Earl Grey Berry Tart

Earl Grey Berry Tart


Bright blue, cloudless calm days. Small birds hopping from tree branch to tree branch, singing their songs. Delicate flowers hiding under large broad leaves and barely swaying branches with fluttering leaves. A season matures, the signs outside pointing to fast-approaching hot summer days. Green is everywhere. At least I think; I imagine.

I imagine bright blue, cloudless calm days while I take a moment to distract myself from a mountain of monotonous tasks demanding my immediate attention. I think about small birds hopping from tree branch to tree branch, singing their songs, while I listen to the chatter of a long-trusted advisor explaining the financial report in my hands. I wonder about delicate flowers hiding under large, broad leaves and barely swaying branches with fluttering leaves when I finally take a moment to stop and look through a window, only to find dark clouds plummeting to the ground in a cold, wet fury.

There is nothing in life – in the twenty-six years before now and in the moments which make up the present – that brings me more joy than the handwork, determination, and imagination that goes into starting a company. I find myself facing the most thrilling moments in my life as I stare straight into the biggest unknown I’ve seen yet. I trade sleep for planning. I trade meals with friends for meetings. I trade frivolous nights out for work and I love every second of it. But there are moments I find myself wanting to surround myself with green – calm, worry-free, taskless green.

I scoop a small spoonful of earl grey tea into a small square of cheesecloth, carefully folding up the corners and tying the extra bits into a knot. The clank of a heavy tea kettle rings from the stovetop; I wait for the familiar whistle. Somehow I inevitably find myself back at my computer, staring at more analyses in a business plan. A screech calls out and takes me by surprise. Why did I put that on? Oh yes. Tea. Sweet, calming tea.

Near-boiling water  pours over the cheesecloth into my favorite tea cup. I watch as the pristine liquid slowly melds into a beautiful rich, auburn. I rummage through the pantry looking for that nearly empty jar of gulf coast wild flower honey I know I left there. There it is. I struggle to coerce the last remaining drops into my cup. A silver spoon my grandmother’s grandmother once used finds its way into my hand; I stir the hot liquid and watch the swirling honey disappear. I slurp a sip, eager to taste the liquid without letting it sit on my tongue too long to burn it.

Suddenly I find myself outside, grasping the fresh earl grey with both hands as I lose myself in the green everywhere. It never really mattered what kind of tea I made – whether caffeine laden or caffeine free – it always calmed my mind and body. I wander around the garden admiring new and old flowers, listening to scurrying creatures and picking a fresh strawberry. Wait. When did this happen? Somehow in the blur that has been the past few weeks, I’ve neglected my fruiting strawberry plants. As I finish the last drops of my tea, I dust off a few dark red strawberries and bite in to the sweet, tart treats – holy shit these guys are so much better than what I find in the store. Then I make what could be the day’s most important decision.

I walk inside, clear my schedule, shut my computer, and begin collecting ingredients.

Earl Grey Berry Tart: The combination of flavors in this tart tops my list of new favorites. Never could I imagine steeping tea into custard could be so good – without a doubt my most favorite custard recipe yet. The sweet and tart berries add a pleasant freshness to the tart. Holding it all together is a wonderfully nutty whole wheat brown sugar crust. As far as tarts go, this is a fairly easy one. There are quite a few steps – as there are numerous elements to making any tart (crust, filling, topping) – so I suggest taking your time with this recipe.

Tarts that aren’t baked once the filling and topping are added require baking beforehand. To do this you must blind bake the crust. I’ve explain a bit more about  blind baking below but I suggest being patient with this process, especially if this is your first time trying – my first two attempts at blind baking were big flops.


