PASHKA THE RUSSIAN EASTER CAKE
The most divine traditional Russian Easter cake made with quark and glacé fruit
Makes 2 a total of 24 portions
Degree of difficulty – very easy
1 vanilla pod, split and scraped
400g caster sugar
5 extra large egg yolks, room temperature
200g cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1600g quark or fresh ricotta
1 lemon, grated rind
75g blanched almonds, slithered
100g glacé red cherries, cut in half
100g Glacé green cherries, cut in half
100g clacé apricot, cut into large dice
100g glacé green ginger, roughly chopped
125g rich cream
glacé apricot and citron – approximately 100g
other…bowl with ice to cool the anglais
Three quarters fill a large saucepan with hot water and place it on high heat. Select a stainless steel bowl that will fit comfortably on top of the saucepan. Put the egg yolks and sugar into it and whisk together. Measure the milk into a 1L microwave safe jug. Split the vanilla pod and scrape the seeds out. Put the seeds and the pod into the milk. When the water in the saucepan is boiling microwave the milk on high for 2 minutes. Remove the pod and whisk the infused milk into the eggs and sugar. Place the bowl over hot water, and using a rubber spatula to constantly scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl cook it until it is very thick. Remove from the heat, stand the bowl on a rack and whisk in the butter a little at a time until completely incorporated. Allow to cool completely.The Pakshka can be made several days in advance [we like that]. However, to keep the cheese from souring, the drip tray and rack must be washed daily. Then, after the second day when the Pashka should firm enough to be gently un-moulded onto a tray, the cloths should be removed and washed, wrung out hard and the Pashka rewrapped and returned it to the fridge. Four to five days the Pashka will cut easily.
Using either a food processor, potato press, Mouli or Kenwood sieving attachment, rice the cheese into the large bowl of an electric mixer. Add the grated lemon rind, currants and almonds, then mix in the custard a little at a time until completely incorporated. Fold through the glacé fruit in by hand. Double line your mould with muslin that has been wet and wrung out as much as possible. Scrape you prepared mixture into the mould, fold the excess muslin back over the top and press down on it firmly. Stand the mould on a rack in a tray and allow it to stand for at least 24 hours in the fridge. Make sure you have nothing with a strong savoury smell in your fridge.
Fold back the muslin from the top, invert your serving plate top and quickly invert the Pashka onto your plate. Carefully remove the muslin and using the glacé fruit and citron, decorate with a cross and the Greek letters XB…if you are that way inclined.
This year we are rolling ours through oven dried pistachios that have been powdered in the Thermomix and then decorating the edges with finely sliced citron.