First of all, let me start with my amusement caused by the fact that in English the traditional Russian Easter dessert I’m going to present here is called pashka. Now there’s a reason I am going to use the Finnish (& original Russian) name pasha for this delicious dessert, as the English one doesn’t really make justice to it. Why? Because in Finnish pashka means something that comes out of you after you have eaten your pasha, so we better not go further with that.
Last Easter I blogged about the traditional Finnish Easter dessert mämmi, which is made of rye flour, malts and sugar, and typically served with double cream. But pasha…my favorite of all the Easter desserts. Originating from Russia and into the Orthodox Christian Easter tradition it has also found its way to Finland probably centuries ago. Many might know we have a lot of Russian influence here after being under the Russian rule in the 19th century, and pasha is one of those. In Russia pasha is traditionally prepared on Good Friday and enjoyed as a dessert or with afternoon coffee, typically with kulich, a sweet Easter cake.
The recipe of pasha varies depending on who does the treat and where. The two main ingredients, however, stay. They are butter and quark, a thick, sour and very low-fat milk product, typical here in the North. Actually I think I have mentioned quark in my other posts too, wondering what it might be called in other countries. Might also be cottage cheese in the US, for example. Am I any right? With the main ingredients there are many ways to spice pasha, most common of which are orange, lemon (especially the dried and sugared pieces of lemon peel), raisins and nuts or almonds.
Before starting to make pasha, it’s good to know that this version of it is not a “mix & go” type of a dessert. It’s very quick to prepare, but has to drain at least overnight (mine did for 16 hours and could drain even more). So you need also a cheese cloth and a coffee filter to do the draining.
It was the first time for me to prepare this silky dessert, so I modified the original recipe a little bit to suit better my own taste. The recipe can be found here (in Finnish).
Russian Easter Pasha
100 g butter, slightly softened
1 dl sugar
200 g quark
2 dl heavy whipping cream
juice of 1/2 lemon
1 heaping tablespoon orange marmalade
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 dl almond chips or crushed almonds
(1/2 dl raisins)
Lemon/orange peel and almonds to decorate.
Whip the cream until soft peaks lightly form. Using an electric mixer cream together butter and sugar until light in color.
Mix into the butter mixture all the other ingredients and beat gently to incorporate everything.
Line two small or one big steady coffee filter with damp cheese cloth. Spoon the mixture in it until the very top of the filter. Fold the rest of the cheese cloth on the mixture and top with a heavy weight.
Place the filter in a plastic jar where it doesn’t hit the bottom. The excess liquid will drain into the jar without making the pasha wet.
Let drain in a refrigerator for at least 12 hours. Pasha is at its best on the next day.
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