Paskha is another traditional Russian food that is made at Easter. It is similar in flavour to cheesecake filling. Typically, it is blessed along with the Kulich and eggs, and then spread on slices of Kulich when it is eaten each morning. Like most traditional foods, every family’s recipe is different. I tend to make the same recipe for the Kulich each year, but like to change the flavour of the Paskha to keep things interesting.
makes about 2.5 cups.
300g cottage cheese* (see bottom of post for alternatives)
75g butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
2 egg yolks
150ml whipping cream
Flavourings – (Add as many or as few as you like. This year I used the vanilla and cardamom.)
2 vanilla beans
4 green cardamom pods
50g sultanas or other dried fruit
50g slivered almonds
Zest of a lemon
Zest of an orange
Beat the butter and sugar until pale. Add the yolks, one at a time and beat until well combined. Stir in your flavourings and the cheese. Mix well. Whip the cream until it is lightly whipped and then fold through the cheese mixture.
Dampen a cheese cloth, and line your container of choice with it. The traditional mold is wooden, but I use a clean flower pot. You need something with holes in the bottom. A colander or the little plastic basket that some cheeses come in would work well.
Fill the mold with the cheese mixture, wrapping the excess cheese cloth over the top. Stand it on a plate or bowl to catch any drips. Refrigerate for 1- 3 days before unmolding the paskha. It should be firm to touch so that it will hold its shape. Mine is still in the fridge, so no final photo yet.
Open out the cheese cloth covering the top and turn the mold upside down on a plate. Carefully remove the cheese cloth. Serve with slices of Kulich.
*Every recipe for Paskha uses a different name for this cheese. They include, farmers cheese, fresh curd cheese, tvorog, ricotta and cottage cheese. Use whatever you can find. I like to make my own ricotta for this, which is actually very simple and works well in the recipe. When I make mine, I use vinegar instead of the lemon juice, and leave out the salt.