December has arrived, and that means only one thing: Christmas time is here! Now if you’re a bit like us, you won’t care much for the birth of baby Jesus and even silly presents you don’t even need, for Christmas’ main attraction is food, and there’s no present like a gloriously filled Christmas table. With this in mind, Kafkadesk’s very own Chef Paulina Kotkowska has prepared a series of Polish Christmas recipes to countdown to C-Day! What’s on the menu today? Her very own Babcia’s Sernik, the Polish Christmas cheesecake…
Sernik is one of the most common desserts served in Polish restaurants and at home. You can find endless numbers of recipes, more or less dry, with or without a base, plain or with fruits inside… And there is no Christmas Eve without a good piece of sernik to finish it! Ser means cheese in Polish that’s why sernik is the Polish word for cheesecake. In Poland, sernik is made with a cheese named twaróg, a special kind of dry curd cheese.
This is my Babcia’s recipe. Babcia means grandmother in Polish. She used to make it every year for Christmas and I want to share it with you today!
Yields: 10 servings
Preparation time: 45 min
- 1kg fresh dry curd cheese (a fresh none fat cheese that not too liquid)
- 300g icing sugar
- 100g room-temperature butter
- 5 room-temperature eggs
- 250g potatoes cooked the day before
- 10g vanilla sugar
- 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
How to make a sernik
- Crack the eggs, separate yolks from egg whites.
- Beat egg yolks, sugar, vanilla sugar and butter in a bowl. Stir well to obtain a smooth and fluffy mixture.
- Mash the potatoes with the fresh cheese.
- Add the first mixture with the egg yolks. Stir well together. Dust with flour while stiring.
- Heat the oven to 180°C.
- Add a pinch of salt to the egg whites and beat them to stiff peaks. Carefully add them to the mixture.
- Place all your mixture into a springform cake tin, previously buttered and dusted with flour or covered with baking paper.
- Bake for one hour, until it has raised and it’s lightly browned.
- Turn oven off and let cool with door ajar.
- Cool well before remove it from the tin.
- Dust the cake with icing sugar and serve cool.
Poles usually add raisins and orange peels into the cake. You can add them at the end after mixing the egg whites into the mixture (step 6).
It’s not easy to find a good dry curd cheese for this recipe. To make things easier, you can replace it by 750g of ricotta and 350g of mascarpone. If you choose this option, don’t add the butter and the cooked potatoes. And if you find a cheese that’s a bit too liquid, you can add a little more of flour or cooked potatoes.
Sernik can keep it around 4-5 days after in the fridge.
Smacznego… and Wesołych Świąt!
To complete your Polish Christmas table, don’t forget to also check out Chef Kotkowska’s Barszcz Czerwony, the traditional Christmas Eve beetroot soup, her Ryba po Grecku, the Polish “Greek-style” fish, and her Makowiec, the famous Christmas Eve poppy seed roll…