Here, we present two traditional Russian Easter recipes for Pashka (or Paskha) to delight any Czar or Czarina.
Pashka is a cheesecake-like dessert that is traditionally served in Russian homes for Easter. It is traditionally made during Easter week, and brought to church for blessing on Great Saturday, for serving on Easter Sunday.
Recipes for this regal dessert vary from region to region and home to home. Variations are found throughout the Eastern Orthodox world. The taste, no matter what recipe is used, is extraordinary. It is often moulded into the shape of an egg, crown or mount. Pashka is sometimes made with simple fruit and nuts or with more complicated mixtures of dried fruits and nutmeats. These two recipes exemplify the different styles and tastes. Both are delightful.
Pashka – Simple Taste, Simple Recipe
1 pound cream cheese at room temperature
1/2 pound butter at room temperature
1-3/4 Cups powdered sugar
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 Cup currants
1 Cup toasted almonds
Toast almonds on a parchment lined pan in a pre-heated oven at 350 degrees(F) for about 10 to 12 minutes or until slightly brown. Set aside to cool.
Place the cream cheese in food processor and process until there are no lumps. No food processor, run it through a fine strainer into a bowl using a plastic spoon or rubber spatula. Add the butter and fold in until creamy. Add sugar and vanilla to mixture and mix. Add the currants and almonds. Scrape down bowl well and mix a few more minutes. Refrigerate until hard, 2 to 4 hours minimum. Serve with a scoop of premium ice cream topped with Melba Sauce.
To make the Melba Sauce:
1 pound raspberries (or 3 frozen 5-oz containers)
1/2-1 Cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
Puree fruit and sugar in blender. Add lemon juice and mix well. Strain through fine sieve into small bowl. Makes about 1-1/2 cups. Chill.
Pashka – A More Complicated Taste and Recipe
This recipe calls for putting this dessert recipe in a flower pot!
6 Cups (3 lbs.) farmer cheese or large-curd cottage cheese
6 egg yolks
1 1/2 Cups confectioners’ sugar
1 1/2 Cups heavy cream
1/2 Cup candied fruits
1/2 Cup seedless raisins
1/2 Cup slivered almonds, toasted
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon rind
1/2 pound butter
3 teaspoons vanilla extract
large clean clay flower pot, 7 x 7 inches, minimum! (Use a new one.)
1. Press the cheese through a sieve or a strainer.
2. Combine the cheese with the egg yolks beating in 1 yolk at a time. Add the sugar and blend thoroughly.
3. Heat the cream in a large saucepan until it almost boils, then add the cheese mixture and cook over low heat, stirring constantly until the mixture thickens. Remove from the heat before it begins to boil.
4. Stir in fruits, almonds, and lemon rind. Let cool.
5. Cream together the butter and vanilla, then stir into the cooled cheese mixture.
6. Line the flower pot with several layers of moistened cheesecloth, leaving enough cloth at the top to form a flap that will cover the pot. Fill the pot with the cheese mixture and cover with the flap. Put a weight on the top and place in the refrigerator for 2 or 3 days. The whey (liquid) will drip out the bottom of the pot, so be sure to place a pan or bowl under it and that there is a good distance between the bottom of the pot and the bowl or pan. Placing the pot on a rack in the pan is often helpful.
7. When drained, carefully unmold the cake with a knife. Remove the cheesecloth and smooth the sides with a hot knife or leave coarse and decorate with glace fruit or long sultanas with the letters “XB”, the Slavonic form of the Easter greeting “Christ is Risen” or with “Chi Ro”, a three bar cross, all symbols of Christ’s passion and resurrection.
2 egg yolks
3 Tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
1/4 Cup Madeira
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon rind
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
1 Tablespoon light rum
1. Beat together the yolks, sugar, Madeira, and lemon rind in the top of a double boiler. Cook and continue beating until the mixture thickens.
2. Stir in the lemon juice and the rum, then chill briefly.
3. Pour the sauce over the cheesecake and serve.
Pashka is often served on sliced Kolach or Kulich, a delicious braided egg bread. It is treated with great reverence and dedication by devout Orthodox Christians throughout the world.