Polish cuisine may be widely eclectic, but that doesn’t mean it’s not unique on its own. On the contrary – Poles have a plethora of traditional delicious treats that can satisfy the palate of even the pickiest foodies out there. And when it comes to Polish desserts… well, let’s just say the term “guilty pleasure” doesn’t even begin to cover how awesome they are.
Cheesecakes are popular all over the globe in all of their forms. But you’ll rarely find a more authentic cheesecake than the Krakow sernik. You won’t taste any fancy mascarpone and other cream cheeses in a real Polish sernik cheesecake, but you will get to enjoy a vast variety of fillings such as nuts, seasonal fruits, twarog and other traditional ingredients. Poles have even developed an easily distinguishable decoration for their serniks – a simplistic lattice pattern, which makes the Krakow dessert stand out from the rest.
Out of all Polish yeast cakes the most widespread, tasty and surprisingly easy to prepare is the makowiec – a roulade dessert packed with poppy seeds. If you’re ever visiting Poland, regardless of the region, you must try the makowiec. (And no, you won’t get sedated from the poppy seeds in it, even though opium is indeed derived from the poppy plant).
Almost every country on the planet has its own variation of pancakes, be they thick and bulky (like the American ones) or thin and delicate (like the French crepes). Thus, it should come to no surprise that Poles also have a delicious recipe for traditional pancakes called racuchy. Among the most popular variation of racuchy is the one with apple filling. It’s fool-proof even for beginners and the racuchy can be additionally garnished with jam or powdered sugar.
Dating back to the early 1900s, the wuzetka (also known as W-Z), was actually named after the road on which the cake shop, which initially started selling it, was located. Nowadays wuzetka can be found in numerous pastries all over Poland. Due to its easy preparation and classy taste many Poles also serve it at home. Depending on the recipe this chocolaty goodness may include a variety of toppings, the most popular of which is whipped cream.
Once upon a time Torun gingerbread goods were only gifted to acclaimed public figures like kings, composers and socialites in circles of the Polish highlife. Once shaped in exquisite wooden molds, in present day gingerbread delights can be seen all over the place. The real Torun gingerbread, though, is produced only by two manufacturers – the Torun Bakery and the Kopernik. If you want to taste the real deal, you should opt for their goods.
Long ago faworki, also known as chruściki, were only sold in bakeries, but nowadays you can also find them as a homecooked treat. Their name is derived from their ribbon-like shapes, which resemble the ribbons that Polish women used to attach to medieval knights’ clothing. These crispy ribbons are made out of fried dough and are often garnished with powdered sugar. If you’re looking for a twist on the traditional faworki, you can make them at home with a splash of your favorite alcoholic spirit.
Pierogi with strawberry filling
Even if you’ve never visited Poland or had a Polish meal before, you’ve most definitely heard of pierogi. They’re one of the most popular types of Slavic dumplings. Unsurprisingly, Poles have tons of recipes for pierogi, be they sour, spicy or sweet. There’s no point in going to fancy restaurants if you want to try dessert pierogi. They’re super easy to make at home and if you’re not a virtuoso in the kitchen, just try out the classic combination of strawberry and cheese filling – you won’t be disappointed!