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Seromakowiec Polish Poppy Seed Cheesecake Recipe

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Seromakowiec cheesecake in a black plate.
This Polish poppy seed and cottage cheese cake is perfect for Christmas!

Seromakowiec is a Polish poppy seed cheesecake recipe that takes the makowiec to another level. The cheesecake layer added on top of the earthy poppy seed layer offers an intense earthiness offset by the sweet and acidic cottage cheese layer. 

What Is Seromakowiec? What Is Polish Poppy Seed Cheesecake? 

If you love the traditional Polish makowiec rolls made with poppy seed filling, you’ll love the seromakowiec. An Eastern European baked cheesecake that stands out because of the thick layer of dark poppy seed filling or masa makowiec, the Polish poppy seed cake is earthy yet slightly tangy at the same time. 

The bottom layer of the Polish poppy seed cheesecake consists of a crumbly cake dough layer, which is then covered by the masa makowiec, and then finally with the tangy cheesecake layer.

Sermakowiec doesn’t need any additional toppings, but sometimes decorations such as candied peel or chocolate glaze are added. At other times, the cake can be decorated in a sporty chessboard fashion!

Seromakowiec cheesecake in a black plate.
Seromakowiec cheesecake

What Is The Difference Between Makowiece and Seromakowiec?

Although both Polish desserts are popular at Easter and Christmas, and made with poppy seed filling, there are a few noticeable differences. 

  • Makowiec is made with yeast, while seromakowiec uses baking powder
  • Makowiec loaf cake is baked in the form of a rolled log, while the Polish cheesecake with poppy seeds is in the shape of a layered cake

What Is Masa Makowa?

Masa makowa is a mixture of poppy seeds, egg whites honey, butter, nuts, and candied fruit that’s used as the filling for the makowiec cake or seromakwiec cake.

Some versions of the recipe, such as the one in The Polish Kitchen written by Mary Pininska in 2008 also contain brandy. If you’re not serving seromakowiec to children, you might consider adding some.

How To Make Polish Cheesecake With Poppy Seeds?

Step I – Make The Polish Poppy Seed Cheesecake Dough

This Polish poppy seed cheesecake recipe is easy to make. Start by making a mixture of beaten egg yolks, sugar, and butter. Then add in the flour and baking powder, and beat again.

In another bowl, beat the egg whites till it’s stiff. Add the stiff egg whites to the dough while stirring slowly.

Seromakowiec Polish Poppy Seed Cheesecake dough being blended.
You can use a food processor to blend the dough

Step II – Make The Cheese Cake Layer

Beat egg yolks with sugar and add ground cheese to it.

In another bowl, beat the egg whites till stiff and slowly mix in with the cheese mixture.

Step III – Prepare The Poppy Seed Layer

Soak the poppy seeds in water, preferably overnight. On the next day, cook the poppy seeds for 30 minutes. Drain and grind the poppy seeds a few times till they reach the consistency you like.

Mix the ground poppy seeds with melted butter and honey, before adding in beaten egg whites and stirring well. If you find it too tedious, buy canned poppy seed filling and use that.

Poppy seed filling in a bowl next to cheesecake ingredients in another bowl.
Poppy seed filling and cheesecake mixture

Step IV – Assemble The Seromakowiec And Bake It!

Preheat the oven to 356°F (180°C) and line a cake tin with parchment paper.

Place the dough at the bottom, followed by the poppy seed filling, and finally the cheese layer. Bake, cool, and serve!

Chessboard style seromakowiec cake.
Chessboard style seromakowiec cake
Seromakowiec cheesecake on a black plate.
You can make the masa makowiec layer thicker!

Tips For Making Seromakowiec Perfectly!

  • The longer you soak the poppy seeds the better. If you plan in advance, soak them overnight.
  • You can replace the bottom cake layer with a layer of graham cracker or shortbread cookie crust. 
  • Add vanilla essence or lemon zest to the cheesecake layer if you like. 
  •  To make the base more crunch, you can replace some tablespoons of all-purpose flour with semolina.
  • Top the cheesecake layer with candied orange or lemon peel. 
  • You can mix dried fruit and nuts in the poppy seed layer.
  • You can use homemade farmer’s cheese for the cheesecake layer.
  • Instead of layers, you can make the seromakowiec in a chessboard format. 
  • It’s best to make seromakowiec a day in advance if you can!
  • Tastes best when served cold! 
Polish poppyseed cheesecake on a black plate.
Polish poppy seed cheesecake is perfect for Christmas or Easter!

