Milk chocolate and Italian meringue tarts are elegant, refined, single-portion desserts, perfect at the end of a dinner with friends. A disc of fragrant pâte sablée plays host to a custard filling. The final decoration is an Italian meringue flambéed for a very pleasant golden effect. Italian meringue is a cooked meringue prepared by whipping egg whites with syrup brought up to a temperature of 121 °C / 250 °F. To prepare it, you need a confectionery thermometer. This chocolate tart recipe is simple to make. Just remember to leave the pastry and custard to stand for the times shown. To speed up the preparation, you can make the custard the day before baking the tarts.
To make milk chocolate and Italian meringue tarts, start with a pâte sablée: mix finely chopped cold butter, sugar, vanilla, flour and salt in a planetary mixer. Add egg, and knead again for a few seconds. Roll out to a pâte sablée disc. Place between two sheets of baking paper, and put in the fridge for two hours. Take out of the fridge, and cut out six portions with six pastry cutters. Make discs larger than the diameter of the pastry cutters by pushing pastry onto the sides. Place six tarts on a baking sheet covered with baking paper, and pierce the bottom of each with the prongs of a fork. Bake for 25 minutes at 170 °C / 338 °F.
Prepare custard: put gelatine in water to rehydrate. Bring milk and cream up to a boil in a saucepan. Add previously mixed egg yolk and sugar, and bring mixture up to 83 °C / 181 °F. Take off the heat, add gelatin, and mix everything with a hand blender. Then add chopped chocolate melted in a double boiler. Mix until smooth. Pour into a bowl and leave to stand.
After twelve hours, fill tart bases with chocolate custard. Then prepare Italian meringue: add sugar and water to a saucepan, and mix together. When syrup reaches a temperature of 110 °C / 230 °F, start whipping egg whites in a planetary mixer or with an electric whisk. When syrup reaches 121 °C / 250 °F slowly pour in egg whites. Continue whipping until completely cool. You get a shiny white meringue. At this point, decorate one half of each tart with freshly made meringue using a pastry bag. Complete the dessert by flambéing the meringue with a culinary blow torch.