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Pumpkin Meringue Tartelettes

Pumpkin Meringue Tartelettes

With the holidays just upon us, I hope you won’t mind a little pre-Thanksgiving dessert and have to let you in on a little secret: I won’t be cooking or baking this Thanksgiving. Argh!!! Horror!!! Truth is, I never cook or bake that day as I am reminded each year that it is not "my" holiday. Well yes, French people did not have Pilmgrims and Native Americans (we had Romans and Vikings but that’s another story), but Thanksgiving is important to my American. I know that Thanksgiving is more than that, the viking-pilgrim thing is just a joke between us when people ask me what the French do for T-Day. What is important to B. is important to me. In his family dynamics however, I get to sit this one out.

I love entertaining, holiday cooking and baking, having a bunch of friends and dear ones around. Planning, making the menus…I miss this greatly being so far away from my family most holidays. Comes Thanksgiving and my head is spinning with recipes, both sweet and savory and I get to relax. Horror!! I am serious here, I know a lot of you super master entertainers and foodies can relate!! By Christmas I am so terribly homesick that we elope to the mountains and regroup while B. lets me reminisce about my Christmases by home.

If anything, I live for my family dinners as his family is way smaller and calmer. There are no less than 20-30 people at my parents' house gathering around the table for Christmas Eve and just about the same number on Christmas day. There are kids everywhere, toys all over the place, bottles behind curtains (remind me to tell you about that when we get closer to Christmas). There is virtually no room to move around, the garage is the same temperature as the refrigerator so my parents' car is transformed into a cheese and dessert shelf. There is noise, loud noise, jokes, laughters, discussions, disagreements. We eat and chat for hours. B. will say that he needs to train a couple of weeks in advance to match the 6 hour festivities of eating and drinking two days in a row. We do take our time and talk a lot in between courses. One year we tried to rush so that my grandparents would get to bed at a decent hour but they got mad and stayed up with us until 2am….we did not tell them we kept at it until 4am!


One of the things I learned early on about my husband is his love for two Thanksgiving classics: pecan and pumpkin pies. Pecan pie was an easy one to get used to when I moved to the US as it was very close to our "tarte aux noix" that we have in the North. The concept of pumpkin pie was new to me yet completely fascinating. When I exclaimed "pumpkin? In a pie?", he was quick to say "you guys preserve all chestnuts in sugar syrup and then glaze them with more sugar syrup…and you eat them…just like that!!" Ah yes, the Marron Glace! I could see his point, it’s an acquired taste. However, a taste for a cold slice of pumpkin pie is ve-ry easy to acquire!!

Even if we don’t get to have the family over on that special Thursday, we created our own tradition years ago by hosting a pre-Thanksgiving dinner the week before with a few of our close friends. We gather early around in the kitchen and dining area and we cook and bake together wile chatting and sipping wine. Each person has his or her favorite thing to make and eat and early on I started combining my heritage and B’s by combining ingredients I’d find here in dishes I would make back home.

One thing I love in the world of sweet things is meringue. I can eat meringue all day and never reach the bottom of the cookie jar. When time came bring dessert to our gatherings the first thing that came to my mind was to make a Pumpkin Meringue Pie, combining two of our childhood favorites. I like to use a sable base instead of the traditional pate brisee crust and once the filling is baked, I pipe rosettes of Italian meringue on top and use the blow torch to finish it off. We have had this way for the past ten years so I guess you could say we now have our own tradition for Thanksgiving albeit a week early!!

Pumpkin Meringue Tartelettes

Pumpkin Meringue Tartelettes:

Makes 8 small tartelettes (3 inches diameter) or one 9 inch round pie

Sable Dough:
1 stick (115 gr) butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup (93 gr) powdered sugar
1 large egg
1 1 /2 cups (188gr) flour
2 tablespoons (20 gr) cornstarch (makes for a lighter crumb)pinch of salt

In a mixer, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the egg and mix until combined. Add the flour, cornstarch and salt and mix briefly to incorporate. Dump the whole mixture onto a lightly floured board and gather the dough into a smooth ball. Do not work the dough while in the mixer or it will toughen up. Flatten the dough into a disk, wrap it in plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour. When the dough is nice and cold, roll it out on a lightly floured board or in between the sheets of plastic. You will have extra dough that you can save for another use in the fridge for up to 5 days or frozen, well wrapped for up to 3 months. Cut out 8 rounds two inches larger than your pastry rings. Fit the dough inside the rings with your fingertips and trim the edges with a sharp knife. Line the rings with small squares of parchment paper and fill with pie weights or dry beans. Place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake at 350F for 10-12 minutes. Let cool.

