Sernik – Simple Version

  • At the end of 2020 I looked at the statistics for my blog.
  • I found that over the five and a half years  – sernikbaked cheesecake is my most looked at post and has been for a few years.
  • As today is The Epiphany – The Three Kings – I thought another version of a Polish Classic would be good.
  • Recently I got this recipe from my cousin in Wembley.
  • This is  a simple version – not very different from my mama’s but does not have any added butter or soured cream.
  • The original recipe was on a packet of bought twaróg.
  • The original recipe used 1 kilogram of  twaróg and as you can imagine it was large!
  • I have cut down the amount of ingredients to make a more manageable sernik.
  • I have adjusted some of the other ingredients as my own yoghourt cheese is always a little “wetter” than the bought twaróg.
  • There is no cake base at all in this recipe – but of course you can add one.
  • Be aware that the cake rises and then collapses on cooling.

Royal Grafton – Woodside – 1940-1959

Ingredients

  • 500g twaróg – yoghurt cheese or cream cheese
  • 4 eggs separated
  • 140g icing sugar & 2 tablespoons & extra for dusting
  • 1 tablespoon of semolina
  • 2 tablespoons of potato flour (cornflour should be okay)
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla essence or rum

Method

  • Pre-heat the oven to GM3 – 160°C
  • Use a cake liner to line a loose bottomed 20cm or 22cm cake tin.
  • Whisk the egg yolks and sugar together until the mixture is pale and creamy.
  • Add the twaróg or yoghurt cheese and the vanilla essence or rum and whisk all together.
  • Fold in the semolina and the potato flour.
  • In a separate bowl whisk the egg whites till they are stiff.
  • Add the 2 tablespoons of icing sugar and whisk again till stiff.
  • Fold the egg whites into the cheese mixture.
  • Spoon the mixture into the lined cake tin.
  • Bake in the oven for  60 – 70 minutes.
  • Check earlier and cover if it is starting to catch.
  • When the cake is ready switch off the oven and leave it in there for at least 40 minutes.
  • Take out the cake to cool in the tin.
  • Once it is cold – take the cake out of the tin by loosening the outer ring or placing the cake tin with the loose bottom on a tin can and sliding the cake tin down.
    *
  • Dust the cake with icing sugar before serving.
  • *
  • I think this cake is best made the day before you want to serve it – so it is well cooled and set.

Options

  • You can use this basic mix with a number of variations:
  • Chocolate drizzle on top.
  • Mixed peel added to the mixture.
  • Different cake bases.
  • Fruit in thickened syrups served with it.
  • and so on ….

Served on a Vintage glass cake stand and Paragon – hand painted tea plates with a sauce made from thinned down raspberry jam.

Curd Tart – English Cheesecake

I have been doing some research on old English recipes and looked at curd tart recipes – these are similar to Polish baked sernik .

  • Curd tarts in England originated in the early 17th century.
  • In Yorkshire they were traditionally baked for Whitsuntide.
  • Nutmeg is a very popular spice in English baking.
  • Curds are coagulated milk proteins – casein.
  • Raw milk will coagulate naturally when left in a warm place.
  • Pasteurised milk needs the addition of something acidic such as lemon juice, vinegar or lactobacillus (found in natural yoghurt).
  • You can make your own curds. The following is an easy way to make curds and these are the curds* used in the recipe below.
  • *
  • *Polish twaróg or yoghurt cheese is more tangy.

Making Curds

  • In a deep saucepan put 500ml of milk, 3 beaten eggs and 1 teaspoon of salt.
  • Heat gently until it comes to the boil, stirring occasionally.
  • Curds will form.
  • Put the mixture into a large sieve or muslin bag and leave for a few hours.
  • Leave the curds to go cold.
  • It is often good to make the curds the evening before you need them.
  • 500ml of milk will give around 200-225g of curds with this method.

 

Ingredients

  • Around 200g of curds (as above)
  • 110g granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs – beaten
  • 60g currants
  • Grated nutmeg
  • *
  • Shortcrust pastry or a richer pastry such as  kruche ciasto

Method

  • Grease and line the base of a loose bottomed tart tin.
  • Pre-heat the oven to GM5 – 190°C.
  • Roll out the shortcrust pastry thinly and line the tin with it.
  • With a fork, chop up the curds into small pieces.
  • Whisk together the curds, sugar and eggs.
  • Stir in the currants.
  • Pour the mixture into the lined tart tin.
  • Sprinkle liberally with freshly grated nutmeg.
  • Bake for around 30 minutes.
  • Leave to cool on a wire cake rack.

Served on tea plates by Royal Doulton, Counterpoint, 1973 – 1987