• Tired of the same old cold jelly trifles year after year? Why not try your hand at a traditional European Christmas dessert.

    This is a much-loved dessert that you will find no matter which part of Poland you are visiting and it’s especially adored over Christmas time. Because the filling is so rich, it is usually enjoyed as is, but if you must, fresh fruit or whipped cream is in order.

    Recipe and styling by Angelina Claassen

    Photograph by Graeme Wylie

    Sernik (cheesecake)

    Serves: 8 - 12
    Cooking Time: 2 hrs


    • BASE

    • 350g shortbread biscuits, crushed and mixed with 25g melted butter

    • 220g butter, softened
    • 260g (2 cups) icing sugar
    • 900g ricotta
    • 8 large eggs, separated
    • 40ml (2 heaped tbsp) cake flour
    • 20ml (1 heaped tbsp) cornflour
    • 15ml (1 tbsp) baking powder
    • 5ml (1 tsp) vanilla extract



    Pat the biscuit crumbs firmly into the bottom of a greased 26cm x 6cm springform tin. Place in the fridge.


    Heat the oven to 180°C. Cream together the butter and 130g (1 cup) of the icing sugar until light and fluffy. Add half of the ricotta and mix thoroughly.


    Combine the egg yolks with the remaining 130g (1 cup) icing sugar in a separate bowl. Add the remaining ricotta and mix until well blended. Add the butter-cheese mixture to the egg mixture and beat until smooth. Sprinkle in the flour, cornflour, baking powder and vanilla, and mix until well incorporated.


    Beat the egg whites in a clean, grease-free bowl to medium-stiff peaks. Fold the egg white mixture into the cheese mixture, preserving as much volume as possible.


    Remove the prepared tin from the fridge, place on a baking sheet and fill with the cheese batter. Bake until golden brown and puffy, 50 – 60 minutes. The centre should be slightly wobbly.


    Remove from oven, cool completely on a wire rack and refrigerate until ready to serve.

    Imka Webb

    Imka Webb is a freelance digital marketing expert and the digital editor of Food & Home Entertaining magazine.  www.imkawebb.com