hallmark croatian cheesecake

hallmark croatian cheesecake

Croatian cheesecake is dense, slightly sweet, lemonee and full of some great ingredients to elevate healthiness. A family 100+ year treasure!

Home and Family Hallmark

Croatian cheesecake is dense, slightly sweet and full of some great ingredients to elevate healthiness. Try my 100 year+ family recipe for cheesecake. And, you might like reading more about my amazing search for my roots in Croatia. Honestly, it’s like a Hallmark movie that really happened. And, it was just Ben and me and some worn dusty documents that Mom had saved of her parents’ coming to America. 

There’s so much history behind this ‘hallmark Croatian cheesecake’. And, Home and Family TV with the Hallmark Channel has a lot to do with it.

And, for more Croatian Recipes, click here! Some delicious ideas! 

Cheesecake with Cottage Cheese

From the journey my Grandmother made at the turn of the twentieth century to America from the old country, which was then the Austro Hungarian Empire, to now today and sharing this recipe with the world on Hallmark Channel’s Home & Family TV, this recipe has brought me and so many others, immeasurable love and happiness.

Recipes with Cottage Cheese

When I first decided to enter the Dream Jobbing contest for the ‘Best Home Cook’, I knew I wanted to share this recipe. But, I wanted to simplify it even more so others wouldn’t be intimidated by the word ‘cheesecake’.

Sometimes the idea of making a cheesecake makes home cooks think, hummmmmm, that’s something that I just can’t do because of its complexity. But, that’s not the case with this cheesecake.

How to Make a Cheesecake

You cannot mess up. It will be tasty and delicious regardless.

While it might not have the ‘glamour’ and perfection of a French cheesecake, it will be heartwarming because you know that it’s supposed to be rustic and earthy.

All those imperfections make for immense beauty!

Home and Family Recipes

Home and Family TV on the Hallmark Channel is super popular because of the variety of offerings on the show. From DIY and health information, Home and Family also has a big presence on daytime TV with home and family recipes.

These recipes are all over the board, and they’re usually very family friendly. Nothing complicated and fancy because they know that the audience want’s simple easy home and family recipes. 

Easy Cheesecake Recipes

So when I saw that Home and Family Hallmark was searching for the Best Home Cooks, I knew I had  to enter! After sending in my audition tape, which was just about 90 seconds demonstrating this Croatian cheesecake, I actually forgot about it. Then I saw myself on TV named as a finalist!

Just click this pix and watch my cooking on the Hallmark Channel! 

dreams have no expiration date
Watch Ally cook on Home & Family TV!

Croatian Cheesecake Recipe

When I learned that I was one of the six finalists for the title of ‘Best Home Cook’, I had no idea that the day that my show would air would be the 95th birthday of my Mom who’d learned this recipe from my her mother, my Grandmother.

Mom used to make this cheesecake mostly on special occasions, like Christmas and Easter, when we were growing up in the hollers of West Virginia. That’s because the ingredients were relatively speaking kind of ‘expensive’. This cheesecake was somewhat of a decadence for us kids. And, it was kind of healthy, so Mom used to let us eat it in the mornings for breakfast!

The Best Cheesecake Recipe

Times were tough. Money was tight. And, we would just feel like we were having the most heavenly treat when this cheesecake was made. Unlike typical cheesecakes, this cheesecake uses more cottage cheese than cream cheese. Cottage cheese is frequently used in Eastern European dishes and sweets.

I always say that dreams have no expiration date and here’s why. When you stop dreaming, you’ve stopped living in my humble opinion. 

Croatian Desserts

Croatian desserts, well, you just have to experience them. When Ben and I traveled  to Croatia to find my long-lost relatives, and you have too read those posts because they’re like a Hallmark movie, we ate our share of Croatian desserts. 

Croatian desserts can be addictive and dangerous because you can’t stop eating them. Whether it’s a buttery crumbly pie, dainty velvety cookies or creamy and decadent rich cakes, they’re full of immense happiness. And, because of Croatia’s rich history over hundreds and hundreds of years, you’ll see the influence of other cuisines and cultures, French, Middle Eastern, Italian and more. Croatian cooking and cuisine and Croatian desserts have benefited from this patchwork of influence over the years. 

