Sunday, 1 November 2015

Poppy Seed Cheesecake

Here's a variety of a Polish cheesecake - Sernik. I've added a poppyseed layer, as poppyseeds are very popular in Poland and I love the storebought jars of poppyseed paste. Here I sweeten a can of the paste (this can be found in most Polish shops) and add more dried fruit to it. This layer adds a wonderful contrast to the creamy cheese topping and crunchy base of the cheesecake. Though this is different to the classic, my boyfriend's Polish family seemed to enjoy it, and I found it delicious also! Give it a try and let me know how much you enjoy it :)

Makes one 20cm cake


For the base:

  • 75g butter
  • 150g oaty biscuits (such as hobnobs)

For the poppyseed layer:
  • 200g poppyseeds
  • 2 egg whites and 1 egg yolk
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 60g light brown sugar
  • 50g chopped walnuts
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • Zest of one orange
  • 100g raisins or sultanas

For the cheesecake layer:

  • 400g soft cheese
  • 1 egg and 1 egg yolk
  • Juice ½ orange
  • 85g caster sugar
  • 2 tbsp plain flour


1. Preheat your oven to 170c/160c fan/gas mark 3. Line the base of a 20cm springform cake tin. Make the biscuit base. Crush the oaty biscuits – the easiest way I found to crush the biscuits was by placing them in a large bowl, and crushing them with the end of a rolling pin. Melt the butter, and pour onto the hobnob crumbs – stir and press into the base of a lined 20cm cake tin. Bake for 10 minutes, until lightly browned.

2. Make the poppyseed layer. Grind the poppyseeds (I used a high-speed blender, but you could use a food processor instead). Add the sugar, honey, walnuts, raisins, cinnamon, egg yolk and orange zest. Beat until well-combined (the honey and egg yolk will make the mixture quite sticky at this stage)

3.  Whisk the egg white in a clean bowl until stiff peaks form when the whisk is lifted from the mixture (this takes around 5 minutes).  Fold the egg whites into the bowl with the poppyseeds in (using a metal spoon). As soon as no more egg whites can be seen, pour into the cake tin and level out.

The poppyseed layer before adding to the tin- tastes far better
than it looks I promise!

4. Make the cheesecake layer. Whisk together all of the ingredients. Once fully incorporated pour into the cake tin, and level out. Drop the cheesecake on the surface a few times to remove any air bubbles.

5. Bake for approximately 1 hour, until there is only a slight wobble in the center of the cheesecake. Remove from the oven to cool. Don’t worry if it cracks – I have a handy trick for that. Once cooled, refrigerate overnight.

6. To remove any cracks, first run a knife around the sides of the cake tin, and lift the cheesecake out of the tin. Dip a spoon in boiling hot water. Dry on a clean towel, then smooth over the cheesecake where the crack is – the cheesecake filling will melt slightly and fill the crack in. Repeat until the crack is no longer visible (be gentle and make sure to dry the spoon every time!). Chill for an hour after de-cracking the cake.

7. Enjoy!

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