Pashka, the Russian word for Easter, is one of a few ritual foods served at an Orthodox Easter in Russia. Pashka is traditionally spread on kulich (an Easter coffee cake) and served on Easter Sunday. Both the pashka and the kulich are taken to church on the Thursday or Friday before Easter to be blessed. Traditionally, once pashka has been unmoulded, the letters XB (which stand for "Christ has risen" in Cyrillic script) are pressed into the side with extra nuts and glace fruits.
- 250mls (1 cup) single cream
- 3 egg yolks, at room temperature
- 220g (1 cup) caster sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla essence
- 750g ricotta cheese, at room temperature
- 250g cream cheese, at room temperature
- 250g good-quality glace fruit, finely chopped
- 100g whole blanched almonds, finely chopped
- Extra glace cherries or fruit, to serve
- Line an unused 1.5-litre (6-cup) plastic or terracotta flower pot with a layer of rinsed and squeezed-dry cheesecloth. (If using muslin, you'll need 2 layers.)
- Heat the cream in a small saucepan over medium heat. Use electric beaters to beat the egg yolks and sugar in a medium bowl for 2 minutes or until combined.
- Gradually add warm cream in a thin stream to the egg yolk mixture, whisking constantly, until combined. Return mixture to pan and cook over medium-low heat, whisking constantly, for 5-7 minutes or until mixture coats the back of a spoon. Do not allow to boil. Remove from heat and place in a sink filled with iced water. Whisk for 5 minutes or until cooled to room temperature. Stir in vanilla essence.
- Meanwhile, place the ricotta cheese and cream cheese in a large bowl and beat with a wooden spoon until combined. Add the cooled custard and use a wooden spoon to stir to combine. Add the glace fruit and almonds and mix until well combined.
- Spoon a little of the mixture into the lined pot at a time, pressing down with the back of a spoon. Once filled, smooth the top and fold the edges of the cheesecloth over. Sit the pot in a shallow dish. Place a small upturned saucer directly on top of the pashka and sit a small unopened can of food on top. This will help the excess liquid to drain out of the pashka. Place in the fridge overnight to set.
- To serve, turn the pot upside down onto a large serving platter and carefully peel away the cheesecloth. Decorate with extra glace cherries or fruit, if desired. Cut into wedges and serve.