Traditional Polish Cheesecake (Sernik) Recipe

Cheesecake
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    105 mins
Ratings (18)

This recipe for traditional Polish cheesecake or sernik (SEHRR-neek) has a sweet pastry crust and a filling made with quark or farmer's cheese, a dry curd cheese known as twaróg (TVAH-rroog).

If you can't find dry curd cheese, you might want to make your own farmer's cheese from scratch. It's ridiculously simple.

Sernik is one of the most common desserts served in Polish restaurants and at home. Compare this recipe with a more modern Polish cheesecake, which has a cookie crumb crust.

I adapted this authentic and traditional recipe from one given to me by the daughter of Anna Chodan Krol from Rudka, Poland. This tea cookie recipe also is from Anna Krol.

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

What You'll Need

  • Crust:
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 5 ounces cold butter
  • 2 large egg yolks (leftover egg white recipes)
  • 3 tablespoons sour cream
  • Filling:
  • 5 ounces room-temperature butter
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 large room-temperature eggs, separated
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 pounds dry curd cheese or twaróg or quark cheese, passed through a sieve or processed in a blender until smooth

How to Make It

Crust

  1. In a large bowl or food processor, mix together 2 cups all-purpose flour, 1/2 cup sugar and 3/4 teaspoon baking powder. Cut in or pulse 5 ounces cold butter as for pie dough.
     
  2. In a separate bowl, mix together 2 large egg yolks and 3 tablespoons sour cream and add to the flour-butter mixture, combining or pulsing only until combined. If dough is too dry, add an extra whole egg. If dough is too soft to roll, refrigerate for 1 hour.
     
  1. Lightly grease a 13x9-inch pan with butter. Roll pastry dough large enough to line the pan and come up the sides. Fit into pan, making a crimped or rolled edge. (Note: If you have leftover dough, roll it into pencil shapes to decorate the top of the filled cheesecake.)

Filling

  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, cream together 5 ounces room-temperature butter with 2 cups sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in 4 large room-temperature egg yolks and 1 teaspoon vanilla until well incorporated. Thoroughly mix in the 2 pounds of cheese.
     
  2. In a separate bowl, beat the 4 large room-temperature egg whites to stiff peaks. Fold them into the cheese mixture. Pour filling into pastry crust-lined pan. If you have leftover dough, roll into pencil shapes and lay them diagonally across the top of the cheesecake.
     
  3. Bake 50 to 60 minutes or until center is only slightly jiggly. Don't let the top brown. Let cool completely before serving. Refrigerate leftovers.