Traditional recipe for festive Lviv cheesecake

Lviv syrnyk(cheesecake) isrenowned as a delightful and remarkable dish. Its appeal extends from being a delightful standalone dessert, perfect for a cozy tea party or a birthday celebration, to a customary finale at the Ukrainian Christmas table. Undoubtedly, it stands as a versatile and sophisticated feast-worthy treat!

The classic cheesecake might have an interesting origin — it’s believed to be an everyday adaptation of cheese paska, typically served during Easter. Both share common ingredients and cooking methods. The significant distinction lies in their purpose — paska is a ceremonial treat, while the regular cheesecake is an everyday delight. Interestingly, there’s a festive twist to this, with a special Christmas version akin to Easter’s.

Speaking of Lviv cheesecake, it’s frequently compared to the classic cheesecake, known for its creamy texture and iconic status in their homelands. But you will be surprised that Ukrainians add raw potatoes to this dessert. However, let’s talk about everything step by step.


– 500 g sour milk cheese (9% fatness) –
– 2 potatoes
– 70 g dairy butter (50 g for the dough and 20 g for greasing the mold)
– 150 g sugar
– 3 eggs
– 1 tablespoon wheat flour
– 50 g walnuts
– 50 g raisins
– 10 g vanilla sugar
– zest of 1 lemon and 1 orange
– a pinch of salt

For the chocolate glaze:
– 100 g dark chocolate
– 30 g dairy butter
– 80 ml cream (33% fat content)


1. Allow the butter to reach room temperature by taking it out of the refrigerator ahead of time (this may take a few hours, depending on the room temperature). Simultaneously, peel and boil the potatoes, then let them cool.
2. Start the cheesecake base by blending or rubbing the sour milk cheese through a sieve. Meanwhile, rinse the raisins and pour boiling water over them. After about 10 minutes, transfer them to a paper towel to remove excess moisture.
3. Begin the dough preparation. Combine sugar, 50 g of dairy butter, and orange and lemon zest. Use a whisk or a food processor to blend the ingredients until smooth.
4. Separate the egg whites from the yolks. Gradually add the egg yolks to the dough, one at a time, beating thoroughly until a smooth and thick consistency. Some sugar may remain undissolved, but it’s not an issue.
5. Grate the potatoes finely using a grater or a blender. Add it to the dough together with sour milk cheese and raisins. Mix everything thoroughly so that the products are evenly distributed in the bowl.
6. Whip the egg whites until they form stiff peaks. For this, you will need a clean and dry container and a mixer or blender with a whisk. Be cautious and gentle while folding the whipped egg whites into the dough using a silicone spatula.
7. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees. Grease a baking dish with 20 g of butter and lightly dust it with flour. Opt for a rectangular and tall-shaped dish for that elegant, traditional Lviv cheesecake look. Carefully pour the dough into the dish, level it, and bake for 60 minutes in convection mode.
8. Prepare chocolate glaze for decorating the Lviv cheesecake for Christmas. Combine the broken dark chocolate, cream, and butter in a bowl. Make a steam bath: for this, you need to fill a pan with water and place a bowl with a chocolate-cream mixture on top. It is important that the bowl does not touch the water while the water boils, creating steam. Stir the ingredients thoroughly until they melt into a smooth mixture.
9. After an hour, remove the finished cheesecake from the oven and let it cool completely in the dish. After approximately 30 minutes, pour the glaze over the cake and sprinkle it with chopped nuts.

Additional tips for preparing Lviv cheesecake

Ukrainian cheesecake

Use high-quality ingredients, especially sour milk cheese, which should have an adequate fat content, neither too dry nor too wet. Fresh eggs and natural butter with an 82.5% fat content work best.

Potatoes are crucial in maintaining the cheesecake’s structure without altering its flavor. Opt for potatoes, as they’re neutral in taste. If needed, you can substitute them with semolina or corn starch, but ensure to use them sparingly to avoid spoiling the cottage cheese’s flavor.

This delightful Ukrainian Christmas dish as well as Chrismtas kalach and kutia will add a festive touch to your celebrations! Give this syrnek a try and share your impressions.