Polish cheesecake -- sernik -- is a dessert you will see no matter what part of Poland you happen to visit. But, as you might expect, there is an infinite number of varieties. Some are crustless, some have pastry crusts and yet others have a cookie or graham cracker crust. Sometimes they're baked in rectangular pans and sometimes in round pans. If you can't find dry curd cheese, you might want to make your own farmers cheese from scratch.
This recipe is for Polish cheesecake with a cookie crumb crust. The filling is very rich and needs no embellishment but, if you must, fresh fruit and whipped cream never hurt anything!
See this traditional Polish cheesecake recipe.
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour, 20 minutes
Yield: 8-12 slices Polish Cheesecake
- 1 pound shortbread cookies or graham crackers (if using the latter, add 1/4 cup sugar)
- 2 tablespoons melted butter
- 2 pounds dry curd or farmers cheese or ricotta
- 8 ounces (2 sticks) butter, softened
- 1 cup + 1 cup confectioners' sugar
- 8 large eggs, separated
- 2 heaping tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 heaping tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 level tablespoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- Crush cookie crumbs in a food processor. If using graham cracker crumbs, add 1/4 cup sugar. While processor is running, pour melted butter through the food shoot until crumbs begin to clump together. Pat crumbs into the bottom only of a 9-inch-by-13-inch or a 10-inch springform pan. Place in refrigerator while you prepare the filling.
- Heat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl, cream together butter and 1 cup confectioners' sugar until light and fluffy, then add half the cheese, mixing thoroughly.
- In a separate large bowl, combine egg yolks with remaining 1 cup confectioners' sugar and add remaining cheese until well blended. Add cheese-butter mixture to egg-yolk mixture and beat until smooth. Sprinkle in flour, cornstarch, baking powder and vanilla, and mix until well incorporated.
- In a clean, grease-free bowl, beat the egg whites until medium-stiff peaks form. Fold into cheese mixture, preserving as much volume as possible.
- Remove prepared pan from refrigerator, place on a baking sheet and fill pan with cheese batter. Bake 50-60 minutes or until golden brown and puffy, and center is just slightly jiggly. Cool completely on a wire rack, then refrigerate until ready to serve.
"I was born in Poland and lived there almost 30 years but I have never seen or eaten a cheesecake with crust made from cookies. That`s not a polish traditional crust. The crust is fully self made using butter, flour and sugar sometimes egg."
This is a good point -- in the old days, that's how cheesecakes were made. But Poland has come a long way and now, from Warsaw to Krakow, you'll find cheesecakes with cookie crumb or graham cracker crumb crusts and even with a sour cream topping like American cheesecakes. Here is a recipe for a more traditional Polish cheesecake.
Barbara Rolek, Your Guide to Eastern European Food