You might want to try some of my adapted Croatian desserts that my family most loves. They’re slight adaptations of the recipes from Mom. I’ve made these much easier knowing that so many of us don’t have the time to devote to complicated pastry cooking. 

Baked Cottage Cheese Strukji

Lemon Cottage Cheesecake

živjeli kata croatian cheesecake

Holiday Walnut Bread Povitica

Recipes for Cheesecake

Now some may be a little intimidated by the idea of making a cheesecake. Yes, there are thousands of recipes for cheesecake on the internet. But, this cheesecake recipe is one of the easiest you’ll ever make. Now it’s not fancy and perfect looking like a French or New York cheesecake. It’s more rustic and earthy. Maybe this recipe for cheesecake is the one if you’re visiting a village in Croatia or you want one that’s heavy on an ingredient you wouldn’t expect in recipes for cheesecake. Cottage cheese! 

One of my new favorite cheesecakes, Lemon Coconut Cheesecake.

Cheesecake at Home

Making cheesecake at home is so simple! Here’re some of my favorite recipes for you to try!

Cherry Limeade Cheesecake

Chocolate Banana Cheesecake Bites

Blueberry Lemon Cheesecake Bars

Homemade Cheesecake No Bake

King Pineapple No Bake Cheesecake

Homemade Cheesecake Recipe Easy

Cherry Ricotta Cheesecake Jars

Lemon Cottage Cheesecake

Lemon Cream Cake

Cottage Cheese

Cottage cheese is a good source of some vitamins and minerals, but it only contains small amounts of others. 

Healthline touts the value of cottage cheese, “Cottage cheese is a curd cheese with a mild flavor and smooth texture. It’s high in many nutrients, including protein, B vitamins, and minerals like calcium, selenium, and phosphorus. If you’re looking to lose weight or build muscle, cottage cheese is among the most beneficial foods you can eat.”

Eastern Europeans and Russians love their cottage cheese and use it in many recipes, like pancakes. One of my grandson’s favorite recipes to make when he comes to visit is ‘Syrniki’ which are pancakes with cottage cheese. 

I sure hope you’ll find that you love this Hallmark Croatian Cheesecake recipe as much as I do. I’ve made the crust a tad bit ‘healthier’ with the addition of wheatgerm and sliced almonds. Be playful in experimenting with toppings. If you want to do dollops of whipped cream and other kinds of fruit, do it. The base of this cheesecake the lemoneeee filling with the ‘littl’ cottage cheese lumps’ is the star and will never be outshone by the topping!  Here’s to keeping the history of our families alive through their recipes. It’s a priceless heritage and legacy to pass on to our children.

~peace & namaste~ xoxox ally

hallmark croatian cheesecake

hallmark croatian cheesecake

Yield: One about 6-7" round springform pan

Croatian cheesecake is dense, slightly sweet and full of some great ingredients to elevate healthiness. Try my 100 year+ family recipe for cheesecake!


  • Preheat oven to 325
  • CRUST:
  • 2 cups Simple Mills cinnamon sweet thin cookies, pulse in food processor
  • 3/4 cup almonds, sliced, pulse in food processor
  • 3/4 cup walnuts, pulse in food processor
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds, pulse in food processor
  • 1/3 cup wheat germ, can substitute ground flax
  • 1/4 cup paleo flour, optional
  • 8 Tbl, butter, salted, melted
  • 2 1/2 cups cottage cheese, whole milk, 4%, small curd, drained
  • 1 cup whipped cream cheese or mascarpone, about room temperature
  • 3/4 cup maple sugar
  • 4 eggs, pasture raised, beaten
  • 4 Tbl. Paleo flour, can substitute regular flour
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 3 large lemons, zest and juice
  • 2 (6 oz.) container Greek lemon yogurt, best brand is Noosa lemon yogurt or creme fraiche
  • 3/4 cup fresh blueberries


