Polish Cheesecake with Blackberry Herb Topping (Sernik z Jeżynami)

What makes a cheesecake Polish? The cheese! Instead of cream cheese, which is used to make New York style cheesecake, this uses farmers cheese, or twaróg. Oh, there’s also a cup of mashed potatoes! Why not? Serniks are traditionally made plain or with raisins. And apparently raisins are just as polarizing in Poland as they are elsewhere (I don’t get it, I like raisins).

Anyway, this sernik is paired with a sharp and refreshing blackberry and thyme topping in an ode to the wild berry bounty of Polish forests.

Smacznego!

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Blueberry Pierogi (Pierogi z Jagodami)

Pierogi with fruit fillings are very popular in Poland, Ukraine, Belarus…that whole area. Blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, sour cherries, and plums are common because those grow so well in the region.

Try to make these when blueberries are in season, usually late spring through summer, because they ARE the filling. Out of season, blueberries tend to be, but are not always…flavorless. If you have a craving you can’t beat, you can use frozen blueberries and thaw them before use. 

Once pierogi are assembled, your can refrigerate them and cook them the next day, or you can freeze them for a few weeks.

This make about 3-4 dozen pierogi.

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Farina with Strawberries and Rose Water (Kasza Manna)

Kasza manna/farina is very popular and economical breakfast choice for people all around the world. And while this recipe could be eaten for breakfast, the sugar content makes it better suited for a quick and easy dessert. The simple combination of strawberries and rose water turns this regular old bowl of porridge into something a little more special. Continue reading

Poppy Seed Pastries

Before I go into the recipe, I just wanted to say that I hope everyone is staying safe and healthy and listening to guidance from their respective health officials!!! These days, hand sanitizer is worth its weight in gold, and I don’t think anyone has seen yeast on a grocery store shelf in weeks (why has that been such a hot ticket item along with TP)?

That means there’s 0 chance of makowiec for for Easter this year, as the dough requires yeast. Makowiec is a traditional Polish poppy seed roll cake that is served on holidays such as Christmas and Easter. Poppy seeds are admittedly always hard to find in regular grocery stores, but I had a bag in the back of my kitchen cabinet that I picked up at a Russian store…you’ll find the most luck in any Polish or Russian or other eastern European deli/shop. I also had a package of puff pastry in my freezer. So, with no yeast available in the greater metro area, I decided to make poppy seed puff pastries for Easter this year instead of makowiec. They aren’t the real thing, but they have a lot of the familiar flavors and are faster to put together.

DO NOT EAT THESE (OR MAKOWIEC) IF YOU ARE EXPECTING A DRUG TEST ANYTIME SOON. These desserts use a lot of poppy seeds, and I’m just sayin’ you might test positive for opiates. Yes, it can happen. Continue reading

Sweet Cheese Crepes (Naleśniki z Serem)


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Naleśniki are a basically the Polish version of French crepes. I guess these are also like blintzes (?) but I won’t try to wrap my head around the differences, if there are any (I actually think they are the same). I simply know them as naleśniki and they are fantastic! Continue reading

Farmer’s Cheese and Raisin Pancakes (Syrniki)

 Syrniki

Batter Ingredients (makes about 12 pancakes):

  • 15oz of farmer’s cheese or 2 packages (twarog)
  • 4 eggs
  • ¾ cup of unbleached flour (+ another ⅓ cup for dusting the pancakes)
  • 2 tbsp of sugar
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp pure vanilla extract
  • zest of 1 lemon or half and orange
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 4 tbsp of olive oil or butter (coconut oil could be a good substitute)

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