Canada's richest man when he died in 2006, Ken Thomson shocked the art world a few years earlier when he donated his private art collection — considered the country's finest — to the Art Gallery of Ontario. These cherry tarts created by Anne Yarymowich, executive chef at the AGO's Frank restaurant, were a favourite treat for Thomson. Yarymowich fills them with sour Niagara cherries which are packed full of vitamins A and C. Nutrient-rich indulgence!
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
4 oz. cold unsalted butter
4 oz. cold lard
1/2 cup ice water
Cherry Tart Filling
1 cup granulated sugar
2-1/2 tbsp cornstarch
1 lb. pitted Niagara sour cherries (fresh or frozen)
1 small drop pure almond extract
Step 1: Sift flours and salt together.
Step 2: With box grater, grate butter and shortening into flour and incorporate well with fingers until mixture resembles coarse oatmeal.
Step 3: Add ice water a bit at a time mixing well, and adding just enough water to bring dough together. Form dough into 2 flat discs. Wrap well, and refrigerate 10-20 minutes.
Step 4: Roll 1 disc out into 10" round, reserving second disc for another use. (Wrap and freeze or chill.)
Step 5: Line 10" fluted tart pan with pastry. Refrigerate 10-30 minutes.
Cherry Tart Filling
Step 1: Mix sugar, salt and cornstarch well. Toss cherries with sugar mix.
Step 2:Place in saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until mixture thickens, about 3-5 minutes. Add drop of almond extract, remove from heat and chill completely.
Step 3: Roll the pastry to 1/8" thickness. Cut pastry with a 2-1/2"-round cutter, making 20 tart shell bottoms. Place each into a 2" round tart shell mould. Refrigerate for 10 minutes.
Step 4: Cut 20 stars, hearts or circles with the remaining pastry dough, large enough to fit onto the top of the tart.
Step 5: Fill the pastry-lined tart moulds with cherry filling. Brush the tops with a little beaten egg, placing one shape on each tart and sprinkle with granulated sugar.
Step 6: Place on bake sheet and bake for 10-15 minutes at 375°F.
Makes 20 tarts