  1. Coat the pan (bottom and sides) with cooking spray (i.e., coconut oil). Cut a piece of parchment paper the size of the round bottom and place in the pan.
  2. Pulse in a food processor the graham crackers, almonds, walnuts, pumpkin seeds wheat germ. Remove to a bowl. Add the melted butter and blend well. Add the paleo flour for extra support to hold the nut mixture together more securely. Totally optional.
  3. Put into the spring form pan and pat down well firming the crust. Prebake/set in the preheated 325 oven for 6-8 minutes. Remove and let cool thoroughly.
  4. In a large mixing bowl, put the cottage cheese, whipped cream cheese, sugar, eggs and flour. Whisk together well. Add the lemon juice and zest. Blend together well. Pour into the pan.
  5. Place the pan on a cookie sheet. Bake in a preheated 325 oven about 60-65 minutes or until a toothpick basically comes clean from the center. (Note: Doneness also is evident when the top begins showing ‘cracks’ and crevices on top.)
  6. Remove to a cooling rack. Take a butter knife and gently move around the perimeter of the cheesecake loosening the sides.
  7. Disengage the pan when the cheesecake is completely cooled.
  8. If not serving immediately, cover well with plastic wrap and refrigerate. It helps refrigerate a few hours before serving. This helps to set the flavors and the texture of the cheesecake.
  9. When ready to serve, put the lemon yogurt on the top spreading around. Sprinkle on the blueberries. Refrigerate or slice immediately.


Cook time may vary depending upon variables like altitude, different ovens. The thing to do is the skewer test to check for doneness (middle of cheesecake). Also, you'll start to see small cracks and fissures on the top of the cheesecake as it's nearing doneness.

You can use a deep baking dish to make this cheesecake.You'll adjust the baking time accordingly to the thickness of the cheesecake.

Sometimes I love to make the crust thicker. If you like that, simply add about another 1/2 to 3/4 cups of graham crackers, 1/4 cup of wheat germ and/or ground nuts and another two tablespoons of melted butter into the mixture.

You can also use other types of packaged cookies in lieu of the graham crackers, vanilla wafers, butter cookies, or anything that's a plain cookie that can be crushed.

This cheesecake keeps well for several days in the refrigerator. Cover tightly with plastic wrap.

Don't think of this cheesecake as just for dessert. As a kid, I would eat it for breakfast!

If you want more of a 'thin' cheesecake, use a 9x13 pan, then you can cut cheesecake squares.

Your sharing is GOLDEN! Thank you!

Your sharing and comments help me stay in business! Share a photo if you make the recipe #allyskitchen Thank you! xo Ally

hallmark croatian cheesecake

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  1. When searching for your Croatian Cheesecake, two recipes came up. One from your website which has 1.5 cups of cottage cheese and 3 eggs. The other one is from the Hallmark Channel website which stated it was your 100 yr oldrecipe. But, it is a little different with 2.5 cups cottage cheese and 4 eggs. Which is the one you use?

    1. Hi, Roni, thanks for checking both out. Use the Hallmark recipe. I was really detailed b/c of the show, so it’s the go to! We love this cheesecake. It’s not super sweet however. Refrigerates well, and lasts several days! xoxx ally

  2. Anonymous says:

    When searching for your Croatian Cheesecake, two recipes came up. One from your website which has 1.5 cups of cottage cheese and 3 eggs. The other one is from the Hallmark Channel website which stated it was your 100 yr oldrecipe. But, it is a little different with 2.5 cups cottage cheese and 4 eggs. Which is the one you use?

    1. Hi, Roni! Answered this question in the duplicate comment, luv! xoxx ally

  3. Hi!! What kind of pumpkin seeds? Shelled? Like, pepitas? Would love to see. It doesn’t look like you used them in your video. Thank you!

    1. Yes, pepitas. You can also just use your preferred nuts in the crust. I like walnuts, almonds, and if I have seeds I’ll throw some in also. I also find that the Honey Cinnamon cookies from Simple Mills (Seed & Nut Flour)…they’re delicious and GF! xoxx ally

  4. When I made this, I left out the pumpkin seeds and wheat germ, and lemon yogurt on top. It was delicious. Not very sweet and I loved that. Watched you make it at Bobby’s (FlavCity). Thanks for your recipes. This is a keeper!

