Before you wrinkle your nose and leave my site, let me quickly tell you that this combination is very, very good. I probably wouldn’t serve it to toddlers; I doubt they will appreciate it. But a more mature audience will be certainly pleased.
My big thanks to my dear friend Olga who provides me with fresh rhubarb from her garden every season.
Makes six 4-inch tarts
For the tart crusts:
- 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- ½ cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted
- ¼ tsp salt
- 4 ½ oz cold unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch pieces and frozen for 20 minutes.
- 2 large egg yolks
- ½ tsp pure vanilla extract
For the Stilton cheesecake filling (adapted from Michael Noble):
- 4 oz Stilton cheese, at room temperature
- 12 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
- ½ cup fine granulated sugar
- 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
- 1 large egg plus 1 large egg yolk
- 4 oz sour cream
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
For the rhubarb compote (adapted from Michael Noble):
- ½ cup Port
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- Heaped ½ tsp pink peppercorns, coarsely crushed
- 2 lb trimmed rhubarb, cut into ½-inch cubes
For the walnut crumble:
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- 2 tbsp granulated sugar
- 2 tbsp light brown sugar
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 1/8 tsp cinnamon
- 2 oz (1/2 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch cubes
- 6 tbsp ground walnuts
Make the tart crusts:
Combine the flour, icing sugar, and salt in the bowl of a food processor, pulse to combine. Scatter the pieces of butter over the flour mixture and pulse until the mixture resembles a coarse meal. In a small bowl lightly whisk the yolks and vanilla together. Dribble the yolk mixture through the processor tube while pulsing until clumps form. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead very lightly just to incorporate any dry ingredients that haven’t been mixed in. Form the dough into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate the dough for 1 hour.
Butter 6 4-inch tart pans with removable bottoms. On lightly floured surface or on parchment paper, roll the dough into 1/8-inch thickness. Cut the dough into circles a couple inches larger than the tart pans. Carefully transfer the rolled dough into the prepared pans and press the dough onto the bottoms and up the sides of the pans. Cut the excess of the dough. Dock the bottoms of the crusts with a fork and freeze for at least 30 minutes. If you are not planning to bake right away, wrap the crusts tightly and keep in the freezer until needed. Do not defrost before baking.
Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line the frozen crusts with parchment paper, then with dry beans or pie weights. Bake for about 15 minutes, until set. Carefully remove the parchment and bake the crusts for another 10-12 minutes until light golden. Transfer the crusts in its pans to a cooling rack and cool to room temperature before filling. Reduce the oven temperature to 300F.
Make the Stilton cheesecake filling:
Process the Stilton cheese in the food processor until smooth. Add the cream cheese and pulse several times until well combined and creamy. Gradually incorporate the sugar, followed by the flour, eggs, sour cream, and vanilla, pulsing briefly; don’t overprocess. Divide the filling between the cooled prebaked tart shells, filling them just a little below the rim. Bake for 15 minutes or until just set but not browned. Cool in the tart pans on a cooling rack, then refrigerate for at least an hour before serving.
Make the rhubarb compote:
In a large skillet, combine the port, sugar, and crushed peppercorns. Heat over medium heat, stirring, until the sugar dissolves. Add the rhubarb and cook for about 10 to 14 minutes, stirring gently occasionally, until tender but not falling apart. Drain the rhubarb and transfer it to a bowl; reserve the liquid. Return the poaching liquid back into the skillet and simmer until it’s reduced and syrupy, about 8-10 minutes. Pour the port reduction over the poached rhubarb, gently stir to combine. Cool. Refrigerate up to 2 days in an air-tight container.
Make the walnut crumble:
In a medium bowl, combine the flour, both sugars, salt, and cinnamon. Add the cubes of cold butter and work them into the flour using a pastry blender or your fingers until the mixture is crumbly. Mix in the ground walnuts.
Line a large baking sheet with parchment or a silicone mat and sprinkle the crumbs over the sheet.
Transfer into the refrigerator while the oven is preheating.
Center an oven rack and preheat the oven to 350F.
Bake the streusel crumbs for about 12 minutes, until they are light golden. Gently stir the crumbs and bake for another 5-6 minutes until nicely browned.
Cool on the baking sheet on a rack. Can be made several days in advance. Store it in an air-tight container in the refrigerator.
Assemble the tarts:
Generously top each cheesecake tart with rhubarb compote, sprinkle the walnut crumble over the top and serve.