Earl Grey Berry Tart

Difficulty: Intermediate
 1, 9″ square tart
Prep Time:  1 hour
Resting Time: 2 hours
Baking Time: 20 minutes
Assembly Time: 30 minutes


1, 9″ square tart pan
Rolling pin
Parchment paper
Pie weights or dry beans
paring knife


1 pound Whole Wheat Brown Sugar Crust (recipe below)
1 quart Earl Grey Custard
1 pint strawberries
1 cup blueberries

Honey (optional)


1. Prepare the Whole Wheat Brown Sugar Crust and Earl Grey Custard and set aside in the refrigerator to chill. The dough needs to rest long enough until it is firm enough to roll out.

2. Preheat the oven to 375°F.

3. Roll the Whole Wheat Brown Sugar Crust dough out to a 1/8″ thick square about 11″ x 11″, using as little flour as possible (short dough is a fragile dough; it is best to work quickly as the dough will become too soft to work with once it has warmed up. Place the rolled out dough gently in the pie pan, tucking (taking care not to let the dough stretch) dough into the corners. Remove any excess dough that is left above the edge of the pie pan.

4. Line the dough with parchment paper. Place pie weights or dry beans on the parchment paper, enough to fill the tart pan all the way to the top. This is called blind baking – because you cannot see the dough as it bakes – and is done to allow the dough to retain its shape.

5. Bake the tart dough in the preheated oven for 14 to 16 minutes until the visible edges begin to brown and they feel firm.

6. Remove the tart from the oven and carefully remove the pie weights or dry beans, including the parchment paper separating the beans and the dough. Place a few slits in the bottom of the dough. Place the dough back in the oven and bake for another 5 to 7 minutes until the bottom of the crust begins to brown and feels firm.

7. Set the baked tart crust aside to cool. In the meantime prep the strawberries by cutting the tops off of each – your goal here is to make each strawberry the same height with a base that has the same diameter.

8. Once the crust is cool, pour the custard into the tart. Evenly spread it out so it is level with the top of the crust.

9. Arrange the berries on top in any fashion you wish. To duplicate my tart, first arrange the cut strawberries on the custard forming a grid that is 7 strawberries by 7 strawberries (each strawberry’s base will need to be about 1″ to 1 1/4″ long to achieve this). I suggest starting from the corner farthest from you, creating a L (two perpendicular rows) before moving onto the next row – this will help keep the grid straight and will also prevent you from accidentally dragging your hand or arm on already placed strawberries. After all the strawberries are arranged, carefully place a blueberry in between each strawberry.

10. Serve immediately. You can also drizzle a little honey on top for added sweetness if you’d like.


Short Dough: Most tarts use a form of short dough to create the base. Short dough is essentially a cookie dough (butter, sugar, eggs & flour). Unlike pie dough that is flaky, short dough becomes firm and rigid allowing the tart to stand on its own. Because short doughs often contain a lot of butter and sugar in relation to flour, they are a very wet/soft dough. Short doughs must be refrigerated for an hour or more before rolling out. The brown sugar in this recipe gives this dough a tangy sweetness while the whole wheat pastry flour gives it a wonderfully earthy, nutty flavor.


Whole Wheat Brown Sugar Crust

Difficulty: Easy
 1 pound or enough for 1, 9″ square tart
Prep Time:  10 minutes


Stand mixer with beater attachment or
Large bowl & spoon
Parchment paper

5 ounces unsalted butter, at room temp.
4 ounces brown sugar
1 egg
7 1/2 ounces whole wheat pasty flour
1. Mix the sugar, butter and egg together until combined.
2. Add the flour and mix until a dough forms.
3. Form the dough into a disk and wrap in parchment paper.
4. Place in the refrigerator and chill for a couple hours.
Earl Grey Custard: This is a basic pastry cream recipe that incorporates an extra step of steeping earl grey tea in boiled milk. Take care not to place the tea in the milk while heating it or letting it steep any longer than 15 minutes otherwise the custard could become bitter. Because this pastry cream has corn starch in it, you can boil this mixture without scrambling/cooking the eggs. You should still stir constantly while heating and boiling the custard though to keep it from scorching.


