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Desserts

Paskha

Paskha
Los Angeles Times

"This is when you wish you had one of those Russian grandmothers on hand, the ones who've been making kulich all their lives," says Nick Coe, kneading a huge mass of heavy dough. The traditional Russian Easter cake is usually ... Read more

Total time: 2 days | Serves 16 to 18
  • 2 1/2 pounds farmer cheese, cream cheese or small-curd whole-milk ricotta
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise, scraped
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup chopped toasted almonds
  • 1/4 cup glace cherries
  • 1/4 cup glace lemons

Step 1Place cheese in fine sieve and let drain overnight in refrigerator. Pass drained cheese through coarse sieve.

Step 2Cream egg yolks, butter, sugar and scraped vanilla bean. Combine with cheese and sour cream. Place in cheesecloth-lined 7-inch clay flowerpot or cheesecloth-lined paskha mold. Cover top of cheese mixture with paper plate and weight it with brick. Let it drain 24 to 36 hours in refrigerator.

Step 3Unmold Paskha on plate and decorate with almonds, cherries and lemons. Serve with Kulich.

Note: A paskha mold is a 4-sided pyramid with an opening at the small end. A flowerpot is the usual substitute, but be sure it has a drainage hole in the bottom. Paskha needs a whole-milk small-curd cheese and is best made with farmer cheese, available at specialty markets; Nick Coe considers Polly-O ricotta an acceptable substitute. Some cooks mix almonds, glace fruit, raisins and the like into the cheese. Although the recipe callsfor uncooked eggs, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has found them to be a potential carrier of food-borne illness and recommends that infants, the elderly and people with compromised immune systems avoid raw eggs.

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