Several readers have asked about a recipe for a Polish Pineapple Cheesecake or sernik ananasowy (pronunciation). So many of the recipes I read written in Polish also included coconut, so I have done the same in my version.
You can tell a lot about the time a recipe is written by the kitchen tools used. I have a much-used, 3-ring binder cookbook that is 45 years old. A mixer is the kitchen tool of choice in those recipes. There is no mention of an immersion blender, a food processor, or a microwave.
Two of the most commonly used tools in traditional Polish recipes are the box grater and a meat grinder. These have been standard items in Polish kitchens for generations or even centuries. Either one can be used to make bread crumbs, to give veggies a fine dice. The boxer grater is also used to turn a shortcrust pastry into a crumb topping for pies and cakes. The recipe I’ve adapted from KwestiaSmaku.com suggests grating the top crust, but I have gone the modern route and used my food processor.
No food processor? Try using these instead!
- For the crust – if you’re not using a food processor, you can make this the same way you would any other pastry. Work the butter into the dry ingredients using your fingers, two knives (I think some people use two forks?), or a pastry knife/blender.
- For the filling – using a mixer is Plan B for the cheese mass, or a wooden spoon and a lot of muscle.
- For the coconut crumb topping – go Polish and use the coarse side of a box grater to make crumbs of the chilled pastry or just crumble it with your hands and mix with the coconut.
The right cheese for Polish Pineapple Cheesecake
The traditional cheese for Polish cheesecakes is twaróg, a farmer’s cheese. I can buy farmer’s cheese in Tucson at Sprout’s, but I realized that many of you don’t have a Polish store or a source of farmer’s cheese nearby.
I have used cottage cheese in Polish cheesecakes in a pinch. I have also used cream cheese. You’ll still end up a cheesecake, but the end product will be a little different.
You can also make your own twaróg! I was surprised by how easy it was. You can check out my twaróg recipe, complete with video here.
If you’re a fan of Polish cheesecakes, check out some of my other sernik creations! I have so many from individual almond cheesecakes to a cold, no-bake strawberry cheesecake and everything in between.
I shared this Polish Pineapple Cheesecake with my parents and my dog trainer. It brought rave reviews all around. Like most Polish desserts, I would describe it as lightly sweet. I hope you’ll enjoy it as much as we did.
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Try this lightly sweet Polish Pineapple Cheesecake, with a pastry crust it is a delicious treat topped with meringue and coconut crumble.
for the crust:
- 3 1/2 cups flour (450 g)
- 1/3 cup sugar (75 g)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 cup butter (225 g), cold
- 4 egg yolks (save whites for the meringue)
- 1 1/2 cups (100 g) shredded coconut (added to the top crust (crumb layer)
for the filling:
- 7/8 cup butter (200 g), at room temp
- 2 pounds farmer’s cheese (1 kg), at room temp
- 1 small box, 3.4 ounces, vanilla instant pudding (96 g)
- 2 eggs
- 1 1/2 cup shredded coconut (100 g)
- 1 1/2 cups finely diced, drained fresh pineapple (300 g)
for the meringue:
- 4 egg whites
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar (60 g)
- powdered sugar for dusting (optional)
- whipped cream (optional)
- Preheat oven to 350° F (180° C). Add flour, sugar, baking powder, and 1 cup cold butter to a food processor with a steel knife. Process until the mixture is uniform and made up of fine crumbs. Add 4 egg yolks and process until well combined. Shape the dough into two balls, one slightly larger than the other. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate.
- In the food processor, whip 7/8 cup softened butter. Add the farmer’s cheese in 4 batches, processing until smooth after each addition. Scraping the work bowl as necessary. Add the instant vanilla pudding, 2 eggs, and 1 1/2 cups shredded coconut. Process until well blended. The coconut will add a bit of texture. It will not be perfectly smooth.
- Remove the large ball of crust from the refrigerator. Slice into 1/4 inch thick pieces. Place the slices in a parchment-lined 9 x 13-inch pan (20 x 30 cm). Add any crust crumbs to the pan. Using your fingers, press the crust slices and crumbs together, so they cover the bottom of the pan.
- Spread the cheese mixture evenly over the crust. Sprinkle the pineapple over the cheese mixture.
- With a mixer or whisk, beat 4 egg whites until soft peaks, add 1/2 cup powdered sugar and continue to beat until the meringue forms stiff peaks. Spread over the pineapple covered cake.
- Add the smaller ball of crust to the food processer with 1 1/2 cups shredded coconut. Process until you have a crumbly texture. Sprinkle over the meringue and bake for 40 minutes, loosely tent the pab with foil after 30 minutes. It keeps the topping from getting too brown.
- Cool and chill before serving. Your cheesecake is delicious as is, but you may want to top it with a sprinkle of powdered sugar or whipped cream.
Presentation – I have drizzled the plate with a bit of caramel sauce.
Keywords: Polish Pineapple Cheesecake