    1. Dana! Isn’t it amazing how versatile this recipe is. I’m like you, not really into super sweet and gooey desserts. So glad you watched me make when I was with Bobby. He had a slice every night! Don’t be a stranger! xoxx ally

  5. Cat Paterson says:

    Great recipe!! I thought I had a springform pan, alas none was found. Instead I had 5 small rectangular disposable foil pans and covers. I decide to use them and cooked 5 approximately double portions cheesecakes for 45-50 minutes. The clue in the recipe that reminded us to look for cracks, was the extremely helpful! Yum! Two substitutions: 1. Simple Mills Nut and Seed honey cinnamon crackers for graham crackers. 2. Erythritol blend sweetener for sugar. Delicious and I will be cooking this again!

    1. Cat! Great substitutions! Kudos! And, I used the Simple MIlls Nut and Seed honey crackers too. Sooooooooooooooo good. And, for sure, the sweetener works. Welcome to the addiction of Croatian cheesecake luv! xoxx ally

  6. Please tell me what graham crackers you use? I can’t find any healthy ones. I love to see you cooking with Bobby. Regards Vienna

    1. Hi, Vienna, check out Simple Mills nut and seed. That’re perfect and I actually used them in this recipe you saw, but give the option of graham crackers b/c they’re more easily accessible. xoxx ally


  7. Did you buy the cream cheese already whipped?

    1. Yes, Donna, you can buy whipped cream cheese! xoxx ally

  8. Cinzia Bei says:

    Buonissima la cheesecake croata di Ally. L’ho fatta ed è venuta buona. Metà l’ho mangiata e l’altra metà l’ho refrigerata così posso mangiarla ancora 😋. È buona anche senza yogurt e mirtilli sopra.

    1. OMG, what a beautiful comment, Cinzia Bei! Yes, good even without the berries and yogurt. And, it lasts quite a few days refrigerated! SEnding lots of hugs and love! xoxx ally

  9. Marcia Morrison says:

    Hey Ally Girl… I’m so excited for tomorrow when my family can experience your Croatian Cheesecake. I’m planning a Toppings Bar for my Nephew’s birthday, who is a lover of all things cheesecake. By the by, mine took 1:40 to bake in a 9″ spring form pan. 🤷🍰😋

    1. Marcia! Ohhhhhhhhhhh, sweet girl! I’m sooooo excited for this family extravaganza!! I’m hoping they’ll all love it even more when you give them the little’ backstory behind it and why it’s so special. Thanks for the heads up on cook time, luv. I’m gonna make note of that! xoxx Happy Birthday dear nephew and a topping bar is awesome! xoxx ally

  10. Renee Smith says:

    Hi Ally,

    Thank you for so many great recipes.
    You are a doll!

    I found what i think is a typo…you may want to update…in the Croatian Cheesecake recipe verbiage….

    From the journey my Grandmother made at the turn of the twentieth century to American from the old country, which was then the Austro Hungarian Empire to now today and sharing this recipe with the world on Hallmark Channel’s Home & Family TV, this recipe has

    ….broth me. <<<< THIS RIGHT HERE


    and so many others immeasurable love and happiness.
    I saw that and thought it's so important to you and you would want it corrected. My eye for editing…..

    Love & Hugs, ❤️

    1. Renee! My sweet luv!! You’re hired as editor! Gosh, yes, thank you so so much. I need for others to point out those things. Sometimes when you’re so close to writing something words get omitted or otherwise confusing. I’m making those edits now, angel, and, again, THANK YOU! I think it’s corrected. Please give it your blessing and let me know! xoxx ally

  11. This is amazing! I can see myself making this for years to come!

    1. Ameila! Thank you soooooo much! I’ve been making for 50 years now, and I never ever tire of it. It’s absolutely scrumptious. And, yes, I love those little cottage cheese lumps! xoxx ally

  12. I made this for thanksgiving. And I must say, WOW it turned out amazing!
    First time I have ever made cheesecake and I wanted to do something different. The flavor and textures are incredible! I used grassfed butter and let it caramelize a little, almost like beurre noisette. This gave the crust an amazing flavor and the texture is amazing!
    My only problem was that it took about an extra 45 min to bake! I don’t know if I didn’t drain the cottage cheese well enough and maybe that was the problem.
    Even with the extra time it turned out perfect. Definitely will make again!
    And yes those left overs were perfect for breakfast.

