A pashka is for life,not just for Easter

Páscoa,Pascua, Pasqua,Pashka..... Most of the regional names of Easter have been derived from the Latin and Greek word ‘Pascha’ or Hebrew ‘Pesach’ meaning Passover. English speaking countries term the day of the feast ‘Easter’ and German speaking tongues refer to the festive day as ‘Ostern’. Both these terms seem have come from the name of an ancient goddess known as Eostre.

After forty days and forty nights of undefiled fasting in the wild,you´d not only be starving but tempted and craving the most delicious hot fudge sundae ever.Having given up that latte and chocolate muffin, where were you forced to turn in order to survive those Monday mornings at work? Well look no further. Dog days are over,the humdrum drudgery's done and now its time to let the good times roll! But be quick! Indulge while you can and enjoy every moment.Now its time to let your heart beat faster and your cholesterol levels run wild.Last Easter I entreated you to make monkey bread and this year your Easter treat is going to be an indulgent Pashka (or Paskha)that is something that would bring back the smile to the face of any Czar or Czarina.
Pashka is essentially a crustless cheesecake  that is served in Russian homes for Easter. It is traditionally made during Easter week, and brought to church for blessing on Easter Saturday,before being served on Easter Sunday.
Traditional Pashka is made from a type of farm house cheese or curd cheese called tvorog. Cottage cheese and ricotta cheese are similar and can be used instead.
It’s combined with rich ingredients like cream, butter and eggs and then sweetened with sugar, dried fruit and nuts. This dish is usually heavy on dairy, but I’ve lightened it up by using ricotta with only a small addition of yoghurt.Recipes for this right royal dessert vary from region to region and home to home. Variations can be  found throughout the Eastern Orthodox world. The taste, no matter what recipe is used, is extraordinary. It is often moulded into the shape of an egg, crown or pyramid. Pashka is sometimes made with simple fruit and nuts or with more complicated mixtures of dried fruits and nuts. My loose interpretation encompasses many of those different styles and tastes.Pashka is for life not just for Easter.I feel like I´ve just died and gone to heaven.That is what happens at Easter isn´t it?
Pashka with ricotta and raspberries
Serves 10
It is perfect served with fresh raspberries. The mixture can easily be doubled or tripled, and made in one large mould for a crowd. It is also delicious spread on toast or brioche.So
you can have it for breakfast too.There´s a thing!!!

250g full-fat ricotta, requeijao or cottage cheese
250g mascarpone
150ml whipping cream

1/4 cup honey
a few drops vanilla essence/extract
2 egg yolks
Zest of 1 medium lemon
Zest of 1 small orange
2 tbsp natural, full fat yoghurt
10 dried apricots, finely diced
candied peel 20g
1 cup fresh raspberries
1 cup fresh blueberries
6 tbsp (50g) almond flakes
100g ground almonds
2 medium foil pudding moulds
Fresh raspberries and natural yoghurt to serve

In a medium frying pan, cook almond flakes over medium heat for 1-2 minutes, until light browned/toasted. Stir frequently to prevent burning. Set aside.
Put the mascarpone and ricotta in a mixing bowl. Put the egg yolks and honey in a food mixer and beat till thick and pale. Pour the cream into a saucepan and bring to just boiling point. Pour the cream into the eggs and honey beating continuously. Pour the egg custard into the saucepan in which you heated the cream and warm, gently and stirring regularly, until the mixture is hot, but far from boiling. Stir regularly, adding the vanilla extract, a drop or two should be enough, as you go.
Stir the dried apricots, candied peel,blueberries,raspberries finely grated orange and lemon zest, the flaked and ground almonds and the yoghurt into the cream cheese. Reserve a few whole raspberries and blueberries for decoration at the end.When the custard is hot, pour it into the cream cheese and ricotta and fold everything gently together with a large spoon or rubber spatula. Mix lightly but thoroughly.
Line a large sieve with muslin or a new J-cloth, then suspend it over a bowl. Scrape the cream cheese mixture into the lined sieve, fold the overhanging fabric over the top and refrigerate overnight.
The mixture will set and some of the liquid will sip out through the bottom. To serve, remove pashka carefully from the sieve and peel away the muslin cloth. The easiest way to do this is to tip the sieve upside down on to a plate and then pull it off and peel the muslin off. Garnish with extra almond flakes and raspberries and blueberries on top. Serve with more yoghurt and extra honey if you like.


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