I love berry season. It's one of the main reasons I go to the farmers market during the summer, for the berries. It's not quite berry season yet but there have been sales on blackberries recently so I hopped on the chance to buy several ounces. And I mean several ounces. I may have been a little greedy and so to use up some of the blackberries, I decided to bake a dessert. It was a tough decision but I finally decided on making a blackberry creme brulee tart. Just the thought of tart blackberry custard in a sweet pastry crust finished with bruleed sugar was too good to pass up. And you know what? It was a definite winner.
Blackberry Creme Brulee Tart
Sweet pastry dough
- ½ cup butter softened at room temperature
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 1 large egg at room temperature
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2-3 tbsp water
- 1 large egg beaten
- 2 cups blackberries
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 5 large egg yolks
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 2 cups blackberries
- 2 tbsp brown sugar
- ½ tsp cinnamon
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 2 tbsp water
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
- Make the pastry dough. Beat together ½ cup softened butter with ½ cup sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer. Add 1 egg and beat until combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl. Add 2 cups flour and mix just until combined. Add 2-3 tbsp water, adding 1 tbsp at a time while the mixer is on. The dough will be a little crumbly but moist. Shape into a disc and wrap in plastic wrap. Chill for 30 minutes.
- Lightly dust a clean work counter with flour. Roll out the pastry dough into a circle about ¼ inch thick. Carefully transfer the dough into the tart pan, cutting off any excess. Prick the bottom of the pan with a fork and chill the shell for 30 minutes.
- Bake the pastry crust for 8 minutes. Remove from the oven and brush on the beaten egg on the bottom and around the sides. Continue to bake for another 2 minutes. Remove the crust from the oven and cool completely.
- Make the blackberry custard filling. Combine 2 cups of blackberries with 1 tbsp lemon juice in a medium saucepot over medium heat. Cover the pot and cook the blackberries until softened, about 5 minutes. Blend the blackberries until smooth and strain to remove the seeds.
- Whisk together the blackberry puree with 5 egg yolks, ½ cup sugar, and 1 tsp vanilla. Heat 2 cups heavy cream in a medium saucepot over medium heat until simmering. Slowly add the hot heavy cream to the egg mixture, whisking constantly. Pour the filling into the tart shell.
- Bake the tart for 40-45 minutes or until the custard is set but still slightly wobbly in the center. Remove the tart from the oven and let cool at room temperature for 30 minutes. Continue to chill the tart in the fridge overnight.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- Prepare the roasted blackberries. Toss together 2 cups of blackberries with 2 tbsp brown sugar and ½ tsp cinnamon. Spread in an even layer on a lined baking sheet and roast for 20 minutes, tossing the blackberries halfway through. Remove from the oven and let cool.
- Make the caramel topping. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Combine 1 cup sugar with 2 tbsp water in a medium saucepot. Bring to a boil over medium heat and continue to cook the sugar until it turns into caramel, about 5-6 minutes. Immediately take it off the heat and pour the sugar onto the prepared baking sheet. Let cool completely.
- Preheat the broiler.
- Break the sugar into small pieces. Grind the sugar in the food processor until finely ground. Sprinkle the sugar on the blackberry creme brulee tart and broil in the oven until the sugar has melted, about 2-3 minutes.
- Let the tart stand for 5 minutes before serving.
**Helpful tips and common mistakes
If you've seen my pie and tart recipes, I tend to go the extra step to make them unique. This blackberry creme brulee tart is no exception. First, you have the sweet pastry crust. Then you have the blackberry creme brulee filling which has pureed blackberries mixed in. Next is the caramel which turns into the creme brulee topping. And finally, there are the roasted blackberries on top, because you can never have too many blackberries.
Let's get started with the first component, the pastry crust. Unlike a typical pie crust, this one has the addition of egg and sugar to make it a sweet crust. Whenever you make pie dough, you need all of the ingredients to be cold. For this crust, we're going the opposite and actually need the butter to be soft and the egg to be at room temperature. Beat the sugar with the butter, add the egg, and then add the flour and just enough water to bring the dough together. This pastry crust is going to be more like a sweet cookie than a buttery flaky pie crust. Chill the dough to make it easier to roll out.
When the dough is firm, roll it out to about ¼ inch thick. Transfer it to a tart pan and gently press it into the pan, making sure not to stretch the dough. If you stretch the dough too much, it will shrink significantly when baked. Poke holes in the bottom of the shell to prevent it from puffing and chill for another 30 minutes. Finally, bake the crust for 8 minutes. Brush on the egg to create a seal and prevent the custard from making a soggy crust. Continue to bake for another 2 minutes and let the crust cool. You can prepare the crust the day before to save time.
Tired yet? I hope not because now it's time to make the custard filling. Start by making the blackberry puree. You just want to simmer the berries with a little bit of lemon to soften them. Once they're soft, blend it up and strain the puree to discard the seeds. Mix the blackberry puree with egg yolks, sugar, and vanilla and heat up heavy cream until it simmers, but is not boiling. Then, slowly pour the heavy cream into the egg yolk mixture, whisking constantly. Don't pour the cream all at once or else it will cook the eggs and you'll end up scrambled eggs.
Pour the custard into the tart shell and bake until it's set but the center is still a little wobbly. Check on the tart after about 30 minutes to determine how much longer it needs. Chill the tart overnight to let the custard firm up and take this time for a break.
The next day, it's time to finally finish the blackberry creme brulee tart. Roast some fresh or frozen blackberries with a little bit of cinnamon and sugar. It'll be the winning garnish on the tart, trust me. You can also prepare the berries the day before if you still have the energy.
Next, make the caramel. This step is meant more for people who don't have a blowtorch at home to finish the brulee. However, if you do own one, you can skip this step. Instead, sprinkle sugar on top of the pie and use a blowtorch to caramelize the sugar. Garnish with the blackberries and you're done.
For everyone else, we're going to take a couple of extra steps. In all honesty, I think it actually comes out better this way anyway so don't fret! Combine granulated sugar with just a touch of water and simmer it over medium heat until it becomes golden brown. Take it off the heat immediately and pour it on to parchment paper to cool. Once cooled, break up the sugar and use a food processor to grind it.
Sprinkle a good amount of the sugar (you'll probably have a little extra) on the custard tart. Set the oven broiler to high and broil the tart until the sugar melts, about 2-3 minutes. Check the tart about halfway through because you may have to rotate it to ensure even browning. Remove from the oven, garnish the tart with the berries and you're finally ready to enjoy.
This blackberry creme brulee tart is best served on the day of, just like traditional creme brulee. Over time, the sugar will soften and you'll lose that hardened sugar topping. BUT! That's not to say it will still taste fabulous. I can truly say this tart has won my heart.
For more blackberry inspiration check out this blackberry almond galette!