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Where EAST meets the Northwest

CREAMY CHEESECAKE. Pictured is a serving of Icebox Cheesecake. The recipe appears in the Perfect Cake cookbook. (Daniel J. van Ackere/Americaís Test Kitchen via AP)

From The Asian Reporter, V29, #17 (September 2, 2019), page 13.

Cheesecake without the fuss? Enter the no-bake cheesecake

By Americaís Test Kitchen

We love a tall New York-style cheesecake but thereís no denying itís a bit of a project. Itís also incredibly rich and decadent. Sometimes we want the essence of a cheesecake with less fuss, and we want the tang of a cream cheese-based cake without the weight ó something lighter and creamier to finish a meal.

Enter no-bake cheesecake: The filling is lightened with whipped cream and the absence of eggs makes for a less rich cake. We achieved the best flavor and texture when we stuck to the tried-and-true combination of heavy cream and cream cheese thickened with gelatin.

Allowing the gelatin to hydrate in a portion of the cream and then bringing it to a boil in the microwave fully activated its thickening power. Lemon juice, lemon zest, and a little vanilla added just enough spark to perk up the tangy cream cheese.

And with a few simple tweaks, we created a peanut butter loverís variation, using Nutter Butter cookies in the crust and a generous dose of peanut butter in the cake.

Serve with Fresh Strawberry Topping (recipe follows), if desired.

Americaís Test Kitchen provided this article to The Associated Press. More recipes, cooking tips, and ingredient and product reviews are available at <www.americastestkitchen.com>.

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Icebox Cheesecake

Servings: 10-12

Start to finish: 45 minutes active cooking time

Crust:

8 whole graham crackers, broken into 1-inch pieces

1 tablespoon sugar

5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Filling:

2 1/2 teaspoons unflavored gelatin

1 1/2 cups heavy cream

2/3 cup (4 2/3 ounces) sugar

1 pound cream cheese, cut into 1-inch pieces and softened

1 teaspoon grated lemon zest plus 2 tablespoons juice

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Pinch salt

For the crust: Adjust oven rack to the middle position and heat oven to 325ļ Fahrenheit. Pulse crackers and sugar in food processor until finely ground, about 15 pulses. Transfer crumbs to a bowl, drizzle with melted butter, and mix with a rubber spatula until the mixture resembles wet sand. Using your hands, press crumb mixture evenly into the bottom of a 9" springform pan. Using the bottom of a measuring cup, firmly pack the crust into the pan. Bake until fragrant and beginning to brown, about 13 minutes. Let crust cool completely in a pan on a wire rack, about 30 minutes.

For the filling: Sprinkle gelatin over 1/4-cup cream in a two-cup liquid measuring cup and let sit until the gelatin softens, about five minutes. Microwave until the mixture is bubbling around the edges and the gelatin dissolves, about 20 seconds; whisk to combine and set aside.

Using a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, whip remaining 1 1/4 cups cream and sugar on medium-low speed until foamy, about one minute. Increase speed to high and whip until soft peaks form, one to three minutes. Fit stand mixer with paddle, reduce speed to medium-low, add cream cheese, and beat until combined, about one minute, scraping down bowl once (mixture may not be completely smooth). Add lemon juice, vanilla, and salt and continue to beat until combined, about one minute, scraping down the bowl as needed. Increase the speed to medium-high and beat until smooth, about three minutes. Add dissolved gelatin mixture and lemon zest and continue to beat until smooth and airy, about two minutes.

Pour filling into the crust and spread into an even layer with spatula. Wrap cheesecake tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate until set, at least six hours or up to 24 hours.

To unmold cheesecake, wrap hot, damp dish towel around the pan and let stand for one minute. Remove sides of pan and slide thin metal spatula between the crust and the pan bottom to loosen, then slide cheesecake onto platter. Serve.

Fresh Strawberry Topping

Makes about 3 cups

Total time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

This topping is best the day itís made.

Do not use frozen strawberries in this recipe.

1 1/4 pounds strawberries, hulled and sliced thin (4 cups)

1/4 cup (1 3/4 ounces) sugar

Pinch salt

1/2 cup strawberry jam

1 tablespoon lemon juice

Toss strawberries, sugar, and salt together in a bowl and let sit, stirring occasionally, until berries have released their juice and sugar has dissolved, about 30 minutes.

Process jam in food processor until smooth, about eight seconds. Simmer jam in a small saucepan over medium heat until no longer foamy, about three minutes. Stir warm jam and lemon juice into strawberries. Let cool completely, about one hour. Serve at room temperature or chilled.

Nutrition information per serving: 346 calories (263 calories from fat); 29 g fat (17 g saturated, 1 g trans fats); 95 mg cholesterol; 196 mg sodium; 18 g carbohydrate; 0 g fiber; 16 g sugar; 4 g protein.

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