Polish Cheesecake {Sernik}

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Polish Cheesecake {Sernik} 

Poles love cheesecake. Plain, with fruit, with chocolate, powered sugar, you name it; as long as it’s done right, we’ll eat it. The classic Polish Cheesecake is nothing without a good farmer’s cheese, though. It provides a nice tanginess and texture. We’ll eat the cake at Christmas, Easter, any important celebration and find reason to eat more throughout the year. It is absolutely delicious.

When done right it should be smooth, soft, not overly sweet. This version is prepared with orange zest and topped with chocolate ganache. Feel free to skip the zest for more traditional version. You may also substitute chocolate ganache with simple powdered sugar.

Easy Polish cheesecake 

Cheesecake with Chocolate Ganache

  • Yields: 8-10 servings
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour + cooling

Ingredients

  • 2.2 lbs / 1 kg of full fat farmer's cheese*
  • ⅔ c / 5 fl oz / 150 ml whipping cream (30% fat)
  • 7 oz / 200 g room-temperature butter
  • 1 c / 200 g powdered sugar
  • 6 large eggs - separated
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ¼ c / 50 g potato (or corn) starch
  • Zest of 1 medium orange
  • Pinch of salt
  • GANACHE:
  • ½ c / 4 fl oz / 120 ml of whipping cream (30% fat)
  • 3.5 oz / 100 g of dark chocolate
  • Pinch of cinnamon (optional)
  • DECORATIONS:
  • 1 orange
  • 3 sticks of cinnamon
  • A few star anise

Instructions

  1. Turn oven on to 340℉ / 170℃. Prepare 11 inch / 28 centimeter round springform pan by lining the bottom with parchment paper, also cut a long strip of paper to line the sides.

  2. Place farmer's cheese in a food processor and blend with whipping cream until smooth (about 5 minutes). Set aside.

  3. In the large bowl of a stand up mixer place butter and powdered sugar. Whisk until fluffy and light in color (about 5 minutes). Separate yolks from egg whites. When eggs have been separated and butter/sugar mixture is ready, add egg yolks one by one and keep whisking. Slow down the speed of the whisk and start adding the cheese mixture. Add a few spoonfuls at a time, whisking continuously. Finally, add vanilla extract, potato (corn) starch, and orange zest. Whisk on low until combined.

  4. In a separate bowl, whisk egg whites with a pinch of salt until stiff peaks form. Add egg whites to cheese mixture in portions and fold gently until combined.

  5. Pour batter into springform pan and bake for 1 hour. When done baking, turn oven off and let cheesecake cool in the oven with the oven door cracked for at least 30 minutes. After that, take it out and cool completely before placing in the fridge. Cool in the fridge for at least 3-4 hours before making ganache.

  6. When ready to decorate, take cheesecake out of springform pan; with the help of a large plate or a cutting board flip cheesecake to REMOVE PAPER FROM BOTTOM and sides, then transfer cheesecake onto a platter.

  7. To prepare ganache, heat cream in a small pot; do not boil. Break up the chocolate and place in a bowl. When cream is hot, pour it over chocolate and let sit for 2-3 minutes until chocolate melts. You can add a pinch of cinnamon to it if you'd like. After the chocolate has melted completely, mix until smooth.

  8. Pour chocolate ganache over the top of the cake and let cool for about 15 minutes before decorating and/or serving. Decorate with slices of orange, cinnamon sticks and star anise.

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Love,

Anna

*If you cannot purchase it, you can easily make your own (my recipe here) or substitute with cream cheese.


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7 Comments

  1. Dear Anna,
    Firstly, thank you for all your lovely recipes. I made your piernik / gingerbread cake and it was such a hit that I had to make it again and again.
    I am eager to make your sernik but am having trouble sourcing farmers cheese. I know that you have provided the recipe to make it at home, but I am not very confident about making cheese as I have absolutely no experience. Therefore, are you able to suggest a suitable substitute? For example, would ricotta or cream cheese work as well or another type of cheese?
    Kind regards,
    Tina

    1. Hi Tina, try half cream cheese and half ricotta but make sure you blend them together really well in a food processor, like I did with farmer’s cheese. Try making a small batch of farmer’s cheese sometime, as a trial run. You’ll find out it’s not hard. 😉 Good luck!

  2. Hi Anna,
    Thank you for your prompt reply, recommendation and your encouragement. I love your recipes – they are so tempting!

  3. Dear Anna,
    Following your encouragement, I attempted to make both the farmer’s cheese and the sernik. I am pleased to say that both were a success. I followed your sernik recipe faithfully. The only difference was that I did not decorate with spices and orange slices. Instead, I placed diced, candied orange peel on the chocolate ganache. I had made the candied orange peel, also from a Polish recipe, especially for the sernik.
    As you and your friend mentioned in the video, it is not a very sweet cake, but I like it that way.
    Thank you for all your lovely recipes.

  4. Hi!
    Thank you for sharing.
    The easy cheese cake, where is the ingredient to make the crust around the pie? How did you create such a lovely crust like that? Thank you

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