I think this is one of the most Australian, yet also the most Singaporean, dishes I’ve ever made.
Let me explain.
My generation was weaned off of our mothers milk and onto a combination of Milo and Cottee’s cordial, with Swap-n-Go soft drink from the servo being given out on special occasions. And we had a lot of Milo and cordial in our house when I was a kid. We didn’t have Milo tins, we had Milo drums! My mum is a Milo-holic, her Milo-spoon game is legendary. 4 teaspoons? Please, make that 4 heaped tablespoons!! And 1 heaped tablespoon is almost 1/4 cup! There’d be so much Milo in that glass or mug, the spoon would be standing straight up even with milk added.
But no matter how much love Australia has for Milo, it can’t compare to Singapore, or even Malaysia. It has half an aisle in the supermarket dedicated to it! Can you get Milo at any shop in Australia? No? Well, Singapore has it on tap like draught beer. You go to McDonald’s or KFC, you can get a hot or Iced Milo with your meal. Want to go for local food but still want your Milo fix? No probs! You can get your chicken rice or yong tau fu with Milo done up to 10 different ways. Ever heard of a Milo Dinosaur or a Milo Godzilla? They’re cold Milo with a heaping scoop of powder on top, and the Godzilla has ice cream or whipped cream on top. Why haven’t we done this in Australia??
Australia might’ve invented Milo, but Asia has perfected it.
So, last week was Australia Day and Chinese New Year, and I wanted to make something that was both a nod to my heritage and upbringing (Australian) and a wink to the Red Dot my family has chosen to call home (Singapore). I’ve been eyeballing this Milo Cheesecake with Chocolate Crackle Crust by Raspberri Cupcakes for ages, but I knew I needed to modify it for my household. CTO isn’t the biggest crackle fan, and since I don’t have an oven in our flat, all my big cake tins are packed up. So I decided to miniaturise it, so I can share it around and not eat half a cheesecake in one go.
Singapore’s love affair with Milo has to be rivalled by it’s love of Oreo’s. Again, they are everywhere! You can get them in chocolate, on ice cream or fro-yo, or in shakes and bubble tea! I figured that I had to use Singapore’s fave choccie bikkie as my cheesecake base, because I can’t find Australia’s fave, the Choc Ripple, in any of my local supermarkets. I’ve been told they can be found, but it’s rare…
These are relatively easy to make, but they are a little bit fiddly. This recipe requires more than a few mixing bowls and bits of equipment, but it’s quite quick to put together if you’re organised.
Now, don’t be put off by the consistency of the cheesecake filling. I’ll admit, when I first made it I was extremely dubious of the big bowl of cheesy Milo milkshake I had made. Most cheesecake fillings I’ve made in the past have been quite stiff, and this was the total opposite. Perseverance will pay off! It sets firm, and because there is gelatin in the filling, it sets well yet light and fluffy. It’s almost a cheesecake mousse!
Does this taste like Milo? Yes, yes it does. This is one of the Milo-iest (is that a word? Is now!) things I’ve ever tasted, food or drink. It’s a little dessert cup of childhood, straight up.
Milo Cheesecake Cups
Time: 20-30 min preparation plus chilling time
Yield: 12 serves
- 1 pkt Oreo biscuits (137g)
- 1/4 cup Milo powder
- 4 tsp powdered gelatin
- 3 tb very cold water
- 3oomL thickened cream
- 1 1/2 pkts Philadelphia cream cheese blocks at room temperature (375g)
- 1/3 cup caster sugar
- 3/4 cup milk
- 1 1/2 cup Milo powder
- Malteasers, Milo Nuggets, extra Milo powder, whipped cream, etc
Place Oreos and Milo into a food processor bowl with a blade attachment, and grind until crumbs. Scoop out 1 tb of crumbs into the base of each serving cup, and smooth out.
In a small bowl with a tiny whisk or cake fork, blend the gelatin with the very cold water and let it sit and bloom. Set it aside.
In a medium mixing bowl, pour out the thickened cream and whip with electric beaters until peaks form and hold their shape. Once whipped, stick the bowl in the fridge until needed again.
Cut the room temperature cream cheese into slices/cubes and place them into another medium size mixing bowl. With electric beaters, beat until softened. Slowly add sugar whilst the beaters are on, and beat until all the sugar is incorporated into the cream cheese. Set aside.
In a small saucepan, heat the milk on a medium heat until the milk is just boiling. Turn it off, and whisk in the Milo powder until dissolved. Scoop the gelatin in, and whisk the gelatin until it has dissolved into the milk mix.
With beaters on medium-low speed, slowly pour the Milo milk into the cream cheese mix and blend until combined. Stop and scrape the sides of the bowl as required. Once blended, scrape in the whipped cream from the fridge and mix on the lowest speed until all incorporated. The mixture should look like a thick milkshake.
Pour 1/2 cup of cheesecake mixture into each mould/cup on top of the crumb base, and then chill for a minimum of 1 hr. Decorate with whipped cream, chocolates, extra Milo powder, or extra biscuit crumbs.
Adapted from Raspberri Cupcakes
Notes: You can use other chocolate biscuits, I just used Oreo’s because they are plentiful in Singapore. For Singaporean or Malaysian cooks, I used the ‘Australian Recipe’ Milo tin. Use that, or the Milo imported from Australia, it has a different taste to the locally made recipe. Do not use ‘3-in-1’. I used little disposable/reusable cups that hold just under 1 metric cup, close to 1 US cup (approx 227g). If you don’t want to use gelatin, try and substitute it with agar-agar.