Cottage Cheese Paskha
This special, cheesecake-like dessert is served on Easter Sunday. It’s made in the shape of a four-sided pyramid so you’ll need a special plastic or wooden mold, called pasochnitsa. You can find these online or substitute with a clean flower pot or any pyramid-shaped mold. The paskha is usually decorated with the letters XB, which stands for Hristos Voskres, Christ is Risen. Raisins, candied fruit and nuts form patterns of crosses, spears, grains and flowers, all symbols of the suffering and resurrection of Christ.
- A wooden or plastic paskha cheese mold called pasochnitsa, or similar container
- Double-layered cheesecloth
- 2 pound weight or something equally heavy (for example, a pitcher of water)
- ½ cup raisins
- 1 pound high fat cottage cheese
- 2 eggs
- 7 oz sour cream
- ¼ cup sugar or to taste
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 7 tbsp (¾ stick) room temperature butter cut into small pieces
- 3 oz candied fruit any kind
- 2 oz chopped nuts any kind, optional
- Rinse raisins, pour boiling water over them, and leave for 20 minutes. Drain the water and dry the raisins on a paper towel.
- If using store-bought cottage cheese, rub cottage cheese through a sieve twice or blend it in a blender to make it creamy and uniform.Note: if you made the cottage cheese yourself and it is soft and smooth, you can skip this step.
- Add eggs, sour cream, sugar, and vanilla extract to the cottage cheese. Mix well.
- Add butter and use a mixer to whip until fluffy and homogeneous.
- Pour the mixture into a thick-walled saucepan. Cook it on low heat for several minutes, stirring constantly, until it begins to bubble. Turn the heat off immediately. Do not allow the mixture to boil.
- Lower the saucepan into a bowl with cold water (preferably with ice cubes) and stir until completely cooled. Set aside some candied fruit and nuts for decoration, then add raisins, remaining fruit and nuts to the chilled mixture and mix well.
- Cool the mass for 1 to 2 hours in the refrigerator to thicken.
- Line the mold or whatever container you’re using with dampened cheesecloth and put the mixture inside. Fold the cheesecloth over the top of the mixture, covering it. Cover with a lid or small plate and place the weight on top. Put on another plate to catch any runoff and put in refrigerator for 24 to 30 hours.
- Remove paskha from container, unwrap the cheesecloth, and put paskha onto a serving plate.
- Decorate with candied fruit and nuts, if desired.