We are back in beautiful Ontario for Traveling Taste Buds with something for your sweet tooth – Maple-Rhubarb Butter Mini Tarts. The recipe is from Nana B’s Bakery in Merrickville — a family-run bakery offering handmade products using quality ingredients. Their menu is seasonally inspired and includes a wide variety of cookies, doughnuts, butter tarts and cheesecakes.
If you go to Nana B’s Bakery for the butter tarts and other baked goods, stay for awhile in Merrickville, also known as the “Jewel of the Rideau.” Merrickville was dubbed Canada’s Most Beautiful Village by Communities in Bloom. It has more designated heritage buildings than any other Ontario community of their size. It is just one hour away from Ottawa, so if you are visiting our nations capital, put it on your list.
This butter tart recipe is an adaptation of the one that took first place at Ontario’s Best Butter Tart festival in Midland, Ontario. To crank things up a bit, follow the competition rules and use only ingredients found in Ontario!
Makes 48 mini-tarts or 18 full-sized tarts
2 1/4 cups or 430g of all-purpose flour
1 tsp or 6 g salt
1/2 pound or 225 grams refrigerated Tenderflake lard
Whisk together flour and salt; cut in cold fat until it resembles small cheese curds
Gradually pour cold water around the edges of the mixture, toss by hand using a fork, as if tossing a salad, and adding only enough water for dough to cling together
Gather up all of the moist dough and move to the work bench. Shape into a rough rectangle about 4″x6″ and then fold in half lengthwise. Repeat twice more – dough will come together and begin to feel slightly elastic. Fold once more only if needed.
Divide in half, cover portions, and refrigerate until ready to use
When ready to use, roll out a portion on lightly floured surface
Using a 2-3/4″ daisy-shaped cookie cutter, cut out pastry and line the cups of a “one-bite” muffin tin
Refrigerate lined muffin tin until ready to fill
2 cups or 640g of Ontario maple syrup
1 1/4 or 275g cups of brown sugar
1 1/2 cups or 340g of butter
2 tablespoons vinegar
Melt butter until liquid, do not boil
Blend maple syrup and brown sugar together until smooth
Add melted butter and blend until smooth
Once the butter and sugar mixture is just warm to the touch, add eggs and blend until smooth
Add vinegar and mix until just blended – the final mixture will be runny
Unused filling can be refrigerated or frozen for future use
Assembly and Baking
Slice fresh, ruby-red rhubarb stalks. For mini-tarts, the smaller the better!
Place 3 or 4 slices in the bottom of each mini-pastry shell
Add about 1 tablespoon of filling to each shell. The filling will bubble up during baking, so be careful not to overfill.
Bake tarts at 310F or 150C for 25 minutes.
Full-sized tarts can be easily made with this recipe – simply add rhubarb to taste, extra filling, and bake for 35 to 40 minutes.