I am so excited for Shanghai Family Magazine’s April Issue!
First reason, is the photographing session happened at my house as opposed to the studio. So my kids and the neighbors kids had the opportunity to meet my colleagues and see what I do.
The other, and more important reason is the meaning behind this month’s recipe. I’ve been so proud of all of the recipes so far but this recipe has the most meaning to me. My mom makes the best Lemon Dessert in the world! She doesn’t have a name for it but at home we just call it The Lemon Dessert.
When most expats miss home and are feeling nostalgic they start thinking of the foods that bring them closer to the happy memories that are so far away. Or at least I do! The Lemon Dessert makes me feel nostalgic for my yearly coming home party hosted by my parents. My mom always makes her famous dessert. And I always eat my fair share of it!
I’ve had to make some adaptation to my moms dessert because well, I live in China! Let’s start with the first layer. The crust. My mom’s crust is a thick layer of walnuts and flour that she bakes until it’s perfectly crunchy! I deviated the most from that part here because the price of walnuts are so expensive. Instead I used a combination of digestive biscuits and pistachios. Pistachios and lemon compliment each other perfectly. And the best part of it was it’s a no-bake crust. Just process the digestives and pistachios with melted butter, press into your pan or glasses and refrigerate while you prepare the rest of the layers.
Moving on to layer two, the Cheesecake Layer. My mom’s recipe calls for Cool Whip and cream cheese. Cool Whip, for those of you who don’t know is the best “whipping cream” ever created! But unlike traditional whipping cream, the ingredients of Cool Whip are a hodgepodge of scientific words. In a nut shell, Cool Whip is terrible for you. And I love it. Don’t judge me! DON’T!
Cream cheese is no problem to find in China, but Cool Whip is not readily avialable. In fact, Fields had the Bega brand cream cheese on sale. BONUS! It’s my first time buying it and I must say it’s excellent! I like highly recommend it! So I did a bit of online research and found a great no-bake recipe for the cheesecake layer using sweetened condensed milk. I added a bit of lemon zest too because I love citrus!
In the USA the third layer would have been easy. Mom uses lemon pudding. Nope not me. No lemon pudding here so I had to make it myself. I ended up with a nice a beautiful and tart lemon curd layer.
Last but not least my mom would top The Lemon Dessert with a generous layer of Cool Whip but alas not going to happen in Shanghai. I went with a simple heavy cream layer with extra lemon zest.
Biting into my version of Mom’s The Lemon Dessert, I knew I nailed it, even with my adaptations. It’s seriously the best dessert!
I really hope you make this No-Bake Layered Lemon Cheesecake for your family and friends! I would love to hear your feedback and as always, if you have any questions, leave a comment below!