One of the most popular cakes in Poland is cheesecake. There are endless numbers of recipes. There are people who like it moister and some who prefer it drier. Some prefer it with a base, other without. But a typical Polish cheesecake is made with twaróg (a curd cheese) and bakalie.
TWARÓG – If you are living in Ireland, you will find it in any Polish shop, or even in Tesco or Fresh. It comes with different fat content – full fat, half fat, and non-fat. For cheesecakes, the best one is full fat.
To use it in cheesecake you need to grind it 2 to 3 times in a meat grinder to make it smoother. You can also find a preprepared grind cheese in shops, but you must be careful because some of these products are adding butter, sugar and other extras you don’t really want.
BAKALIE – It is the word I miss so much. Bakalie is a mix of raisins, walnuts, hazelnuts, almonds, candied orange zest, dry apricots, and plums. There are no rules on proportions, it always to your own liking. So it is a very useful word, you mention to add a handful of bakalie into a cake or muffins and you don’t have to list.
My mum loves cheesecake with a big amount of raisins. As a child I always removed them, now I can take it, but if I am one to decide what to add, I will go for candied orange zest and almonds.
Anyway, this cheesecake is really delicious, moist and rich, very festive. Like all cheesecakes, it has a tendency to lower itself after cooling down, but it is typical and it tastes delicious anyway, so don’t worry. So come one, try it. It is worth it.
Traditional Polish Cheesecake
- 250g butter, room temperature
- 1,3 kg full-fat or half fat curd cheese, minced at least twice
- 10 large eggs, whites and yolks separately
- 450g caster sugar
- 6 Tbsp semolina (Polish – kasza manna)
- 40g custard powder (Polish – budyń)
- seeds from 2 vanilla pods + 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 cup double cream (30% fat)
- 1/2 – 3/4 cup your favorite dried fruits (raisins or candied orange peel)
Beat butter until light and fluffy. Add curd cheese slowly, still beating.
In a separate bowl beat egg yolks with sugar till creamy and white. Add to cheesecake mixture and mix just to combine.
Add to cheesecake mixture the rest of ingredients: semolina, custard powder, vanilla. Mix together till just combined.
In a bowl whip double cream. In another bowl whip egg whites. Carefully stir into cheesecake mixture double cream, egg whites and dried fruits.
Grease a baking tin and line with baking paper. Place cheesecake mixture in a tin and smooth down. Bake at 170ºC/150ºC fan for about 60 minutes. Cool down with a slightly ajar oven and place in a fridge for a night. Decorate. Keep in a fridge for max. 5-7 days. It is easily cut when cold, with a thin, sharp knife. Enjoy!