Grandma Bernie’s Cheese Torte

close up of Grandma Bernie's Cheese Torte

Our families famous AND favorite dessert: Grandma Bernies’s Cheese Torte!

I can’t think of anything more famous that my Grandma Bernie’s Cheese Torte! It’s 100% the BEST dessert I have ever had in my life!

As a child when my father’s side of the family would get together there would be a table with appetizers and goodies when you arrived no matter where we went. Then they would be replaced with the meal. Then after dinner they would be replaced with a full spread of desserts. Candies, cakes, chocolates, and ALWAYS at least four of my Grandma’s famous cheese tortes. Everyone would take little bits of the other deserts but would always take a big slice of Bernie’s Torte.

I can’t remember the first time I had a piece. I also know no one knows where she got the recipe from. We don’t know if she made it up or brought it home from the restaurant she worked at. It was, nonetheless, a staple at every single family function. You chose it over German chocolate cake and over pie. Every single time.

It simply is the best dessert on earth!

A bit about Grandma Bernie

It’s been a family secret for years. Well honestly I don’t know if it’s really a secret. It’s just something that is near and dear to every single one of our hearts. It makes me smile and think of home. It makes me remember what an absolutely incredible human being my grandmother was. She had the biggest heart and worked harder than any woman I know. She was resilient as the day is long. Grandma Bernie never complained and she loved her family more than life itself. She loved being a grandmother. Bernie was also a great cook who could whip up roasted chicken and cucumber salad faster than you could toast bread. She was an enigma and she is dearly dearly missed.

I have to think that she would be so proud to know that people all over can enjoy her famous torte and smile when they taste it. I will also tell you it’s not the easiest thing to make so I’ll walk you through it in a very non traditional way.

Grandma Bernie's cheese Torte

Grandma Bernie’s Cheese Torte

Serving Size:
4″x4″ square
(more if your last name is Novak)
45 minutes


  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup of cold milk (2% or more is better)
  • 2 tsps of gelatin (two packages in the box of Knox)
  • 1/3 cup of cold water
  • 1 lb of small curd cottage cheese
  • 1 tsp of vanilla
  • 3 egg whites
  • 1 1/3 cup of sugar
  • 3/4 container of cool whip (I use almost all of the 8 oz container depending on how high I want the torte I like it high and full)
  • 1 package of graham crackers plus 4 more crackers (or 18 crackers)
  • 1 stick of butter
  • 1/2 tsp of cinnamon


  1. Crush 1 package of graham crackers finely with a rolling pin. Then mix in 1/3 cup of sugar and a half a tsp of cinnamon. Then add 1 stick of melted butter. Pat down the crust in a 9″x13″ pan, leaving 2 or 3 tbsps for the topping.
  2. Separate the egg yolks and egg whites and let the egg whites come up to room temperature fully. DO NOT SKIP this step if the egg whites are not at room temperature they will not beat stiff. This is ALWAYS my mistake and I rush it…… set aside.
  3. Add 1/3 cup of cold water to 2 packets of gelatin mixture (mix well with a fork to combine). Set a aside to firm up. I always use Knox Gelatin.
  4. Add the 3 egg yolks you set aside, 1/2 tsp of salt, 1/2 cup of cold milk and a 1/2 cup of sugar in a small sauce pan and cook on medium stirring constantly until it becomes a custard (I use a rubber coated whisk now after years of messing this up). This will take 10-15 minutes. Once it has become a custard whisk in the gelatin mixture making sure to combine well until the gelatin dissolves and is not lumpy. Let cool about 30 minutes until it starts to thicken.
  5. While waiting for the custard to thicken beat the 3 egg whites stiff adding 1/2 cup of sugar to the egg whites. They are done when the peaks are stiff. Add the teaspoon of vanilla.
  6. Now beat the custard mixture. After beating it add the cottage cheese and beat together, then beat in the cool whip and the stiff egg whites.
  7. Spread cheese torte mixture over graham cracker crust and add your leftover graham cracker mixture to the top for decoration. Cover with plastic wrap tightly and refrigerate.
  8. Let set in the refrigerator for 4-6 hours at least before serving. It would be best to let it rest overnight.

Grandma was so full of love! Everything she made was special!

I hope with all my heart that you enjoy this as much as I have over the years and it brings you as many great memories as it has me. Seeing the picture of it alone takes me back. My grandmother was a special person full of so much love that every person who met her can only smile when they think of her! She gave more than she received and loved deeper than anyone I know! May God rest her sweet soul!

I can’t think of anyone I have met in my 47 years on this earth that was more proud of her family than she was!


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Grandma Bernie’s Cheese Torte

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