Polish Dessert Recipes

As you might expect, desserts vary from region to region in Poland, but the items on this list of favorite Polish dessert recipes seem to be universal throughout the country.

  • 01 of 10
    Polish Angel Wings or Crullers - Chrusciki
    Polish Angel Wings or Crullers - Chrusciki. Barbara Rolek

    Because these light-as-air fried bow knot pastries, known as chruściki, are a little labor intensive to make, they are typically only served on special occasions like weddings, holidays, christenings, graduations, St. Joseph's Day and other feast days.

  • 02 of 10
    Polish Kolaczki
    Polish Kolaczki. Barbara Rolek

    Polish foldovers or kołaczki is another favorite Polish dessert that takes a little time to make, so they usually make an appearance for special occasions, especially at Christmas time.

  • 03 of 10
    Polish Doughnuts or Bismarcks - Paczki
    Polish Doughnuts or Bismarcks - Paczki. Barbara Rolek

    Pączki, or Polish doughnuts or bismarcks as they are commonly known, are always served on Fat Tuesday as a splurge food before the fast days of Lent. But these fried cakes also appear at special occasions throughout the year.

  • 04 of 10
    Polish Apple Tart or Szarlotka
    Polish Apple Tart or Szarlotka. Barbara Rolek

    Apple tart or szarlotka is the Polish version of American apple pie, except the crust is sweeter and made with butter. Szarlotka is different from placek z jabłka or apple cake (above), which is leavened with baking powder or baking soda. But, these two desserts along with sernik or cheesecake (below) make up the most frequently seen sweets in Polish homes.

    Continue to 5 of 10 below.
  • 05 of 10
    Polish Cheesecake - Sernik
    Polish Cheesecake - Sernik. Barbara Rolek

    Polish cheesecake recipes have come a long way. Originally made with a pastry crust, in modern Poland, anything goes -- cookie crumbs, graham cracker crumbs, or no crust at all! As with the apple cake, above, there are hundreds of recipes for Polish cheesecake. This is one my family likes.

  • 06 of 10
    Polish Coffee Cake with Crumb Topping
    Polish Coffee Cake with Crumb Topping. Barbara Rolek

    This Polish coffee cake recipe can be made with or without raisins and is only slightly sweet, and benefits from the crumb topping. It's wonderful with butter and a hot cup of coffee, but try it toasted or made into french toast.

  • 07 of 10
    Polish Wheel Cake - Kolacz
    Polish Wheel Cake - Kolacz. Barbara Rolek

    Polish kołacz or wheel cake is a favorite dessert at old-time Polish weddings, especially among the gorale, people who live in Lesser Poland in the southeastern part of the country. It was one of my father's favorite desserts, one of the few his mother had time to make, and one my mother never learned how to make. There are many versions, including one with a lattice-dough top.

  • 08 of 10
    Polish Papal Cream Cake or Kremowka Papieska
    Polish Papal Cream Cake or Kremowka Papieska. Barbara Rolek

    This Polish cream cake dessert was renamed papal cream cake or kremówka papieska when it was learned Pope John Paul II loved it. I supposed it could be considered a Polish napoleon.

    Continue to 9 of 10 below.
  • 09 of 10
    Polish Carpathian Mountain Cream Cake or Karpatka
    Polish Carpathian Mountain Cream Cake or Karpatka. Barbara Rolek

    This Polish Carpathian Mountain cream cake recipe is known as karpatka. It's a peasant version of the more refined kremówka, which is made with puff pastry. Karpatka is made with the same type of dough used to make cream puffs and éclairs, known as pâte à choux in French. When dusted with confectioners' sugar, the dessert takes on the look of the craggy, snow-capped Carpathian Mountains, hence its name.

  • 10 of 10
    Polish Mazurka Pastry
    Polish Mazurka Pastry. Barbara Rolek

    Polish mazurkas or mazureks are flat pastries, rarely more than 1 inch high, and there are as many recipes as there are cooks in Poland. Their appearance can vary widely. This recipe is for a royal mazurek with dollops of jam between the latticework of the dough.