousse and lemon filling are just nice to fill the 4 tartlets. This is a really heavenly treat. And they are oh, so, pretty too!

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