For the Pumpkin Filling:
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
1 cup canned pumpkin (not the whole can but 8 oz)
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
pinch of salt
2/3 cup whole milk

In a large bowl, beat the egg and sugar until pale. Add the pumpkin, spices and salt and mix until just incorporated. Add the milk and slowly and mix well. Divide the batter among the cooled tart rings and bake for 20-30 minutes at 350F until the batter looks like it is just set, don’t overcook or it will crack on you. Remove from the oven and let cool completely before proceeding with the meringue topping.

For the Italian Meringue:
2 egg whites (60 grams)
1/2 cup (100gr) sugar
2 tablespoons water

In a heavy bottom saucepan, bring the sugar and water to a boil and cook the mixture until it reaches 245-248F on a candy thermometer. In the meantime, start beating the egg whites firm peaks but not stiff or dry. When the sugar syrup has reached the proper temperature, slowly add it to the egg whites with the mixer on low-medium speed. Once all the sugar has been poured in, turn the speed to high and beat until the meringue has cooled. Place it in a piping bag fitted with a large star tip and pipe rosettes of meringue on top of the tartelettes. Use a blowtorch to slightly caramelize the tops or place them under the broiler in your oven but make sure to keep a close eye on them.

Pumpkin Meringue Tartelettes

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Carina November 23, 2008 um 7:29 am


Do you mean the large or the small can of pumpkin? By the ratios, I think you mean small?

Helene November 23, 2008 um 8:09 am

Actually, it’t not even the small can, but one cup or 8o out of that. I used the remainder in soup.

Chef C November 23, 2008 um 8:40 am

impeccable as always! BTW, i prefer your previous blog header – it was artistic and unique!

Anonymous November 23, 2008 um 8:57 am

it’s breakfast time here and it’s hard to see that :))))))

Meeta K. Wolff November 23, 2008 um 9:46 am

Helen – I can so relate to what you are saying. I freak if there is a family feast and I cannot share a recipe. You know what? How about if you just take a dessert with you anyway? Maybe it will be realized you not only look pretty but can make the most droolworthy desserts ever!!

Like this! It gives me an idea for my own meal on Thursday!


Rosa's Yummy Yums November 23, 2008 um 9:52 am

Really pretty and tempting! Those luscious and delightful little tartelettes look extremely scrumptious!



MyKitchenInHalfCups November 23, 2008 um 9:55 am

I think It’s almost torture. I won’t be cooking either.
Wish I could do these tartelettes!
Pecan is the one pie I can’t resist.

Anonymous November 23, 2008 um 12:09 pm

Your family gathering sounds wonderful! Crowded and noisy with togetherness. I like this grouping of photos. πŸ™‚ Happy unThanksgiving πŸ™‚

Sunshinemom November 23, 2008 um 12:19 pm

I could almost picture something like this when I talk to P – we are both Indians from nearby States and yet the cuisine is so different and so are the eating habits:) Classy pictures as always!

Breadpitt November 23, 2008 um 12:51 pm

ur post make me so envy….haha!btw, those tart looks tempting, aww pumpkin!!!

LizNoVeggieGirl November 23, 2008 um 12:54 pm

Ahhh, I’ll forgive you for not cooking or baking for Thanksgiving – this time πŸ˜‰

Lovely tartelettes!!

Anonymous November 23, 2008 um 1:16 pm

pumpkin pie! I love it! i need to get started right away! πŸ™‚

Cynthia November 23, 2008 um 2:10 pm

I know I keep saying this over and over but it is true – I am so in love with your work.

The Food Librarian November 23, 2008 um 2:22 pm

Beautiful! I love this combo of flavors!