FAQs About Making Seromakowiec Polish Poppy Seed Cheesecake 

How Do You Pronounce Seromakowiec?

Makowiec is pronounced ser-oh-mak-ov-yets or seh-roh-mah-kov-yets.

The Poppy Seed Layer Is Difficult To Make. Can I Replace It With Anything?

If it’s difficult to make the poppy seed layer at home, you can use a store-bought version. I recommend this one from Helio.

What Toppings Can I Add To The Polish Poppy Seed Cheesecake?

You can decorate this poppy seed cheesecake with candied peel, jam, icing sugar, or chocolate glaze. You can also cover it with toasted sesame seeds or poppy seeds for a nuttier flavor. 

Why Is Polish Poppy Seed Cake Served For Easter?

There is a legend that when Jesus Christ’s blood touched the ground at the crucifixion, poppy flowers sprang up from there. As a reminder of his death and resurrection poppy seeds are incorporated into the Easter menu in the form of makowiec or seromakowiec cakes. 

What Other Polish Dishes Can I Make For Easter?

Other Polish dishes that can be made for Easter include:

Can I Refrigerate Or Freeze Leftover Seromakowiec?

Yes, you can cover it with a lid or aluminum foil and store the leftover Polish poppy seed cheesecake in the refrigerator for 5 to 7 days. You can also freeze leftover seromakowiec in an airtight container for a month. If you try to freeze it for longer, it will still be edible but will lose texture. 

Seromakowiec Polish Poppy Seed Cheesecake Recipe

Yield: 25

Seromakowiec Polish Poppy Seed Cheesecake Recipe

Seromakowiec cheesecake in a black plate.

Seromakowiec is a Polish poppy seed cheesecake recipe consisting of a cheesecake layer added on top of the earthy poppy seed layer. Earthy, sweet, and somewhat tangy, this traditional cake is gratifying.

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time 2 hours

Ingredients

Dough ingredients

  • 6 eggs
  • 1 ½ cup of sugar
  • 2 sticks (220g) of butter
  • 2 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsps of baking powder

Cheese layer

  • 18 oz (½ kg) of cottage cheese
  • ½ stick (55g) of butter
  • ½ cup (100g) of sugar
  • 2 eggs

Poppy seed layer

  • 3 ½ cup (500g) of poppy seed
  • 1 ½ cup (300g) of sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ stick (55g) of butter
  • 3 tbsps of honey

Instructions

How To Make Polish Poppy Seed Cheesecake Dough?

  1. Separate egg yolks from egg whites.
  2. Beat egg yolks with sugar and butter until they change color to whitish.
  3. Add flour, baking powder, and beat again.
  4. In a separate bowl, beat egg whites with a pinch of salt until stiff.
  5. Using a spoon, carefully add the beaten egg whites to the dough. Stir in one direction, very slowly.

How To Make The Cheese Layer?

  1. Separate egg yolks from egg whites.
  2. Grind cottage cheese. I recommend using this cheese.
  3. Beat egg yolks with sugar, add grond cheese, and mix.
  4. In a separate bowl, beat egg whites with a pinch of salt until stiff.
  5. Using a spoon, carefully add the beaten egg whites to the cheese mixture. Stir in one direction, very slowly.

How To Make The Poppy Seed Layer?

  1. Rinse and drain the poppy seeds.
  2. Cover the poppy seeds with water and cook for 30 minutes.
  3. Drain the poppy seeds then grind them once or twice.
  4. Mix poppy seeds with melted butter and honey.
  5. Beat egg whites with a pinch of salt until stiff.
  6. Using a spoon, carefully add the beaten egg whites to the poppy seed mixture. Stir in one direction, very slowly.

How To Assemble And Bake The Cake?

  1. Preheat the oven to 356°F (180°C).
  2. Place the dough in the baking pan (14” x 9”) lined with parchment paper.
  3. Cover the dough with poppy seed filling.
  4. Put the cheese layer on top. Alternatively, you may make the cake cheeseboard-like. See the photo below. Chessboard style seromakowiec cake.
  5. Bake for about 1 hour.

Notes

You will have 2 egg yolks left from the poppy seed filling. You can either add it to the cheese filling or use it somewhere else.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

25

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 212Total Fat: 7gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 91mgSodium: 364mgCarbohydrates: 25gFiber: 0gSugar: 17gProtein: 12g

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