Savory Mini-Blue Cheese Cakes with Port Reduction
- 1/2 cup fine dry bread crumbs
- 1/4 cup finely chopped toasted walnuts
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
- 4 ounces goat cheese, crumbled, at room temperature
- 4 ounces Roquefort or Stilton, rind removed and crumbled, at room temperature
- 8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon minced fresh tarragon leaves
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 3 cups Ruby Port
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 bunch arugula, stems removed, washed and spun dry
- Sliced ripe pears, accompaniment
- Ripe red grapes, accompaniment
- Toasted walnut halves
- Thinly sliced French bread, lightly toasted, accompaniment
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
Butter the 6 cups of a giant muffin tin (2 3/4 inches across and 2 inches high) and set aside.
Place the bread crumbs, walnuts and butter in a food processor and process until thoroughly combined. Press the mixture into the bottoms of the muffin cups to make a thick bottom crust. Bake until set, 5 to 6 minutes. Let cool completely.
Beat the goat, blue and cream cheese with a mixer until smooth. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after the addition of each. Add the garlic, tarragon, and salt and pepper, to taste and combine well. Pour mixture into the prepared pan and bake until set, golden and puffed, but not loose in the center, about 20 minutes.
Remove from the oven and cool at room temperature for 1 hour.
In a small saucepan, bring the Port and sugar to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until thick and reduced to a syrup, 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool slightly.
To serve, run a thin sharp knife around the sides of each cheesecake. Place a layer of arugula on the bottom of 6 salad plates and top each with 1 cheesecake, crust side up. Surround with the sliced pears, grapes and nuts. Drizzle each serving lightly with the Port reduction. Place 2 slices of toasted bread on each plate and serve warm.
Recipe courtesy Emeril Lagasse, 2003