Half Baked November 23, 2008 um 2:28 pm

Oohh I feel for you having to sit out on the cooking for Thanksgiving! Your family gatherings sound like mine. Tons of food and lots of talk and laughter.
Gorgeous tarts!

Botacook November 23, 2008 um 2:33 pm

Whaouh ces tartelettes sont mignonnes et magnifiques!

Varina November 23, 2008 um 2:49 pm

Maroons glace an aquired taste? Pashaw, I loved them the first time I had them. It’s very dangerous now that they are appearing everywhere before Christmas. I’m going to spend all my money on them, and I may not regret it πŸ™‚
I also have to say that I have been using tartes aux noix to get my pecan pie fix and completely agree that they are basically the same.

LilyAnette November 23, 2008 um 2:54 pm

Simple and yet elegant. Very nice.

jesse November 23, 2008 um 3:03 pm

Perfect! Your grandparents sound like such an adorable pair… I love reading about your family gatherings, they never fail to bring a smile to my face.

peachey November 23, 2008 um 3:31 pm

these are gorgeous and, for me, nothing beats pumpkin in a dessert.

your stories are just as lush and beautiful as your photos.

Leacayoungart November 23, 2008 um 3:33 pm

Those looks so good. Wow! I am a pumpkin lover.

Zoe Francois November 23, 2008 um 3:34 pm

These look fantastic! I have tons of sweet potatoes right now and this would be a perfect way to use it up!

Unknown November 23, 2008 um 4:02 pm

In our little family of 4 here, I am the only one who will eat pumpkin pie, though the boys did try this year. Little tarts are perfect since I get to have my little piece of pie, and can freeze the rest for later. Yours look lovely, so tasty.

Helene November 23, 2008 um 4:03 pm

Melissa: I think the joke was missed here and it could well be my English. Having a Masters in Colonial History, I know that T-Day is more than just that. It is an ongoing joke with my husband when Thanksgiving rolls around.

Cannelle Et Vanille November 23, 2008 um 4:49 pm

When I worked at restaurants and hotels before having Jon, I always missed out on Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner. I always had to work, so C and I started having the tradition of hosting Thanksgiving a wee before or a week after the actual date. Not the same but it was nice to be able to celebrate like a normal human being πŸ™‚ These are perfect Helen!

Anonymous November 23, 2008 um 4:55 pm

What a fantastic idea! I have, of course, made lemon meringue pie and I’ve also made butterscotch meringue pie but I never thought to top pumpkin pie with meringue.

Anonymous November 23, 2008 um 4:55 pm

What a fantastic idea! I have, of course, made lemon meringue pie and I’ve also made butterscotch meringue pie but I never thought to top pumpkin pie with meringue.

Lucy November 23, 2008 um 5:27 pm

That was a lovely post – I love hearing about different peoples traditions around this time: eating and chatting until 2am sounds a good one! Your pies look beautiful too.

AimΓ©e November 23, 2008 um 7:19 pm

I think you’ve adapted pumpkin pie to your style very nicely, Helen. These are so pretty!How nice that you can sit this holiday out..sounds like Christmas will have you jumping!
My hubby has 7 brothers so you can imagine what it it like when they are all together plus wives and kids.

raining sheep November 23, 2008 um 7:55 pm

I have to say that when I came to Canada the thought of eating pumpkin horrified me…grandma used to feed her pigs with it. Now I actually don’t mind the odd piece of pumpking pie and if it has that wonderful fragrant spicy taste, then I LOVE it. I enjoyed the family holiday tradition story. Your family’s meal sounds awesome. I must say I love meringue too. Never had it on pumpkin tarts, love in on lemon tarts; your pictures look so scrumptious.

Helene November 23, 2008 um 8:17 pm

Aran: I hear you! All holidays were spent with a bunch of sweaty guys hovering over a range. The worst was NY Eve where B. played music at the restaurant and I was back in the kitchen. It was a 1 minute mad dash to kiss him happy NY!!

Anonymous November 23, 2008 um 8:54 pm

OMG these look incredible. love the slightly toasted swirls. Wonderful photography as usual too. How completely apt for the holiday season!

cindy* November 23, 2008 um 9:08 pm

i too am not having a hand in any thanksgiving prep this year…i am sort of bummed out about that. but, i am planning the christmas menu, so i guess i should be thankful for the extra time to do that.

these are so cute helen, a perfect compromise i would guess.

