1. Sweet Tartlet Shells: Cut butter into bits.
  2. In a bowl with a pastry blender or in a food processor blend or pulse flour, confectioners' sugar and salt until combined well and add butter, blending or pulsing until mixture resembles coarse meal.
  3. In a small bowl whisk together yolks, ice water and vanilla extract until combined well, then add to flour mixture, tossing with a fork or pulsing until incorporated. Form dough into a ball and divide into 2 pieces. Form each piece into a ball and flatten to form disks. Chill disks, wrapped separately in a plastic wrap, for at least 1 hour and up to 1 week.
  4. Heat oven to 400 degrees F.
  5. Form 1 dough disk into twenty-four 1-inch balls, keeping remaining disk wrapped and chilled. Press dough balls into bottoms and up sides of twenty-four 1/8-cup mini-muffin cups (about 1 3/4 inches across top and 1 inch deep). Trim any overhang with a knife and prick bottoms of shells with a wooden pick. Chill shells 15 minutes, or until firm.
  6. Bake shells in middle of oven 12 minutes, or until golden, and cool in cups on racks.
  7. Gently loosen shells with a knife and remove from cups, reserving shells for chocolate bites (recipe below.). Make more shells (for lemon meringue bites; recipe below) in same manner but after loosening shells do not remove them from cups. Tartlet shells may be made 2 days ahead and kept in an airtight container at room temperature.

Makes 48 tartlet shells.

Lemon Meringue Bites

Lemon Curd


  1. Make lemon curd: Cut butter into pieces and in a heavy saucepan cook with zest, lemon juice, and sugar over moderate heat, stirring, until sugar is dissolved and mixture just comes to a simmer.
  2. In a bowl, whisk together eggs and whisk in lemon mixture until combined well. Transfer lemon curd to pan and heat over moderate heat, whisking constantly, until it just begins to simmer. Pour lemon curd through a fine sieve into a bowl and cool slightly. Chill curd, its surface covered with plastic wrap, at least 2 hours or until cold, and up to 3 days.
  3. Fill tartlet shells in baking cups with lemon curd. Chill tartlets, covered, 1 hour. Heat oven to 400 degrees F.
  4. Make meringue: In a bowl with an electric mixer, beat whites with a pinch of salt until foamy. Add cream of tartar and beat whites until they hold soft peaks. Gradually add sugar, beating until meringue holds stiff peaks. Transfer meringue to a pastry bag fitted with1/2 inch plain tip and pipe meringue 2 inches high onto each tartlet, completely covering lemon curd.
  5. Bake tartlets in middle of oven 3 minutes, or until meringue tips are just browned, and cool in cups on racks. Chill tartlets in airtight containers at least 2 hours, or until cold, and up to 1 day. Keep tartlets chilled until ready to serve.

Makes 24 tartlets.

Chocolate Truffle Bites

The large amount of chocolate glaze called for in this recipe makes the dipping process easier. Leftover glaze is an excellent sauce for ice cream.

Chocolate Filling

Chocolate Glaze

  1. Filling: Chop chocolate and in a heavy saucepan, bring cream just to a boil. Reduce heat to low and add chocolate, stirring until mixture is smooth. Transfer filling to a bowl and cool slightly. Chill. filling, its surface covered with plastic wrap, at least 4 hours or until completely cold and up to 3 days.
  2. Put tartlet shells on a tray. With an electric mixer, beat the filling for 30 seconds, or until pale and thickened. Do not over-beat or it will become grainy. Transfer filling to a pastry bag fitted with 1/2 inch plain tip and pipe filling into shell 2 inches high, making sure filling touches insides of shells all the way around (to firmly anchor it). Chill tartlets until filling is firm, about 1 hour.
  3. Chocolate Glaze: Chop chocolate and cut butter into pieces. In a double-boiler or a metal bowl set over a saucepan of barely simmering water, combine all glaze ingredients, stirring until mixture is smooth. Transfer glaze to a small saucepan and cool to barely warm. Glaze may be made 1 week ahead and chilled, covered. Reheat glaze over low heat to barely warm before proceeding.
  4. To glaze tartlets: Holding saucepan at an angle, and working quickly, dip top of 1 tartlet into glaze until filling is submerged almost to shell, holding tartlet over glaze a few seconds to let excess glaze drip back into pan. Repeat procedure with remaining tartlets.
  5. Chill tartlets until glaze is set, about 15 minutes.
  6. Tartlets may be made 1 day ahead and chilled in airtight containers.
  7. Keep tartlets chilled until ready to serve.

Yield: Makes 24

Source: Gourmet - September 1997

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