Earl Grey Custard

Difficulty: Easy
 1 quart custard
Prep Time:  10 minutes
Cook Time: 20-30 minutes
Steep Time:
15 minutes


Heavy bottomed pot
Pairing knife
Cheese cloth
Parchment paper
Parchment paper


1 quart milk
1/2 vanilla bean
1 1/4 ounces earl grey tea
2 ounces cornstarch
8 ounces sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 eggs
3 ounces unsalted butter
1. Place the earl grey tea in cheesecloth and tie it shut tightly to ensure no tea leaves can escape.
2. Place the milk in a heavy bottomed pot. Cut into the vanilla bean lengthwise and scrape the innards from the vanilla bean into the milk. Place the bean pod in the milk too and bring the milk to a boil.
2. Once the milk has reached a boil, remove the pot from the heat. Place the cheesecloth bag filled with tea into the milk and allow it to steep for 15 minutes.
3. In the mean time, mix the cornstarch, sugar, salt and eggs together in a bowl. Set aside.
4. After the tea is finished steeping, remove the cheesecloth bag and vanilla bean from the milk. Slowly pour some of the milk into the sugar mixture to temper the eggs. Return the tempered egg mixture to the pot with the remaining milk.
5. Heat the mixture over medium-high heat and bring it to a boil, stirring/whisking constantly. Once at a boil, continue cooking for another 30 seconds to ensure the cornstarch taste is cooked out.
6. Remove from the heat and stir in the butter. Allow the custard to cool to room temperature before placing in the fridge to chill.

AUTHOR - Russell van Kraayenburg

Founder of Chasing Delicious, and author of Haute Dogs, Russell's works have been featured in Southern Living, Men's Fitness, Redbook, TRADHome, and Real Simple magazines and on various sites including Lifehacker, Fast Co., Business Insider, The Kitchn, Live Originally, Quipsologies, Explore, and Fine Cooking. Follow Russell on Twitter @rvank and Instagram. Get more delicious @chasedelicious.


  • Michelle

    This looks delicious!! Perfect for summer :)

  • Amy @ FragrantVanillaCake

    This tart is beautiful! But more importantly, it is unique and sounds amazing! I am curious as to how earl grey and berries would be together, and I am sure I would love it! You are so lucky to have strawberries growing in your yard!

  • Heike Herrling - But it tasted good..

    I was looking all over for tea baking inspiration yesterday, as there was a Fair Trade morning tea on and I have some fabulous Fair Trade tea in the cupboard. This custard tart looks amazing. Thanks for the inspiration – I’ll have to remember this one for next time :)

  • Brian

    Looks like such a lovely tart. I didn’t get the bitterness when I let it steep in the milk, but I did use green tea which was not particularly bitter to begin with. Can’t wait to try out your custard!

  • Sarah (Thyme)

    What a beautiful tart. I am just discovering the beauty of teas. I have a jar of Texas wildflower honey that is so delicious in tea. What a great idea to steep tea into a custard. I would love to try this…

  • Angela @ the fairy bread chronicles

    tea + berries + tarts = love!

    *especially square tarts! there’s something sophisticated about a square tart.

  • RibbonClown

    i love the way you write the recipe. It has difficulty level, tools needed, timing, and most importantly what’s need to be done ahead. this is a perfect recipe layout!

    the tart looks delicious btw. love your pictures, as always. :)

  • Marina {}

    I’ve been meaning to make a dessert with earl grey for ages! So happy to see this amazing recipe. Gorgeous as usual.

  • Nessie @ baking=love

    This looks and sounds amazing! Earl Grey is one of my fav flavours. Do you reckon grinding up some earl grey leaves and adding to the pastry would work? Thanks for sharing!

    • Russell

      Thank you very much. That’s a very interesting idea. I’ve never tried that so I honestly cannot say whether or not it would work. If you try it let me know!

