Sunday, 15 April 2012

Pashka, another Easter cooking treat

This weekend is Orthodox Easter.

Pashka is another delicious Easter food - well actually it can be eaten at any time, but it goes well with the Kulich. Typically is it blessed by the priest along with the Kulich, and later eaten on slices of Kulich for breaking the fast each morning. Pashka is rather like cheesecake filling and rather like that fruit cheese you buy in the supermarket. Recipes vary, family to family.

Makes about 2 1/2 cups.

            300g cottage cheese (See the note at the end about alternatives.)
            75g butter
            1/2 cup sugar
            2 egg yolks
            150ml whipping cream

Flavourings - Add as many or as few as you like.
             2 vanilla beans
This photo illustrates the wooden mould
but does not show how the mould is used with the cheesecloth.
             4 cardamom pods
             50g sultanas
             50g raisins
             50g crystallised ginger
             50g glace fruit
             50g chopped nuts
             1 Tablespoon Amaretto
             zest of a lemon
             zest of an orange

 Prepare the mould

The traditional mould is wooden, but a clean terracotta flower pot is a good substitute.
If using something else it must have good drainage.
A colander works quite well.
Line your mould neatly with damp cheesecloth or similar.
Place a dish under the mould to catch the liquid that drains out of the pashka.

  1. Beat the butter and sugar until pale.
  2. Add the egg yolks one at a time, beating until well combined.
  3. Add the flavourings.
  4. Add the cheese.
  5. Combine very well.
  6. Whip the cream and then fold it through the cheese mixture.
  7. Fill the mould with the cheese mixture.
  8. Wrap the excess cloth over the top. The pashka must be completely covered.
  9. Refrigerate for at least one day and preferably three days. It will be firm to the touch when it is ready.
  10. Open the cloth over the top. Place a plate on top. Flip the mould over. 
  11. Remove the cheesecloth gently.
  12. Serve with slices of Kulich.

The cheese could be farmers cheese, cream cheese, fresh curd cheese, tvorog, ricotta, or cottage cheese. Use what you can find.

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