Five Layer Port Berry Tart – Enjoying Summer Berries and Living Larger (if you’re not careful)

A crunchy cookie crust coated with dark chocolate is the foundation for this delicious tart. Layer on sliced almonds and pastry cream. Then finish with port wine-marinated berries. Yum!

Summer has always meant berries to me. When I was young, we would pick buckets of blackberries in thickets behind our home. I have fond memories of hot, sun-drenched, juicy strawberries at a “you-pick” farm…one for the container, one for me. All throughout my summers…berries. I can never seem to get enough of them. Maybe it is because their season is so fleeting.

In their short growing season, wild berries grow abundantly in Alaska. In the past, we’ve picked salmonberries, raspberries, blueberries and currents here on the Kenai Peninsula. This summer, our departure will beat the arrival of these ripening berries. Sigh. Fortunately, the local Seward grocery store supplied me with strawberries and blueberries to meet my berry craving.

This galley-sized tart serves four and was prepared in a Denby pasta bowl. In a traditional kitchen, you might double this recipe and bake it in a fluted tart or a springform pan. A dash of almond or vanilla extract might also be a nice flavor in the pastry cream. These are not staples in Bandon’s galley. Any berries could be used in this recipe. I would imagine ripe peaches would also be delicious.

Five Layer Port Berry Tart



  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter (separated into 2 portions of 2 tbsp each)
  • 12 rectangles of dark chocolate bar
  • 1/3 cup of sliced almonds

Pastry Cream

  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup semolina flour
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup low fat milk

Berry Topping

  • 1 cup of berries, I used sliced strawberries and whole blueberries
  • 2 tsp of brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp port wine
  • a few sliced almonds to garnish


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Thoroughly mix together all-purpose flour and 2 tbsp brown sugar.
  3. Cut in unsalted butter.
  4. Mix to form dough ball (add drips of cold water if more moisture is needed to form dough).
  5. Press dough evenly into greased bakeware.
  6. Use tines of fork to prick dough all over the bottom and up the sides of the dough.
  7. Bake for 20 minutes.
  8. Let crust cool on wire rack in bakeware.
  9. On low heat, in a medium saucepan, melt chocolate and 2 tbsp of unsalted butter. Stir constantly.
  10. When chocolate mixture is thoroughly melted and mixed, spread evenly onto cooled crust, ensuring bottom and sides of crust are coated.
  11. Sprinkle 1/3 cup of sliced almonds onto melted chocolate. Press almonds into melted chocolate. Let cool and harden.
  12. In a small bowl, whisk egg yolks and 1/4 cup brown sugar until fully incorporated.
  13. Add semolina to egg mixture and whisk until fully incorporated. Set aside.
  14. Heat milk and cream in a medium saucepan on medium heat just until it boils.
  15. Whisk in heated milk mixture to egg mixture tablespoon by tablespoon, in order to avoid cooking eggs.
  16. Pour egg and milk mixture back into saucepan and stir constantly over medium heat until it thickens (should coat a wooden spoon).
  17. Continue cooking and stirring for two additional minutes. Cool pastry cream completely. Place plastic wrap over pastry cream to avoid developing a skin.
  18. Take remaining 2 tsp of brown sugar and mix with 2 tbsp of port wine.
  19. Pour port wine mixture over berries and let marinate while pastry cream is cooling.
  20. When ready to assemble, strain berries out of port wine mixture.
  21. Assemble tart by spreading cooled pastry cream evenly over chocolate coated crust and then placing strained berries atop pastry cream. Sprinkle a few sliced almonds on top of the berry layer and enjoy immediately.

The crust and pastry cream can be made ahead of time and will keep well in the fridge. Then you can easily assemble this delightful dessert right before you serve it. We did share two of the four servings with our dock neighbors to avoid living too “large!”

4 thoughts on “Five Layer Port Berry Tart – Enjoying Summer Berries and Living Larger (if you’re not careful)

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