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Heavenly Blueberry and Lemon Cloud Tartlets

Servings: 8
These gorgeous little tarts look simply to good to be true. The zing of the lemon and the sweetness of the blueberries is a match made in heaven.

In these delicious little tarts, a zesty lemon meringue puffs up like clouds over a sea of blueberries, then sets to a featherlight cooked mousse.

Páte Brisée (Tart Pastry):
(makes about 12 ounces/350g pastry, enough to line a 9 to 10-inch/22 to 25cm tart tin or eight 3 1/2-inch/9cm tartlet tins)
7 oz. (200g) all-purpose flour
A large pinch of salt
7 tbsp.(3 1/2 oz./100g) unsalted butter, diced, at room temperature
1 egg yolk
2 1/2 to 3 tablespoons ice cold water

Lemon Filling:
4 large eggs, separated
5 oz. (150g) granulated or caster sugar
Finely grated zest of 2 lemons
Freshly squeezed juice of 1 lemon
A pinch of salt
1 pound (16 oz./450g) fresh blueberries
Confectioners' sugar, for dusting

Serve with:
Créme fraiche
Extra blueberries

You will need:
8 (3 1/2-inch/9cm) tartlet tins
A baking sheet

To Make the Tartlet Pastry (Páte Brisée):

1. Sift the flour and salt into a mound on a clean work surface. Make a well in the middle with your fist. Put the butter and egg yolk into the well and using the fingers of one hand mix the eggs and butter together until they resemble scrambled eggs.

2. Using a palette knife or pastry scraper, toss the flour over the egg mixture and blend through until almost combined. Sprinkle with ice cold water and blend again. Bring together quickly with you hands. Knead lightly into a ball, then flatten slightly.

3. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for at least 30 minutes. Let return to room temperature before rolling out.

4. Bring the pastry to room temperature. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F/200 degrees C.

5. On a lightly floured surface, use your hands to slightly flatten the dough. Divide dough into 8 equal portions. Roll each dough portion into a 5-inch circle. Carefully line eight 3 1/2-inch/9cm tartlet tins with pastry. Trim pastry even with the edge of each tartlet tin. Prick bottoms and sides of pastry with the tines of a fork then bake in preheated 400 degree F/200 degree C oven for 15 minutes, watching them carefully so they don't get too brown.

6. Lower oven temperature to 325 degrees F/160 degrees C. Whisk the egg yolks and 2 1/2 ounces of the sugar with an electric beater until the mixture is pale and mousse-like, and leaves a trail when the beaters are lifted. Whisk in the lemon zest and juice. Set the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water and stir the mixture until thickened enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon. Let cool.

7. Whisk the egg whites with the salt until soft peaks form, then gradually whisk in the remaining sugar, a spoonful at a time. Beat a spoonful of the egg white mixture into the lemon mixture to loosen it, then carefully fold in the remainder.

8. Put a single layer of blueberries into each tartlet shell. Carefully cover with spoonfuls of the lemon mousse, making sure the mousse seals the edges. Place on baking sheet and bake in preheated 325 degree F/160 degree C oven for 15 to 20 minutes until beginning to rise. Dust with confectioners' sugar and return to the oven for 4-5 minutes until just beginning to brown.

9. Serve warm (the tartlets will sink a little) or at room temperature with spoonfuls of créme fraiche and extra blueberries.

Makes 8 tartlets.

Source: Recipe adapted from Tarts: Sweet and Savory (Hardcover)
by Maxine Clark (Author) and Martin Brigdale (Photographer) Publisher: Ryland Peters & Small Ltd (April 2003).

Date: September 29, 2006