Author: Kitchens
  • 3 1/2 pounds (1.5 kg) thick fromage blanc or baker's cheese, such as ricotta, brousse, etc.
  • 1 Cup (250 ml) sugar
  • 1 Cup (250 ml) heavy cream
  • 8 ounces (225 g)(2 sticks) softened butter, sweet
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1/2 Cup (125 ml) candied fruit and peel
  • 1/2 Cup (125 ml) finely chopped blanched almonds
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  1. Drain the cheese by placing it in a strainer and putting a weight on top - otherwise the loaf may not keep its shape.
  2. In a bowl, macerate the candied fruit with the vanilla.
  3. Break up the cheese with the back of a spoon; mix in the butter.
  4. In a saucepan, heat the cream until bubbles start to form around the edges.
  5. In another bowl, beat together the eggs and sugar; pour in the hot cream; return the mixture to the saucepan and return to the heat; cook gently over low heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens - do not let it boil or it may turn lumpy.
  6. Remove from the heat; add the candied fruit; place the saucepan into a large bowl of ice water and stir until the mixture has cooled.
  7. Add the cheese and the almonds; put the mixture into a mould*; cover with a muslin cloth and place a weight on top; refrigerate at least 8 hours before unmoulding; decorate and serve.
  8. To slice, slide your knife through to make horizontal slices, saving the top slice and replacing it: it's more attractive that way.
This is the traditional Russian Easter dessert that is most often made in a pyramid-shaped mold or a clay pot. On the side, spelled out in pieces of candied fruit, were the letters XB, representing the Cyrillic letters for "Christos voskres" -- "Christ is risen." .

Creating this delight took hours - it requires weighing down "pot cheese" with a heavy board to drain the moisture and then pressing it though a sieve before the other ingredients were added. A Russian princess told a 19th century reporter of a version where she added no nuts or currants, but the zest of one lemon. Depending on the household, it is decorated with almonds and candied fruit, or served with a slice of almond bread (in the Baltic states) or with walnut and raisin bread.


*The mold should have a hole in the bottom to allow the cheese to continue to drain. If you don't have a paskha mould, use a terra cotta flower pot, which will also provide the proper shape.
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