The secrets to creating the distinctive cowhide pattern and the smooth and silky texture of the Japanese choco-moo cheesecake have been closely guarded by Mrs Megumi Kaino from Farm Designs, until now. It’s a privilege to have her share this recipe with us, as it is the cornerstone of their successful business. Every Farm Designs cheesecake contains Jersey milk from the cows they lovingly farm themselves in Hokkaido, but if you can’t get hold of it, substitute milk from your own favourite cow – just make sure she’s happy and content.
Below is my attempt at making that cake. If you go to the link above for the cake and watch the video, you will find how perfect the original Moo Cow Cheesecake from Mrs Megumi Kaino looks. Let's just say that my version is an interpretation of it haha. It looks nothing like the original, or even like the patterns on a cow for that matter. I tried my hardest to make it as neat as possible but it turned out nothing like the original. As I haven't tasted the original, I don't know how close I got with the flavour. But the version I made did taste very good. The addition of the milk jam and ganache blobs does make it a very tasty cheesecake and the texture is good. I like the chocolate malt biscuit base too. But would I make this cheesecake again exactly as in the recipe? No way Jose. It's wayyyyyyyyy too much work. However, I would make an amended version of this as I will outline below.
As usual here are my tips for ensuring a good bake, or in this case, an easier bake.
* Firstly, while they suggest using Oreos and removing the cream, even that was hard work. For me, I'd just use Chocolate Ripple biscuits in future. The taste will still be great I'm sure.
* The milk jam is soooooooooo much work, and you end up making heaps of it, only to use 40g of it. When I first got the recipe, it didn't say you can substitute with condensed milk, but the current recipe does and trust me, the milk jam tastes exactly like condensed milk and you will save yourself about 45 minutes. Use condensed milk.
* While the chocolate balls look really cute int the cake, again way too much work. Instead I would just drizzle the chocolate ganache into the cheesecake in future and swirl it for a pretty effect.
* The dark drops were again far too hard to pipe onto the surface of the runny cheesecake. I would omit them completely.
* For the filling, the quantities used are all slightly awkward as they're all a bit less than a standard pack size. So just throw in 250g of cream cheese, and 200g of sour cream. It's fine. Will still taste great.
* In terms of the bake, my cheesecake took a lot longer than the recommended time. I'm unsure why. Maybe it was ready at the recommended time but I didn't take it out. When I did take it out about an extra 25 minutes later, it was still a bit wobbly but definitely cooked.
Moo Cow Cheesecake
Cooling time 1 hour 30 minutes
Chilling time overnight
You will need to begin this recipe 1 day ahead as it needs to chill
500 ml (2 cups) full-cream milk
150 g caster sugar
110 g sweet chocolate
70 ml pouring cream
30 g unsalted butter
100 g finely crushed black cacao cookies, such as Oreos with the cream removed
200 g cream cheese, at room temperature
48 g caster sugar
3 eggs, at room temperature
9 g corn starch
5 drops vanilla extract
160 g sour cream, at room temperature
120 ml pouring cream
40 g milk jam (see Note)
10 g sweet chocolate
To make the milk jam, combine the milk and sugar in a small saucepan over low heat. Simmer, stirring frequently, for about 30 minutes or until the mixture is thick and glossy.
To make the chocolate ganache, roughly chop the chocolate and place it in a heatproof bowl. Place cream in a small saucepan and bring to the boil. Remove from the heat immediately. Pour the cream over the chocolate and whisk the mixture together until the chocolate is melted. Cool to room temperature. Roll 1 tsp of the ganache into a ball. Repeat with the remaining ganache. Refrigerate the ganache balls until ready to use.
To make the cookie base, melt the butter (in a microwave is fine) and combine with the crushed cocoa cookie. Press firmly into the base of a lined 20 cm cake tin.
To make the cheesecake filling, knead the cream cheese as you would knead dough, until it is smooth without lumps. Add the caster sugar and whisk until combined. Add the eggs one at a time, whisking each in well before the next is added. Whisk in the corn starch until combined and finally whisk in the vanilla, sour cream, pouring cream and milk jam. Strain the mixture through a fine sieve, but do not push through any lumps.
To make the dark mixture, melt the chocolate and mix through ¼ cup of the strained cheesecake filling.
Preheat the oven to 185°C. Pour the cheesecake filling on top of the cookie base, and tap the base firmly so that any bubbles rise to the surface. Drop in balls of ganache and press lightly to submerge under the filling. Using a piping bag or spoon, use the dark mixture to create a cow pattern on the surface of the filling. Place the cake tin inside a larger baking tray, and place in the oven. Pour hot water into the larger tray until it comes halfway up the side of the cake tin. Bake for 30 minutes, then reduce the temperature of the oven to 145°C. Bake for a further 30 minutes. Continue to add boiling water to the larger baking tray, if necessary. Allow the cheesecake to cool in the oven, then refrigerate overnight. Serve.
* You can use condensed milk instead of the milk jam.