Christy November 23, 2008 um 9:17 pm

I’ve never tasted the elusive pumpkin pie…it’s not common here at all…J, of course is always waxing lyrical about it.

Wow, your grandparents could stay put partying til 2 am!! That’s amazing, considering that nowadays my parents head off to bed at 10pm.

Hm…I might just have to head down to USA Foods to see if I could get hold of some canned pumpkin.

Leonor de Sousa Bastos November 23, 2008 um 9:18 pm

These tartelettes are so chic!!

I love the way you create true works of art from the most simple things…


Anonymous November 24, 2008 um 12:27 am

Wow! I am blown away!! Not only are those pictures perfect but this is something I can actually bake and that is not a mile long in instructions. Thank you for the simple things too.

please sir November 24, 2008 um 12:42 am

Yummy yum yum – looks amazing!!

Lori November 24, 2008 um 1:04 am

Looks yummy, of course. Everything you make is yummy Helen! You have the magic touch! I just love pumpkin. In a cute little tart to boot!

Love the get together stories. That is how it is at Christmas at our family.

Katie November 24, 2008 um 3:13 am

Wow, what a great idea! And so much classier than the regular pumpkin pie.

Nina Timm November 24, 2008 um 3:26 am

I can relate to you getting itchy when you are not cooking or baking…..We also have those long extended Christmas eve events followed by another day or over indulging.

The tartlettes look amazing. I love the crusts!!!!

Mallory Elise November 24, 2008 um 3:50 am

oh wow they are so cute. it makes me think, arrrggghhh why didnt i think to make that! really look its a pie, a custard, and a cookie. it is the epitome of all that we in the baking world wish to create. iiiiiiiiiii am not allowed to cook for thanksgiving as well. ONE i have to meet my parents at my grandmothers in Vancouver and she….well "cooks" (last time turkey was in microwave) i shan’t be having thanksgiving recipes either. oh lala. : ) bisous!

That Girl November 24, 2008 um 4:10 am

I’m SO sad that my dad decided he’d rather me make pumpkin pie instead of pumpkin tartlettes this year or I would be all over theses!

Anonymous November 24, 2008 um 4:40 am

I wonder what those vikings and romans ate on their first thanksgiving…Your meringue looks simply amazing.


Anonymous November 24, 2008 um 5:31 am

What an elegant take on a Thanksgiving classic! My family is flying out from CA for Thanksgiving and we’re always so traditional I’m going to try something different this year.

Anonymous November 24, 2008 um 6:10 am

Please please please….si tu pouvais nous en apporter 8 de plus mardi soir a dinner, ca serait genial. J’ai deux bouteilles de Beaujolais pour faire passer la commande!

Beachlover November 24, 2008 um 9:06 am

another beautiful creation!! I think this meringue tart is as challenging as macaroon! LOL!

Anonymous November 24, 2008 um 9:11 am

I defintely love all desserts when they come in individual portion as these 'tartelettes' do.

Anonymous November 24, 2008 um 10:25 am

you’re not cooking or baking?!?!?! but i’m sure you’ll still be foodblogging so i can rest my heart. πŸ˜€ these tarts are wonderful! and so prettily presented, as always. my best friend and i have been given a menu to prepare for thanksgiving. and i’m the more american of us two english dudettes, so it feels a little like too much responsibility. pray all goes well this thanksgiving! we have a massive bunch of people coming to eat and i can just about feel my knees starting to knock together in fear. x

Culinary Wannabe November 24, 2008 um 11:45 am

How pretty! You might have ruined your guests for the plain pumpkin pie they will get this week! πŸ™‚

Melita November 24, 2008 um 2:34 pm

As always breathtaking!
I am making French macarons for the first time, following your recipe from Desserts Magazine, religiously. Can’t wait to be done; I wanted to make them for such a long time…

Nic November 24, 2008 um 4:09 pm

Your meringue is perfect. I don’t know if I could eat it all day, but then, I’ve never tasted yours! (Would love to though…)

Bonbon Oiseau November 24, 2008 um 5:53 pm

these are just gorgeous helen! i am ready for dessert please!

