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Do you have a craving for something dreamy, creamy, and sweet? Look no further than sweet cheese pudding (or Paskha in Russian). This delicious dessert is emblematic of the Easter celebration in Russia, but can be enjoyed year-round with its mix of traditional flavors. The texture is like a cheesecake crossed with custard—soft but not too heavy—and it usually has hints of orange, nutmeg, and dried fruits throughout. Plus, this light pudding pairs perfectly with coffee or tea! So if you’re looking to indulge your sweet tooth in a new way, read on to find out how to make this traditional Eastern European treat!
Sweet Cheese Pudding (Paskha)
Paskha, a delectable sweet cheese pudding, has long been a cherished hallmark of traditional Russian Orthodox Easter celebrations. Embellished with a rich medley of flavors, this decadent treat artfully melds the velvety smoothness of farmer’s cheese with the sumptuousness of butter, sugar, and cream, entwining each with complementary accents of fragrant vanilla, tangy dried fruits, and crunchy nuts. As a masterstroke of culinary artistry, the Paskha pudding is thoughtfully molded into an evocative pyramid shape as a tribute to the Orthodox spiritual belief in the resurrection. Delightful to both the eyes and the palate, the Paskha experience has the power to transport its enthusiasts, effortlessly weaving together the essence of flavor, tradition, and spirituality.
Whenever you’re feeling the need for something warm and comforting or just want to do something special for Easter, making Paskha should be your go-to recipe. Once you gain a mastery of the basics, adjusting variations to fit your taste buds could make it even more enjoyable! So grab all the ingredients — farmer’s cheese, sugar, butter, cream — as well as decorations like dried fruits and nuts from your local grocer and show us what you can come up with. Let us know what you think!
Traditions and Origins
Paskha, a luscious sweet cheese pudding, carries with it the rich tapestry of Eastern Orthodox culinary traditions and a fascinating origin that dates back centuries. Prepared to celebrate the conclusion of religious fasting during Easter, Paskha is a symbol of both sustenance and spiritual renewal. The recipe itself is steeped in history, hailing from Russian and Eastern European households where families would gather to share a sumptuous feast, breaking bread together as they eagerly anticipate the resurrection of Christ.
Lavishly crafted with a soft blend of creamy cottage cheese, butter, and sugar, this delicate dessert is then embellished with elegant swirls of raisins, candied fruits, and nuts. It is said to resemble the Church’s iconic domes, drawing the eye and the heart to the heavens above. Paskha’s intricate customs and rich flavors not only serve as a testament to time-honored gastronomic prowess but also offer a timeless reminder of the deep-rooted sense of community and spirituality that unites us in the warm embrace of tradition.
Sweet Cheese Pudding (Paskha)
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Sweet Cheese Pudding (Paskha)
Let's gather the ingredients!
- 2 pounds fresh farmer cheese
- 6 egg yolks
- 1½ cups granulated sugar
- 3 sticks unsalted butter softened
- ¼ tsp nutmeg freshly grated
- 1 orange only the zest
- ⅓ cup candied lemon peel finely chopped
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 tbsp pure vanilla extract
- Assorted dried fruits for decoration
- Press the cheese through a medium strainer set over a bowl.
- Using a mixer with the whisk attachment, whisk yolks with the sugar on high speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.
- Reduce speed to medium, then add cheese, butter, nutmeg, zest, and lemon peel and mix until very smooth.
- Add cream in a slow, steady stream just until combined. Stir in the vanilla extract.
- Line a 5x7-inch paskha mold, flowerpot, or strainer with dampened cheesecloth, then add the batter.
- Fold cheesecloth over top. Top with two stacked plates weighted with 2 to 3 cans. Place filled mold over a wide, empty cooking pot in the refrigerator, then let drain overnight.
- Remove weights and plate, then pull back the cheesecloth from the base. Carefully invert the mold onto a serving plate and remove the paskha, then remove the cheesecloth. Decorate with dried fruits.
- Serve and enjoy with family and friends!
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To Wrap It All Up
Paskha is a traditional, centuries-old eastern European dessert that has been savored by many generations. Whether you try it with fresh berries and jam, walnuts, and raisins, or other ingredients of your choosing, this sweet cheese pudding offers a creamy texture and mildly tart flavor that is sure to impress any guest. It also makes for an amazing addition to any Easter spread or celebration. To make Paskha even more exciting it can be served in all sorts of shapes and decorations!
As we wrap up our exploration of sweet cheese pudding, let us just say that we would highly recommend giving this delicious treat from the old country a try! Plus, once you’ve made your own, why not share your recipe with us? Let us know what you think about your first (or fifteenth!) attempt at making Paskha. We’d love to hear from you.
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