Polish-American-Style Cheesecake (Sernik Philadelphia) Recipe

Slice of Polish-American cheesecake
Barbara Rolek
  • 60 mins
  • Prep: 20 mins,
  • Cook: 40 mins
  • Yield: 10-inch Cheesecake (16 servings)
Ratings (4)

In Poland and much of Central and Eastern Europe, cheesecakes are typically made with dry curd cheese or farmer's cheese. Over the past 50 years, however, dry curd cheese is sometimes replaced with cream cheese (in Poland, this is known as kremowego serka).

The resulting American-style cheesecake is known simply as Philadelphia after the popular store brand of cream cheese. In Poland, it's known as sernik Philadelphia or sernik nowojorski (New York-style cheesecake).

This is my favorite American-style cheesecake recipe. Unlike some recipes, this recipe includes a sweetened sour cream topping. After the cheesecake is baked, it rests for 15 minutes while you increase the oven temperature to 400 F. The sour cream topping is then spread on top of the cheesecake and the cheesecake is baked for another 5 minutes.

This recipe doesn't call for baking the graham cracker crust before filling it. I think it renders the crust too dry and crumbly. Simply chill the crust while you make the filling and bake them at the same time.

Here are more Polish Cheesecake Recipes you might like to try.

What You'll Need

  • Graham Cracker Crust:
  • 1 1/2 cups graham crackers (crushed)
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 4 ounces butter (melted)
  • Cream Cheese Filling:
  •  24 ounces/3 packages cream cheese (softened)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 large eggs (room temperature)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 dash cinnamon
  • Sour Cream Topping:
  • 16 ounces sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

How to Make It

Make the Graham Cracker Crust

  1. Mix together 1 1/2 cups crushed graham crackers, 2 teaspoons sugar, 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg, 1 teaspoon cinnamon and 4 ounces melted butter.
  2. Press the crumbs into the bottom and up the sides, (or partially up the sides, if desired) of a 10-inch springform pan. Refrigerate for 30 minutes while you prepare the filling.

Make the Filling

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 F.
  2. In a large bowl or stand mixer, beat together 3 (8-ounce) packages softened cream cheese, 1 cup sugar, 3 large room-temperature eggs, 1 teaspoon salt and dash of cinnamon until smooth and fluffy, at least 5 minutes.
  1. Pour into prepared crust and bake 40 minutes or until only a slight jiggle is seen in the center of the cheesecake.
  2. Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Increase oven heat to 400 degrees.

Make the Sour Cream Topping

  1. Increase oven temperature to 400 F.
  2. In a small bowl, mix together thoroughly 16 ounces sour cream, 2 tablespoons sugar and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla. Spread evenly over top of hot cheesecake. Bake for 5 minutes.
  3. Remove from oven and cool completely on a wire rack (do not remove springform pan). When the cheesecake is cool, refrigerate it in the pan until thoroughly cold.
  4. When ready to serve, run a knife around the cheesecake and remove the ring. Using a large spatula or cake lifter, transfer cheesecake to a serving plate, slice and serve plain or garnished with a few strawberries, cherry pie filling or other fruit and whipped cream, if desired. Refrigerate leftovers, covered.