My Sweet & Saucy November 24, 2008 um 5:54 pm

There are just too cute! I love the simple shell and the full toasted meringue on top!

Anonymous November 24, 2008 um 6:04 pm

Thank you! This is exactly the kind of treat I was looking to bring to my family’s T-Day celebration.

Manggy November 24, 2008 um 6:25 pm

Hee, we can commiserate over our un-American-ness… I’ve never had pumpkin pie, though, so I’ve a lot to learn! If they ever appeared that elegant, though, I would not hesitate to snap it up πŸ˜‰

Totally LOLed over the image of you parents' cars turned into dessert cases! Bwahaha!! πŸ˜›

Jen November 24, 2008 um 6:32 pm

These are so beautiful and look delicious. I don’t really like meringue (which I’m sorry to say since you love it) but I think I’d try these with just a dollop of whipped cream as a topping.

Anonymous November 24, 2008 um 7:20 pm

I love meringue but have never tried it combined with pumpkin. Sounds intriguing.

tara November 24, 2008 um 8:05 pm

Now how many ways do I love these? Is it for the combination of flavors, or is it the delicate-looking crust, or is it for the fanciful crown of meringue on top? Oh heck, it is all three. These look lovely.

Ivy November 24, 2008 um 8:08 pm

These look really elegant. I love the toasted meringue!

Anonymous November 24, 2008 um 9:02 pm

Makes we wish we could have a re-do of last week’s dinner all over again. Greeting from N.C! We’ll miss you guys on Thursday!

Chris November 25, 2008 um 1:48 am

These are perfection! Of course, I am all about anything with meringue. πŸ™‚

Abby November 25, 2008 um 2:28 am

They’re so lovely!

And I doubt you get this far down to answer comments, but where do you find your large piping tips?

Cookie baker Lynn November 25, 2008 um 3:13 am

It sounds like a wonderful new tradition you’ve started. I love the idea of kicking back and relaxing on Thanksgiving, but that’s not going to happen around here any time soon.

Helene November 25, 2008 um 4:13 am

Abby: I don’t think I’ll be of a big help but I got that tip at a restaurant store back home (France) over 6 years ago. There are very similar ones by Ateco and Wilton but I admit I love that one and I’ll be very upset if I ever lose it or break it.

Anonymous November 25, 2008 um 6:09 am

Beautiful work. You are simply amazing!

Joanna Schmidt November 25, 2008 um 12:57 pm

your photography puts me in a state every time I visit!

PAPATYA SOFRASI November 25, 2008 um 2:17 pm

SΓΌper its very wonderful..Thanks.

ChichaJo November 25, 2008 um 3:07 pm

Thanksgiving is not a holiday over here either but people still like to celebrate it — an excuse for turkey and stuffing! πŸ˜‰ This is just gorgeous!!! I don’t have any canned pumpkin but I do have some roasted pumpkin puree in my freezer…how much would one can amount to? You mentioned above about 1 cup?

Patricia Scarpin November 25, 2008 um 5:58 pm

Helen, these are so adorable! I have to start baking with pumpkin.

Helene November 25, 2008 um 5:59 pm

Joey: you can use fresh cooked and pureed pumpkin, it just may not be as smooth as the pumpkin people are used to here in pies. One can is about 12-14 oz depending on the brand but I only use 1 cup (8 oz) out of that. If you use a full can, you need to double up on the sugar, eggs and spices.

Julia November 25, 2008 um 6:19 pm

Those look absolutely delicious! I wish I was more handy in the kitchen!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Anamika:The Sugarcrafter November 25, 2008 um 7:07 pm

hi tartellete
the pumpkin meringue t' have an absolutely dazzling, lingering appearance and it must have been very tasty…i would have taken a slice immediately.

Vera November 25, 2008 um 7:35 pm

These tartlets are lovely, Helen! They look like the ones I could actually enjoy!

La Tartine Gourmande November 25, 2008 um 8:07 pm

yum, delicieusement bon. Irresistible…joyeuses celebrations.

montague November 25, 2008 um 9:30 pm

i’m back online for 2 minutes and you’ve already got me drooling!

