Paskha is most definitely a holiday dessert of Eastern European, mainly Russian and Ukranian origin. The recipe became obscure because some people cook it, some don't, and it is best made with dry farmer's cheese that is not too wet. I developed recipes years ago for the Chicago branch of the Russian Tea Room and this is the recipe we used. Many nationalities have their version of this dish and use a specially designed mold to reflect their culture.
- 3 1/2 pounds farmer's cheese or small curd cottage cheese
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 3 large egg yolks
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 1 1/2 teaspoons grated lemon rind
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup total, assorted raisins or candied fruits
And, one 6-inch plastic flower pot with hole in bottom
- Line the flower pot with 2 pieces of clean cheese cloth
- Puree the cheese in a food processor until completely smooth.
- Combine the butter, yolks, sugar, salt and vanilla in a medium sized bowl and beat with an electric mixer for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the sour cream and beat 2 minutes more.
- Now add the cheese to the mixture and using a heavy duty wooden spoon, vigorously beat until smooth and fluffy.
- Fold in the lemon rind and raisin mixture until combined.
- Pour the Paskha into the lined flower pot, pat down the top, fold over the cheese cloth then cover with a small plate to push down on the cheese. Place the flower pot into a bowl so that the excess liquid drains out of the hole. Refrigerate for 2 days, then carefully unmold and invert onto a plate to serve. You can garnish the top and sides with almonds and mixed nuts.
Peace and Love, Mike
The New Polish Cuisine by Michael Baruch and Gregory Bertolini