Monday, 21 April 2014

Polish Easter cheesecake-Sernik

Easter is my fave holiday of the year, even though I was not brought up in a typical Christian religion, and did not partake as a child in any Christian festivities like Christmas, Easter or even birthdays.  Easter has none of the stress and expense of Christmas; just a gorgeous time of year with the summer heat finally dissipating, family, food and bucketloads of chocolate!  What could be nicer?  This year we headed up the coast to Mr Picking's sister to share Easter Sunday lunch with family.  Finally we are having some typical autumn weather- cloudless blue skies and brilliant sunny days with a tiny nip of chill in the morning air- a truly wonderful time of year.  Traffic was horrendous as it was the end of school hols,and everyone was obviously having a last fling at the beach.
Our Easter week started with an unexpected 1000 klm trip out west, and the blood-red moon of the lunar eclipse.  Talk about portentous!  We have finished it with a lovely, food and family filled lunch including a timely roast lamb, followed by numerous desserts and chocs.  Mr Pickings had given me a copy of "Sugared Orange" by Beata Zatorska for my last birthday (I love her books!).  And happily, there is a recipe for Polish cheesecake-Sernik- which is gluten-free, essential when cooking for Mr Picking's other (coeliac) sister (he has 4 of them- sisters I mean!).  This is a wonderful, light, crustless cheesecake-good for coeliacs and other hungry family members!


5 large eggs, separated
500g ricotta cheese-(make sure it is gluten-free if this is a concern)
200g caster sugar - I always use vanilla sugar as I keep a tub of it with vanilla beans inside
140g butter- softened (not melted)
50g potato flour or arrowroot- I used arrowroot as I couldn't find any potato flour!
1 tsp orange essence
1 tsp vanilla essence
200g sultanas soaked in 4-5 tbs of rum for at least half an hour
50g mixed peel
50g dark chocolate chopped into small pieces
250g tub creme fraiche
dark cocoa for dusting
small Easter eggs or other small chocs for decoration


grab a whisk or wooden spoon, and beat the egg yolks and sugar together till well-combined
add the butter and keep whisking that in till you have a smooth, golden mixture
stir the ricotta into it
add the potato flour and the 2 essences
fold in the stiffly beaten egg-whites
add the sultanas and peel and the chocolate pieces

pour it into a lightly greased 23 cm springform tin which has been lined on the bottom with baking paper; you could use a 20cm tin and bake for around 50 minutes
bake at 180C for about 45 minutes- you don't want it overcooked
then take out of the oven and leave to cool in the tin on a rack
when completely cold, take off the cake-pan ring-I find it easier to leave the cake on the base
spread the creme fraiche over the top of the cake and leave in fridge overnight
the next day, dust with cocoa and place the choc eggs on at your whim!

look at those gorgeous cage free eggs!

adding ricotta then the flour and essences

stiffly beaten eggwhites added in and then peel and choc

in and out of the oven!

the final result- so pretty and delicious!

File:Lunar Eclipse.jpg
wow what a moon! (library image)

buy beata's book here-


  1. What a fabulous cake it was. Mr Pickings liked it! Someone at the lunch said it was like an Easter plum pudding, with the rum soaked fruit. Along with lemon tart, choc cake, fruit, the desert portion really was the icing on the cake after a great roast lunch. This sernik is now a firm family favourite.

  2. I think this cake is a definite beaut! I love cheesecake and I'm always curious about Polish food. My grandmother used to make a few Polish dishes because one of her relatives married a woman from Poland and she learned them from her.

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    2. Hi Maureen
      I love the recipes in her books! Polish potato cakes are fab! Gotta try more recipes.

  3. I love the look of this cheesecake Sherry! And what a cute Easter touch to it too :D

  4. thanks lorraine. it went down a treat with the family and looked so pretty.


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