Make the dough. Sift the flour, powdered icing sugar and salt into a large bowl. Add in the earl grey and butter and rub the butter and flour between your fingers until it resembles breadcrumbs. Stir the beaten egg and water into the flour mixture until it starts to resemble a dough. Use your hands to bring the dough together and shape it into a disc. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.
Prepare the tart tin with the dough. Using a rolling, roll the dough out on a lightly floured work surface until it's the thickness of a coin and 30cm (12in) in diameter. Gently lift the dough into your tart tin. Use your fingers to push the pastry onto the sides of the tin. Trim off any excess, then refrigerate overnight.
Blind Bakeand seal. Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F). Dock the bottom of the tart with a fork, place parchment paper in the bottom, and then fill with pie weights. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove the paper and pie weights. Seal the par-cooked pastry: Make the egg wash by whisking small egg and milk together. Brush the base of the tart with the egg wash and bake for another 10 minutes until the pastry is lightly golden and the base doesn't have any uncooked, 'soft' pastry. This creates a seal on the pastry ensuring that the liquid custard won’t soften for crisp pastry and turn it soggy. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely. Reduce the heat of the oven to 150°C (300°F) whilst you make the filling.
The Earl Grey custard filling
Steep the tea into the cream. In a saucepan on low heat, place the cream and 2 earl grey tea bags and heat gently until steaming with small bubbles around the edge. Remove from the heat and allow the tea bags to steep for 20 minutes. Squeeze the tea bags and stir them around every so often. Make sure to squeeze them gently when removing them.
Whisk yolks and sugar and add cream. In a medium bowl, whisk egg yolks and sugar until pale and fluffy. Remove the tea bags from the cream and whilst whisking the egg mixture, slowly pour in the warmed cream. Add vanilla bean paste and stir till combined. Pass the custard through a sieve into a jug and skim off any foamy bubbles that may have collected on the surface.
Pour the custard into the tart shell and bake. Place the tart shell onto the oven shelf and pour the custard into the tart whilst on the shelf. The custard has to reach almost to the top of the pastry rim. Placing it on the shelf means that you can avoid spillage.Bake at 150°C (300°F) for 40 minutes or until the custard has set but has a slight wobble in the middle.Gently remove the tart from the oven and allow it to cool completely, and then refrigerate to set for 2-4 hours.
Sprinkle over the sugar and caramelise. To create the brûlée topping, sprinkle the caster sugar evenly over the set custard. Using a blow torch, caramelise the sugar until golden brown in colour. If you prefer a thicker crunch, then sprinkle another layer of sugar over the tart and blow torch again until caramelised and golden. Allow the sugar to cool and harden for five minutes. Crack hardened sugar and serve!
Step-by-Step Photos: My blog post includes helpful step-by-step photos to help guide you through making this recipe.To store: Earl Grey Crème Brûlée Tart is best eaten the day it is made. However, if necessary, wrap the tart well in plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 2 days. The crunchy sugar topping will soften though.To freeze: You can freeze the tart before adding the caramelised sugar on top. Wrap it well in plastic wrap and freeze for up to one month. Thaw by placing in the refrigerator overnight. Caramelise the sugar as per the recipe.Make ahead: The tart base can be made up to 2 days ahead. Alternatively, make the tart up until the custard has been baked. Let cool completely, wrap in plastic wrap, and store overnight. When ready to serve, take it straight out of the fridge, sprinkle with sugar and caramelise with the blow torch - it’ll be ready in minutes. This is a great dessert if you're having friends over for lunch or dinner. Less stress on the day is always a bonus right?!Prep and cooking times: include time for making the shortcrust pastry. It does not include refrigeration time.TIP 1: Cold ingredients: Ensure that your ingredients (including your dry ingredients in a hot climate) are cold before using. If you have hot hands, run them under cold water and dry them before handling the dough.TIP 2: Don’t overwork the dough: Bring the dough together with your hands and press together. Only kneed a couple of times if necessary. Overworking the dough will lead to tough pastry.TIP 3: Rest time: Don’t skimp on the suggested rest times. This allows the flour to hydrate from the wet ingredients, and more importantly, the butter to harden. The pastry hits the hot oven; the cold butter will melt, causing steam pockets in your pastry = flakey pastry!TIP 4: Heat the cream gently: Bring the cream to a gently simmer over low heat. This will prevent the cream from splitting.TIP 5:Pour the cream into the eggs slowly: If the cream is added to the eggs in one go and it's too hot, then it will cook the eggs and you'll end up with scrambled lumps throughout!! Not desirable! Pour the cream in slowly whilst constantly whisking. This brings the temperature of the eggs up whilst also bringing the cream temp down.TIP 6:Sprinkle the sugar onto the custard evenly: It's best to have an even layer so that the custard is protected from the heat of the blowtorch. If the sugar is patchy, the blow torch flame will heat up the cooled set custard.