With rhubarb in season this month, we couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate St George’s Day than with this sweet, sharp and quintessentially English fruit. An ideal canvas for our rhubarb is this smooth, creamy cheesecake made with organic white chocolate. We’ve poached the rhubarb in Earl Grey tea to add a perfumed note that will cut through the rhubarb’s acidity and is, of course, just as English in origin. Happy St George’s Day!
200g oat biscuits
85g butter melted
450g organic white chocolate
284ml pot double cream
400g full fat soft cheese
1 tsp vanilla essence
5 tbsp early grey tea leaves
6 tbsp sugar
4 sticks rhubarb, cut into 3cm pieces
1. Heat the oven to 180C/fan 160C/gas 4. Line the base of a 23cm spring form tin with baking parchment.
2. Whizz the biscuits in a food processor until they resemble breadcrumbs. Pour in the melted butter, whizz briefly again, then tip the mixture into the tin and press down firmly. Bake in the pre-heated oven for 10 minutes, then leave cool.
3. Reduce oven temperature to 140C/fan 120C/gas 1. Wrap a double layer of foil, lined with cling film, around the base and sides of the tin to make it watertight.
4. Break 400g of the white chocolate into a pan, then pour in the cream and heat until the chocolate has melted. Leave to cool slightly. In a bowl, blend together the cream cheese, eggs and vanilla essence together with the melted chocolate and cream until smooth.
5. Put the tin in a deep roasting tray, then pour in the filling. Half-fill the roasting tray with boiling water then bake for 1 hour, then turn the oven off. Leave to cool in the oven with the door slightly ajar for 1-2 hours. Lift the tin from the water, discard the foil, then cover with cling film and chill for a further 2 hours in the fridge.
6. The cheesecake can be made up to 3 days ahead. Grate the remaining chocolate over the cheesecake before serving.
7. For the rhubarb, make a pot of tea with 800ml of water and all of the earl grey tea leaves and infuse for 4-5 minutes. Strain into a small saucepan, add the sugar and then the rhubarb.
8. Bring to a gentle simmer over a low-medium heat and poach the rhubarb for about 5 minutes, until just tender, then remove from the liquid.
9. Place two or three pieces of the poached rhubarb on each slice of chilled cheesecake before serving.
[ Image provided by Ben O’ Donogue ]