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Happy Easter!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happy Easter, folks! May Peace, Love and Prosperity follow you at all times. I love Easter: winter with its snow aggravation is behind, the sun shines more, and people look happier. Today we had a lovely Easter branch with painted eggs, buns, and a variation of no-bake cheese cake Russian style that is traditionally prepared at Easter. It is called Paskha (Easter in Russian). Follow me to see how it's done...

What you need:
2 lb farmers cheese (unsalted is better)
1/2 cup confectioner's sugar
1/2 cup maple syrup
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
100 g butter, whipped
1/4 cup whipped cream
1 cup golden raisins
Dry fruit for decoration, thinly sliced

Thoroughly mix farmers cheese with sugar, maple syrup, and vanilla. When the mass is even and  softened, mix in butter, then whipped cream. Mix well again: the mass should be soft, but not runny, and thick enough to form a mound later. At the end mix in raisins and spread them evenly.

Line the bottom and sides of a bowl with a few layers of cheese cloth (or paper towels). Place the cheese mass in the bowl, press against the sides, and even out the surface. 

Wrap the surface with cheese cloth flaps. It's important to prevent sticking of the weight you will put on.

Put a flat plate or a wooden circle on the cheese and something heavy on top. In my case it was a stone, you can also use a jar filled with water or a heavy figurine from your collection of antiques. :) Let it refrigerate overnight.

In the morning starts the fun part - decorating your Paskha. Unwrap the cheese mass, put a nice serving plate on top, face side down, center it.
Then concentrate, get a good grip of both the bowl and the plate, and... quickly flip it over so that the cheese mass lands on your serving bowl. Remove cheese cloth to reveal a delicious mound of Paskha. Hopefully it will land right in the center, if not - carefully move it to the right position.

Now the creative part: use the best raisins and apricots to decorate the surface of Paskha. I used also slices of dried dates. Use whatever your imagination calls for, even edible flowers will do!
It is sunny today, and it was so nice to sit at our festive table, talking, eating, looking out the window at blooming forthysia, and thanking the Creator for another happy day.

Update 4/12/2015: for today I made a new decoration for Paskha. I used poppy seeds and a self-made stencil. Spread some honey on the surface of Paskha, position the stencil, drizzle with poppies, then slightly press poppies with your fingers, blow away the rest of poppies and carefully remove the stencil. Voila!

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