  • Reem | Simply Reem

    You know my grand mom use to make earl grey ice cream. This tart looks absolutely delicious, I am huge fan of tea so this one is on my must make list….

  • Steve

    Your tart is so well done and looks so delicious. Berry tart is my fave but never tried with tea. Thanks for the recipe :)

  • Jennifer (Delicieux)

    Oh my god your tart looks amazing!!! I love earl grey tea and your earl grey custard sounds to die for especially topped with such beautiful berries. By the way, I love the way you set out your recipes and include the tools needed. Such a great idea.

  • Tesei

    Gorgeous recipe, it look soooo good, perfect for the spring!

  • Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar

    Your photos always make me so happy. This tart looks absolutely beautiful. I love it!

  • Cassie

    Wow. Just wow, Russell. This is stunningly beautiful and steeping earl grey tea into the custard for this tart is a fabulous idea. Love it!

  • thelittleloaf

    Earl grey custard and a whole wheat crust? You never fail to amaze me with your inspiring combinations. Gorgeous gorgeous pics too :-)

  • Vishakha

    Love ALL the photos.:)

  • Alison @ Ingredients, Inc.

    This looks amazing as always!! yum!

  • Eileen

    This looks totally amazing. The only problem is that I usually eat all the berries on the walk home from the farmer’s market! Must increase willpower so I actually have the ingredients to make something so beautiful. :)

  • Bianca @ Sweet Dreaming

    Stunning. The way those berries are arranged is perfection!

  • Sharyn Dimmick

    The square tart is a pretty thing, Russell, with the bright berries. I have not yet made a tea-flavored custard.

  • vanessalillian

    What a wonderful combination of flavours. I’m also incredibly impressed you managed to find that many strawberries of uniform size for such beautiful presentation!

  • Bee

    Oh my goodness. This is a gorgeous tart! I love the pattern the berries make, and the Earl Grey custard is so original :)

  • Sarah

    Earl grey with fruit sounds delicious!

  • Joanna @ Chic & Gorgeous Treats

    I was thinking of making something with Earl Grey.. and your post have just answered my thoughts!! I have never had custard infused with Earl Grey before, and can’t wait to try it out. I suddenly feel refreshed all over again after going through your posts. Have a good week ahead Russell!! cheers~

  • Jesica @ Pencil Kitchen

    Just fricking beautiful :)

  • Mallory

    As always, this looks amazing! Infusing new flavors into old standbys is a great way to keep recreating. I LOVE your presentation too!

  • Carolyn

    I love tea-infused custards. What a gorgeous tart!

  • Ken┃hungry rabbit

    Love love love. I must give this a whirl.

  • JulieD

    Very beautiful! I wish I had some for breakfast right now!

  • naomi

    Russell-This is summer perfect! That crust sounds killer and i love the earl grey touch.

  • Maria

    Stunning tart! Almost too pretty to eat!

  • Robyn Stone | Add a Pinch

    Absolutely stunning!

  • kitchenriffs

    I really enjoy the little tableau you always construct for each picture. Good stuff. And this recipe is good stuff – I love Earl Grey tea (drink it every morning), so your custard has my attention! Nice post – thanks.

  • Stephanie

    Tea always makes everything better. =)

  • Sandy @ tinytinyfork

    mmmmm earl grey custard! :) Such a good idea to steep tea into the custard. I’d love to try something floral like rose or lavender!

  • Mary Ellen @ Pâte à Chew

    Gorgeous! I’ve never had early grey custard, but what a fabulous idea. And I love your recipe for the whole wheat brown sugar crust, that is a great idea with a tart!

  • Steph@stephsbitebybite

    This is STUNNING!! It’s almost too good looking to cut in to!

  • The Mom Chef ~ Taking on Magazines One Recipe at a Time

    I remember when we launched our business. It was definitely an exhilarating experience, but I also remember the moments of walking outside just for….change. A few minutes of something else. It can be all-consuming.

