Prep 1 hr
Cook 12 hrs
When made from homemade cottage cheese, paskha is at its best. The homemade cheese is smooth, creamy, and has just the right, slightly sour taste. You may use a commercial brand farmer’s cheese if homemade cottage cheese is unavailable. Serve paskha with slices of Easter Coffee Cake.
- 2 lbs homemade cottage cheese or 2 lbs farmer cheese
- 1 1⁄2 cups sugar
- 8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature, cut into pieces
- 6 large hard cooked egg yolks, crumbled
- 1 1⁄2 cups heavy cream or 1 1⁄2 cups whipping cream
- 3⁄4 cup ground almonds
- 1⁄2 lemon, zest of, grated
- 1 teaspoon lemon extract
- 1⁄2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 large vanilla bean, split lengthwise
- 1⁄2 cup golden raisin
- chopped candied fruit, for decoration
- In a large bowl, combine the cottage cheese or farmer’s cheese, sugar, cream cheese, and egg yolks, stirring to mix.
- In batches, process the mixture in a food processor, adding an equal amount of cream to each batch, until completely smooth. Transfer back to the bowl.
- Stir in the ground almonds, lemon zest, lemon extract, and vanilla extract. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean and add them to the cheese mixture along with the raisins. Mix thoroughly.
- Line a clean, unused 8 cup flower pot with a double layer of rinsed and squeezed dry cheesecloth. Spoon the cheese mixture into the lined pot, then fold the ends of the cheesecloth neatly over the top. Place a saucer on the cheesecloth, then a 2 pound weight, such as a can, on the saucer. Put the flower pot in a bowl large enough for the liquid to drain into. Refrigerate for at least 12 hours.
- Empty the bowl. Unmold the paskha onto a serving plate and carefully remove the cheesecloth. Decorate with candied fruit, pressing some of the fruit into the paskha to form the letters XB, which stands for Khristos voskres (“Christ has risen”).