Dewi November 25, 2008 um 9:52 pm

Hi Helen,
I want to confess…
don’t know why always avoid to make pumpkin pie, it just one of those feeling that I know my family and I won’t be please withe the result. I have tried to make it once on thanksgiving way years back. And, we hated it. Maybe my recipe source (couldn’t remember which one) wasn’t a very good. Do you think I should try it one more time? If yes, I probably will borrow your recipe (again)

Y November 25, 2008 um 11:47 pm

Such lovely tarts! Those swirls of meringue on top look great.

Mrs.French November 26, 2008 um 4:07 am

pumpkin and meringue! I’ll take them all please! beautiful! xxoo

Fifi Flowers November 26, 2008 um 4:45 am

THose are beautiful and look delish! YUM! I wish I could taste test for you!
ENJOY your week!

Fahrenheit 350Β° November 26, 2008 um 6:38 am

I like the new banner! My vote is for this one! Can you use this meringue for any recipe that calls for meringue?

Anonymous November 26, 2008 um 8:51 am

Lovely tartelettes and lovely traditions.
Love meringue a lot too.

::::Lula Boutique:::: November 26, 2008 um 12:31 pm

This looks fabulous!! Thanks for this recipe!! πŸ™‚

Anonymous November 26, 2008 um 2:40 pm

Quel coup de main ! ces tartelettes sont parfaites !!

Anonymous November 26, 2008 um 7:27 pm

Can anybody help, is there a cardamom substitute that I can use? For I am unable to find some in my area.

Jen Yu November 27, 2008 um 4:17 am

You make some of the best and most beautiful creations on the web, my dear. These are scrumptious. Sometimes the holidays are a "service" we perform to make others feel better. You are being the good son and daughter-in-law πŸ™‚ Come xmas, you will have a lovely time and I can’t wait to see what you cook up! Have a good one. xxoo

Helene November 27, 2008 um 6:07 am

Anonymous: cardamom is pretty unique so I fear there are no substitute for it. This said, you can leave it out and still get a lovely flavor.
Hope this helps!

Anonymous November 27, 2008 um 10:57 am

These are precious Helen, never did I see a prettier pumpkin pie. Now I want a blow torch for Xmas. I am not cooking this year as I had to work and M has the honors.

Eileen November 28, 2008 um 1:49 am

Your family Christmas sounds wonderful. What great memories to have… and the photos of the pumpkin meringue tarts are gorgeous! I love little tarts baked in rings.

Melissa de la Fuente November 28, 2008 um 7:05 pm

You are amazing and these look so scrumptious and beautiful! Happy Thanksgiving and thank you for your sweet comment over on ML.

spring snow November 29, 2008 um 12:39 pm

I made these for some international friends on Thanksgiving with a fresh pumpkin from my garden and they all loved it. The tart crust is perfect and the meringue/pumpkin is a great combination. Not to mention they’re cute as anything! Thanks for the post and happy holidays.

Rachael Hutchings November 29, 2008 um 3:14 pm

Mmmmm, I can so relate to your love of meringue! I have always liked it, but truly fell in love with it when I lived in France. I especially loved those huge white clouds of crispy meringue that some bakeries sell. I’ve actually been dying to try making some sometime!

Unknown December 1, 2008 um 8:34 pm

Where have I been?
Oh in Philadelphia…
Dash it all. These are marvelous I say!!


Philo aux fourneaux – Blog culinaire December 2, 2008 um 7:41 am

Elles sont adorables !

Philo aux fourneaux – Blog culinaire December 2, 2008 um 7:41 am

Elles sont adorables !

Anonymous March 17, 2009 um 5:12 pm

Helen –

I tried this "sable" dough recipe last night to make a simple apple tart and it turned out very good! I think it was a very simple, easy and forgiving recipe as well!

I’ve always liked your blog and thank you for sharing recipes, tips, advises, good photos, etc.!

Anonymous March 24, 2009 um 7:17 pm

Thanks for this nice Recipes.

Shannon Hellner November 21, 2010 um 1:14 am

This will be my 3rd year making these. LOVE. Thank you!

mobile phone October 27, 2012 um 12:47 pm

Mmmmm, I can so relate to your love of meringue! I have always liked it, but truly fell in love with it when I lived in France.

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