    1. Wayne!! That is exciting to hear!! THANK YOU for taking time to write me. And, for tasting a little of my family traditions! I love the butter idea and will try myself. Yes, baking time could vary, but oftentimes not that much. Anyway, you are a seasoned cook and knew what to do. I’ll make and adjustment note 5o the recipe. I always know its getting near done when cracks may appear on top. Keep giving me that good feedback. I love it! Sending smiles and hugs! ~ally

    1. Looking forward to trying this!

      1. Cheryl! Thank you. If you have questions, just holler. We just love it! xox ally

  13. One of my very favorite recipes on your blog, Alice! It makes me drool every time I see the recipe on Facebook! On my to do list! 🙂

    1. Oh, Hadia! You are such a doll!! Thank you, and, yes, this recipe is one special one for me because of its history. Well, it’s mighty tasty too!! xo

    1. Oh, you sweet angel! Yes, my beautiful friend, HAPPY EASTER!! I know your table will be brimming w/love and fabulous food!! xo

  14. I love how easy this looks to make and its so dang creamy wow! Blueberry is my fav! Nice job with the video Ally!

    1. Thank you, sweetness! This is one recipe that is a staple for holidays in our world. Nothing like it!! xox

  15. Lauren Taylor says:

    This cheesecake sounds amazing! I love the idea of thick crust!

    1. Lauren! Thank you Thank you!! Yes, the thicker the crust the better for me, too!! xo ~ally

  16. I love these flavors! I can’t wait to try this!

    1. Thank you, Caroline! It’s really a different twist on cheesecake and, oh, so deeeeeeeeelish!!

  17. Love the almonds in the crust!

    1. Hi, sweet Megan! Yes, those almonds do add a littl’ crunch, and who doesn’t love some texture!! xo

    1. If you were here, luv, I’d be serving you seconds!! Thank you sooooooooooo much!! And, thanks for swinging by!

  18. How could I not eat this for breakfast? That is what cheescake is for, right? After all it does have cottage cheese! Gorgeous!

    1. You bet, my sweet Abbe! This is breakfast fare at its finest! Let’s did in!! Cottage cheese is healthy!! xox Thanks, luv!

  19. Looks both a pretty and tasty cheesecake – I know what you mean with cheesecakes higher in cottage cheese and they have a lovely depth of flavor.

    1. OH, yes, you know, Caroline! Yes, this cheesecake is a pleasure for the palate because of so many things, including those ‘weetle’ cottage cheese lumps!! Thanks for visiting! xo ~ally

  20. Oh my Ally, just gorgeous….. bang goes the diet but glad to see that the cottage cheese lightens your wonderful cheesecake. I’m drooling ♥

    1. Dor! You can have two slices of this!! The cottage cheese is very flattering on our hips!! Hugs!! xoxo

    1. Miss Ann!! THANK YOU! And, coming from you, I’m super thrilled! xoxo

  21. Shelly Kreider says:

    Please, could you add an option to print only the recipe, without the pictures and dialog.
    Thank you
    Shelly Kreider

    1. Hi, Shelly! There is an option to NOT print the photos. When you click ‘Print’ (located at the beginning of the recipe), look at the top, there’s a box there (next to text size) to check ‘Remove Images’. I totally agree that printing all those images is crazy! Hope this makes sense. If not, please email me at [email protected] and I’ll send you a screen shot of where to fine this feature. That you so much and I love having you here! Come back soon! xoxo ~ally

    2. Lidia Dochia says:

      Could I maybe replace the graham crackers with oatmeal or just use as a basis some homemade granola? Also the flour with almond or coconut flour?

      1. Hi, Lidia! Yes, you could certainly do that. And, yes, on the flour, too. I’ve not done either one, but please let me know how it turns out, luv! So glad you’re here! xoxx ally

  22. I could eat your Croatian Cheesecake everyday and never tire of it! Oh wait, I did eat it for 4 days straight and loved every bite. Truly my favorite cheesecake.

    1. LOL!! Merry Merry!! You always make me laugh!! Love you girl!! xo

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