Are you looking for new Easter dessert ideas? Holidays are a time for traditions and traditional foods. However, it’s always nice to see something delicious and new on a holiday table. So, here’s something new! Have you ever heard of Pashka?
The Origins: What Is Pashka?
Pashka (often called Pascha, Pasha, or Paska) is an Eastern European Easter dessert popular in Christian Orthodox communities. Easter Paska is also a traditional dish for many Greeks, and even Finns. However, the origin and original recipe come from Russia. Pashka is a cheesecake-like dessert (minus the crust) with a sweet custardy texture.
Most often you’ll see it garnish with candied orange or lemon zest along with nuts to enhance its festive nature. This dessert is a symbolic representation of the tomb of Jesus Christ. Traditional recipes require that Pashka be formed in the shape of a pyramid with an XB engraving (Celtic for ‘Christ has risen). If you can’t find a wooden mold, you may use a regular pudding bowl instead. Then use the candied zest and nuts to create the symbolic XB letters.
These letters originate from Russian and stand for “Христос Воскрес” (Christos voskres) — “Christ is risen.”
How to Make This Eastern European Dessert?
You will also appreciate the no-bake process that makes this recipe easy and hassle-free. Please, remember to make it a day before to give it sufficient time to set. Pashka can also be used as a quick educational lesson for the young ones after they have settled down from their fun egg hunt. Easter is a very welcomed time of the year. It’s a time of rebirth in nature and a time for rebirth in our Christian faith.
“People come together with their families to celebrate Easter. What better way to celebrate than to spend a few hours going on the journey of Christ’s life.” – Roma Downey
Traditional Pashka Recipe
- 1 pound cottage cheese, (at room temperature)
- 1 pound, Philadelphia Cream Cheese (at room temperature)
- 3 sticks, unsalted butter (at room temperature)
- 1 cup, of heavy cream
- 6 egg yolks (at room temperature)
- 1 ½ cups, of sugar
- 1/4 tsp, grated fresh nutmeg, and cinnamon
- 1 freshly grated orange zest
- 1 tbsp, of pure vanilla extract
- 1/3 cup, of finely chopped candied citron
- 1 orange or lemon zested and candied (optional)
- An assorted mix of nuts and dried fruits, for garnish(optional)
- Gather your baking supplies and carefully measure out all the ingredients.
- Strain the cheese (if liquidy) through a mesh-sieve or strainer placed over a bowl. You can also use a food mill as an alternative option.
- Set your strained cheese aside.
- Chop, slice, and grate fresh ingredients as instructed in the previous section.
- Carefully separate the egg yolks from the egg whites. Reserve whites for another use such as a meringue or egg white omelet.
- Add the yolks to your whisking bowl and add the sugar.
- Use a stand mixer or whisk by hand.
- With a stand mixer add the whisk attachment.
- Beat the egg yolks and sugar at high to medium-high speed. Whisk until you get a light, fluffy mixture. (Approx. 5 minutes)
Tip: Take your whisk and remove it from the mixture. As the batter drips off move your hand in a figure-eight pattern. If the ribbon of the batter does not disappear quickly but holds its shape you are done. If not whisk a few more minutes to obtain a ribbon consistency.
- Add the cheese, butter, zest, and aromatic spices (slowly) while mixing the batter at a medium speed.
- Whisk until thoroughly combined. This should not take long at all. One to two minutes should do it.
- Now slowly pour the heavy cream into the batter. Mix until you get a silky smooth batter.
- Add in the vanilla essence at the very end and let it mix through the batter and stop.
- Line the mold (preferable size 5 ½ inch by 7-inch) with a dampened cheesecloth.
- Pour in the cheese batter.
- Fold the cloth to cover the top and close it.
- Place a plate weighted down with 2-3 cans. (Approx. 2-3 pounds of weights)
- Set the filled mold in a pot or bowl large enough to hold the mold and the weighted dish on top.
- Refrigerate the dessert overnight to let the mixture sit and drain.
- The following day remove the weights and slowly pull back the cloth from the mold base.
- Cautiously invert the mold onto a serving platter.
- Carefully remove all cheesecloth.
- Garnish with candied citron, dried fruits, and nuts.
Presto! Your stunning Easter pashka dessert is ready to be served. Your family and friends are bound to ask for second-helpings because this towering treat is just that good.
After you make the Pashka recipe try your hand a baking Italian Easter Bread or a delicious Grain Pie. If you are more in the mood for something savory, you can opt for a traditional Pizza Rustica another all-time favorite for Easter.