    I love your idea of steeping the tea into your custard. It’s brilliant. And your pie is breathtaking. The crust looks perfect, and to me, if the crust is good, everything else follows.

  • Jen @ Jen's Favorite Cookies

    All your food is stunningly gorgeous! It must be a little hard to cut into something that perfect!

  • Kim Bee

    This is really stunning. Your photos should be in magazines. If you ever give photography classes please let me know. I love the mood of your shots so much. The patience to line up all the berries impresses me so much.

  • Kimberly (unrivaledkitch)

    This is absolutely gorgeous. Thanks for sharing

  • Kiran @

    Gorgeous tart!! Almost too gorgeous to gobble :D

  • Viviane Bauquet Farre

    Stunning results for a very provocative dish idea! I love the patterning you’ve done with all the berries and the infusion of tea is just brilliant!

  • Beth Michelle

    Such an interesting combination of flavors. It sounds wonderful and is absolutely beautiful.

  • Denise

    Admire your audacity for seeking and finding somewhat comfort in the unknowns and moving forward. Throughly enjoy the combination of tea in food. Great post!

  • Michelle


  • Kelly

    Gorgeous photos, this looks amazing! :)

  • Laura @ Family Spice

    WOW! Gorgeous! I could dive into that tart and live in bliss! And Earl Grey is my all time favorite tea! I wish I had this tart with my tea right now….

  • RavieNomNoms

    Wow that looks exquisite. You are so very talented!! I feel like I could reach into the screen and take a bite!

  • sarah

    I love this recipe! I usually put coffee in everything, but I always forget about wonderful tea. Can’t wait to try this out.

  • Sylvie @ Gourmande in the Kitchen

    Tea and fresh air are just the ticket when life gets overwhelming and a slice of this tart wouldn’t hurt either. ;-)

  • Jessica

    Kill.Me.Now. So stinkin’ gorgeous!

  • Jacqueline @How to be a Gourmand

    Infusing custard with earl grey tea – genius idea. What a wonderful idea for a tart!

  • Becs @ Lay the table

    Oh my goodness, it looks amazing. I bet the earl grey goes so well with the sweet strawberries.

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  • Amy

    I love Earl Grey. I love berries. I love tarts. I love this recipe!

  • Sommer@ASpicyPerspective

    Russel, this is stunning. I don’t know how I missed it!!

  • Lilly

    OMG this tart looks so beautiful! You are so talented, I’m jealous. I wish I could bake like you!
    Have a great weekend!

  • Beth {local milk}

    I’m a spot obsessed with cooking with tea. I’ve been making Earl Grey Marshmallows and Lapsang Souchong caramel as of late. Your photography is the style I aspire to… I adore them! I study your photos in a kinda sorta internet stalky way.

  • Devon @ the food bitch blog

    That tart is absolutely gorgeous. The berries look fantastic!

  • Kaitlin

    Love love love! This is such an interesting flavor combo and your photos are absolutely gorgeous. Nicely done!

  • Stephanie

    Beautiful photos, probably my favorite of yours yet!!!

    also: “Why did I put that on? Oh yes. Tea. Sweet, calming tea.” STORY OF MY LIFE.

  • Franklin

    Russell, This is impressive not only for its appearance but for the intelligence of blending creme patissiere with Earl Gray. Who’d have imagined this combination along with berries on a sweet whole wheat crust? I’m doing a practicum in a French patisserie, and I will share this with the chef. She loves to work through new recipes, new flavors and looks. Really, a great job on this. I baked your basil mint cake recipe for my colleagues, and they all gave it three stars. Keep it up!

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  • Stacy | Wicked Good Kitchen

    Gorgeous tart, Russell! I chased delicious all the way here from our group Pies and Tarts board at Pinterest, to find your fabulous site. So nice to have found you! (Forgive me? I’m still such a newbie to food blogging.) I look forward to visiting often! xo

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