Have yourself a Merry Polish Christmas Bash with my light and airy, baked Lemon, Rose and Poppy Seed Cheesecake – serve alongside open sandwiches and my Polish vodka cocktails for the perfect festive gathering.
I absolutely love entertaining, especially at Christmas when the vodka cocktails (and festive tunes) make an appearance -which is about now. With three children, nights out have become quite tricky to organise and so most often, we throw open our doors and host. This year, we’re hosting a traditional Polish Christmas Eve as well as a traditional British Christmas Day, but that doesn’t mean that we won’t find the time to host another party or two between now and the New Year.
So, what’s on the menu?
Well, keep it simple, I say.
The day before the party, bake my Lemon, Rose and Poppy Seed Cheesecake – recipe at the bottom of this post, also featured on Watrose.com here. Leave it in the fridge ideally over night.
Roast a small turkey crown, leave to cool, shred and refrigerate overnight.
On the day of the party, buy the freshest bread or sourdough you can find, slice it up, pile on the roast turkey and top with garnishes of radish, tomatoes, pickled gherkins and a sprinkle of cress.
There’s a handy video here.
Buy Żubrówka Polish vodka, clear vodka, cherry vodka, prosecco, apple juice and maraschino cherries to make:
Polish Martini – Żubrówka vodka, clear vodka plus cloudy apple juice
Polish Kir – Raspberry cordial or cherry vodka (for a real kick) top with Prosecco
Watch my further handy video here on how to make my festive Polish cocktails.
Vodka is the new gin, have you heard?
Open the door to your friends, pour the drinks and enjoy the party!
A light and airy cheesecake, made with a flavoured sugar, Polish curd cheese, ricotta, lemon and poppy seeds. Bake this a day in advance and refrigerate overnight.
- 200 g caster sugar
- 1 tsp dried rose petals
- 2 whole cardamom pods
- 2 tbsp lemon zest
- 1 whole vanilla pod optional
- 200 g unsalted butter at room temperature
- 200 g flavoured sugar as above
- 1 tsp vanilla bean extract
- 6 eggs separated
- 500 g cream or curd cheese e.g Polish white cheese, Twaróg or cream cheese
- 500 g ricotta cheese
- 3 tsp cornflour
- 25 g poppy seeds
To make the flavoured sugar, mix the caster sugar with the rose petals, cardamom pods and lemon zest. Tip it out onto a tray lined with baking paper to allow the lemon zest to dry out. Leave for a couple of hours at room temperature and then transfer to a sealed container. You can also add a whole vanilla pod. This can be made up to a week in advance. Remove the two whole cardamom pods and vanilla pod before using.
Pre-heat the oven to bake the cheesecake to 180C. Take a 20cm round spring form cake tin, grease the bottom and sides and line the bottom with a circle of baking paper.
Using an electric beater or a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, beat the butter for five minutes until it is pale and creamy. Remove the cardamom and vanilla pods from the flavoured sugar and slowly add the sugar to the butter, beating until incorporated. Add the vanilla bean seeds from the pod, or one teaspoon vanilla extract and beat again.
Add in the egg yolks, one by one and mix until incorporated.
Add the cream cheese or curd cheese and the ricotta cheese and beat well until smooth.
In a separate clean bowl, whisk the egg whites to stiff peak stage. Once stiff, using a metal spoon gently fold the egg whites into the creamy cheese mixture. Stir in the cornflour and the poppy seeds.
Pour the cheesecake mixture into your lined tin. Wrap tin foil around the outside and bottom of the tin to protect any water from seeping in when baking in a water bath.
Take a large roasting tin and half fill it with water to create a water bath. Gently lower the foil wrapped tin into the water and bake for one hour. The top should be golden and the centre a little wobbly but not too much.
Leave the cheesecake to cool completely before releasing it from the tin.
Chill in the refrigerator, preferably overnight before cutting and serving. Keep any leftovers covered in the fridge for up to three days.
This recipe first appeared on Waitrose.com
More party food ideas:
Polish Meatballs with Mushroom Sauce (ideal for small bowl food)
Grilled Meatball Sliders plus recipe video
With thanks to Waitrose for the ‘Home for Christmas’ feature in Waitrose Weekend in 2016 – a version of this recipe also appears on Waitrose.com
Partnered post 2016, updated in 2018