For Orthodox Christians Easter is one of the most anticipated holidays after the New Year and Christmas. This bright spring holiday is preceded by a great preparation. It involves not only a great fast, during which each person strives to become a little better, do good deeds and fill his heart with love. But people also need to prepare the house and stock up on food for the holiday table.
Easter table is always served with great care, love and awe. Special dishes are prepared exclusively for this holiday. Golden Easter bread tickles nostrils with its fragrant aroma of a mixture of baked bread, nuts, vanilla and cognac. The table is decorated with fresh flowers, twigs, painted eggs and, of course, his Majesty – cottage cheese Paskha.
Cottage cheese Paskha is the main, sacred dish on the festive table. Embodying Calvary, it also reminds us of the joy of the resurrection of Christ, the beauty and purity of Heaven.
There are three ways of making Paskha:
1) According to the first one Paskha is prepared from grated cottage cheese, which is simply mixed with other products and shaped as needed.
2) Second one is baked Paskha, cooking of which involves baking the curd mass with different additives in the oven.
3) Custard Paskha is probably the most time-consuming in preparation as all the ingredients are stewed on low heat or bain-marie for a long time and then shaped in a familiar form.
To prepare the custard Paskha with almonds you will need:
1.5 kg (3.3 lb) cottage cheese with high fat content
300 ml (10.14 fl oz) heavy cream
250 g (8.81 oz) butter
8 egg yolks
200 g (7.05 oz) brown sugar
150 g (5.29 oz) raisins or dried cherries
100 g (3.53 oz) peeled roasted almond
50 ml (1.7 fl oz) port wine
1 vanilla pod
0.5 tsp salt
Cheese for Paskha should be dry, with no whey, so if you purchased farmer’s cheese, it is necessary to tilt it through a sieve for a few hours to remove excess fluid. At the same time soak dried fruits in the port wine.
Cut the butter in pieces, add heavy cream and half a pod of vanilla. Bring the mixture to a boil on low heat, then remove and let stand under the lid for another 10 minutes.
Then beat the yolks with sugar until white. Remove vanilla pod from the pot and bring the mixture to a boil one more time, remove from heat. Stirring constantly, pour a little cream into the yolk mass, and then connect the two mixtures by stirring well. Such complex manipulations are carried out to ensure that the yolks are not cooked. Cool the mixture for 5 minutes.
Add cottage cheese and beat well with a blender until smooth. Add dried fruits and chopped almonds. Lay the form with gauze soaked in port wine, then spread the curd mass inside. Leave in the refrigerator for 48 hours.
Before serving, turn Paskha into a dish and remove the gauze. Easter Paskha can be decorated with candied fruits, fresh flowers or almond flakes. Bon appetite!