Tuesday, June 26, 2018

ACC (American Club in China/Taipei)-Inspired Cheesecake (No-Bake Vanilla Mousse Cheesecake with Cottage Cheese)

Thank you, thank you, thank you, Angele Colegeo Wright for posting your version of this recipe on FB!!! For my fellow Taipei American School alumni circa 1980s something, who also happened to frequent the American Club in China (aka, ACC) back in the day, I'm sure you remember this cheesecake as an iconic and perennial fav. The texture is light and fluffy, delectably flavored with a hint of lemon, and punctuated with melt-in-your-mouth curds of cottage cheese. I've never tasted another cheesecake like it since moving to the States in 1983 so this replication, which I made for my dad's 92nd B-day after 3 tries, is about as close to the original as I'm ever going to get! 



Graham Cracker Crust:
1 1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
6 tbsp. melted unsalted butter
3 tbsp. ultrafine sugar (or just granulated sugar)
Pinch of salt (use regular iodized/table salt, not kosher salt which is too granular)

Filling:

2 tsp. (1 packet) unflavored gelatin
3 tbsp. ice cold water

2 1/2 cups heavy cream

8 oz. cream cheese
2 cups (16 oz.) 2% cottage cheese
1 cup ultrafine sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract
Zest of 1 lemon
1 tbsp. lemon juice

FOR THE CRUST:

1. Place the graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and pinch of salt in a medium bowl. Stir together with a fork or whisk until combined. 

2. Place the butter in a small microwave-proof bowl or container and microwave about 20-30 seconds or until just melted (keep an eye on the butter to make sure it doesn't bubble up and overflow the bowl). 


3. Pour the melted butter into the graham cracker mix and stir well with a fork or spoon until thoroughly combined. 


4. Place a round of parchment cut out to fit into the bottom of a 9" springform pan (I use a few dabs of the melted butter underneath the parchment to "glue" it to the bottom of the pan so it won't shift around when I'm forming the crust).


5. Reserve 1/4 cup of the graham cracker mix & set aside. Pour the remaining mix over the parchment-lined springform pan. Spread the crumbs evenly over the bottom of the pan. Use a pastry tamper (available from Bed Bath & Beyond, Amazon, Sur La Table and many other stores) or a spoon to gently tamp down the crumbs to form a firm and even crust. Place the pan in the refrigerator.


FOR THE FILLING:

1. Place 3 tbsp. ice cold water into a small bowl. Sprinkle the unflavored gelatin over the water and set aside (no need to mix).

2. Place the heavy cream into a large mixing bowl. Beat with a hand mixer at medium-high speed until the cream forms soft peaks (do not over beat). Set aside.


3. In a large bowl, add the cream cheese (cut into large chunks), 1 cup of ultrafine sugar, 2 tsp. vanilla extract, 1/4 cup of the whipped cream, lemon zest and lemon juice. Cream the mixture with a hand mixer until well combined, about 30 seconds. 


4. Gently fold or whisk the cottage cheese and remaining whipped cream into the mixture until just combined. 


5. Microwave the gelatin mixture for about 10 seconds or until the mixture melts into a clear liquid. Pour into the whipped cream-cheese mixture and lightly whisk or stir until just combined. 


6. Remove the springform pan with the graham cracker crust from the refrigerator. If you happen to have acetate strips for cakes, line the entire inner rim of the springform pan with a strip of the acetate, then tape the ends to secure. If you don't, well, then you can omit this step (it just helps to keep the cake looking good when you present it). 


7. Gently pour the filling mixture into the pan then smooth and even out the top with an offset spatula or spoon. Sprinkle the reserved 1/4 cup of graham cracker crumbs over the top.


8. Cover the cheesecake with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 4 hours or preferably overnight before serving. 



For the crust: graham cracker crumbs, melted unsalted butter, sugar, and pinch of salt.


Place the graham cracker mixture onto a parchment-lined 9" springform pan. Spread evenly over the bottom and tamp down firmly with a tamper or back of a spoon. 


Line the inside of the pan with acetate (used for cake collars-available on Amazon) or parchment, taping the ends together with a strip of tape. This will keep the cake together when you unmold it. 


Cream cheese, heavy cream, ultra fine sugar, graham cracker crumbs, 2% cottage cheese, lemon,
and vanilla extract. 


Whip the heavy cream on medium high. 


Whip the cream to soft (not stiff) peaks, sort of like the consistency of soft-serve ice cream.


Combine the cream cheese (cut up into large chunks), lemon zest, lemon juice, vanilla 
extract, and 1/4 cup of the whipped cream. Beat on medium speed until well-combined, 
about 30 seconds. 


Gently fold or whisk in the remaining whipped cream and cottage cheese until just combined. 


Unflavored gelatin sprinkled over 3 tbsp. cold water. 




Pour the melted gelatin over the filling mixture and whisk gently until just combined. 


Pour the filling mixture into the pan, even out the top with an offset spatula or spoon, then
garnish with the reserved 1/4 cup of the graham cracker mix. Cover and refrigerate at least
4 hours or preferably overnight. 











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