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Old 01-28-2007, 02:47 PM
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ewriggs ewriggs is offline
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Cheese Pascha II


This is the recipe I have used for the most part. It comes, with a few adaptations, from Foods of the World: Russian Cooking. It takes all day, but I have found it can be made a few days or even weeks ahead and frozen. Watch the Jewish calendar. If Passover falls within 2 or 3 weeks of Pascha, you need to get your farmer's cheese EARLY. Otherwise, it won't be available!! I usually triple the recipe and make 3 or 4 for family and friends.

3 lbs farmer's cheese (Friendship Farms or Breakstone are good brands)
1/2 lb softened, unsalted butter
1/4 c. rum and brandy, mixed
4 egg yolks
1/2 c. chopped candied fruits and rinds
1 c. heavy cream
1 c. sugar
1/2 c. chopped blanched almonds

1/4 to 1/2 c. whole toasted, blanched almonds
1/4 to 1/2 c candied fruits and rinds

Set cheese in a colander, covered with cheesecloth or kitchen towel. Weight down with a heavy pot or several cans of food. Drain for about 24 hours in refrigerator.

Combine candied fruits and rum/brandy mixture. Stir thoroughly and let rest for about an hour. (I keep some brandied fruits at all times and use them. -- Windy)

Rub drained cheese through a sieve into large bowl with the back of a wooden spoon. (Processor doesn't work, but grinder will. -- Windy) Thoroughly beat softened butter into cheese. Set aside.

Heat cream in small saucepan over high heat until small bubbles form around the edge of the pan. Set aside.

Drain candied fruits and rinds in a strainer, reserving the rum/brandy mixture.

Beat eggs and sugar together with a whisk or beater until they thicken enough to run sluggishly off the beater when it is lifted out of the bowl. Still beating, slowly add the hot cream in a thin stream. Return mixture to pan. Cook over low heat, stirring CONSTANTLY, until mixture thickens to custard-like consistency. DO NOT ALLOW TO BOIL - IT WILL CURDLE! Remove from heat. Stir in the drained candied fruits and rinds.

Set pan in a large bowl filled with ice cubes covered with 2 inches water. Stir constantly with a metal spoon (conducts heat away) until it is completely cooled, than mix it gently but thoroughly into the cheese mixture and stir in the chopped almonds.

Fix up a pascha mold or use a 2 qt clay flowerpot, the kind with a hole in the bottom.
(NOTE: If using a flowerpot, be sure to wash and dry it thoroughly - I run mine through the dishwasher on the hottest setting, then bake them on 200 deg for a few hours to be sure they are dry)
Set the pot in a shallow soup plate and line it with a double thickness of cheesecloth (cotton works best). Cut it long enough that it hangs at least 2 inches over and around the top of the pot or mold. Pour in the cheese mixture, and fold the ends of the cheesecloth lightly over the top. Set a weight directly on top of the cheesecloth. (I use the bottom dish for the flowerpot, and set a large can or two on top of that. - Windy) Chill 24 hrs, or until firm.

Unmold by unwrapping the cheesecloth from the top, and inverting a plate or platter over the pot or mold. Holding them firmly together, turn them over. The Pascha slides out easily. Carefully peel off the cheesecloth and decorate the top and sides as you want with the almonds and candied fruits. Traditionally, "Xb" is put on the side of the cheese. It stands for the initials of "Christos Voskrese," in the Slavonic alphabet, and means "Christ is Risen!"

Once unmolded, you can simply wrap it carefully in plastic wrap or foil and freeze. Get it out and let it thaw about 3 hours before decorating to take to Church for Pascha!!


*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~ *~*
~*~ Christ is risen from the dead,
Trampling down death by death!
And upon those in the tombs bestowing Life! ~*~
~*~ Troparion of Pascha ~*~
*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~ *~*
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