Cottage cheese paskha is made and sold today everywhere, cooked with a variety of recipes using different ingredients. This dish was invented in Russia.
In the old days this sweet dish was not available to everyone. Cottage cheese paskha (this is how this dish was formerly called) was prepared only once a year –for a big Christian holiday (Orthodox Easter) and only in families had a certain level of prosperity.
A Symbol of Easter
Paskha (a Russian dessert made from curd or cream and traditionally served at Easter) was cooked for Easter celebrations. Curd was laid in the form of a pyramid with a truncated top. It symbolized a tomb of the Lord. To prepare paskha a housewife had a special form – pasochnitsa – a collapsible wooden form with carved out letters XB (“Christ has risen” in Russian). Such paskha became a symbol of Easter around the 18th century. In St. Petersburg there is even a special Orthodox bell tower that looks like curd paskha.
Most often paskha was the cold way – that is without the use of heat. Scalded paskha is a more complicated dish. Such cottage cheese mixture was mostly cooked in wealthy families. In some recipes scalded paskha is even called – “royal.” To make such paskha not only cottage cheese, but also sour cream, cream, eggs, butter and sugar were used. Also added a lot of yummy goodies – nuts, dried fruit, candied fruit, vanilla. For scalded paskha all ingredients were thoroughly mixed, and then boiled for about an hour. Because during the cooking process a large amount of thrusting is formed, the scalded curd mixture was always put under the press.
The Recipe for Scalded Paskha
William Pohlebkin, a historian of Russian cuisine, gives several recipes. A 24-hour paskha is prepared from cottage cheese (1 kg), butter (200 grams), sour cream (300 grams), two eggs, a cup of sugar and a quarter teaspoon of vanilla. All ingredients should be mixed in the above listed sequence. Then boil and leave under a press for 24 hours.
Scalded paskha can be stored for a long time in a cool place. It is different from raw paskha with a more delicate flavor and lightness.
Try making your own paskha for Easter!