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Russian Cheese Pashka

I know Jennifer posted a Pashka recipe already, but I wanted to add what we made this year. It was a very simple, traditional Russian recipe that I altered to suit our tastes. I used melted chocolate to add the decorations. An Orthodox Pashka is usually decorated with a Russian cross and the letters XB which represent the first letters of the Pascal greeting "Христос воскрес!" (Christos Voskres!) On our Pashka, I used the letters C & R to represent "Christus Resurrexit" and a Latin cross but I also included the usual symbols around the sides and even an XA for the Greek "Χριστός ἀνέστη!" ( Khristós Anésti!)

Russian Pascha

2 boxes cream cheese, softened
8 oz. small curd cottage cheese
7 oz. plain greek yogurt (the original calls for sour cream)
1/4 C. unsalted butter, melted
7 oz. sugar (a little less than 1 C.)
1/4 tsp. almond extract (the original calls for lemon)
1 tsp. vanilla extract

2 oz. blanched almonds, finely chopped (opt., I opted not)
2.5 oz. currants (opt., I opted not)
cheese mold

If you don't have a cheese mold, you can use two layers of cheesecloth inside of an empty 35.3 oz. yogurt carton. First, poke a lot of little holes in the bottom of the tub. I used a metal shish kabob skewer. I think I poked it about 20 times each from the inside and the outside.

In a medium bowl, thoroughly blend cream cheese, cottage cheese, sour cream/yogurt and butter. Fold in sugar, extracts, almonds and currants. Scoop your cheese into your prepared mold. I recommend folding paper towels or kitchen towels and setting your tub of cheese on top of those to help soak up the extra liquid. Refrigerate overnight. You might want to change the towels out once or twice before unmolding. 

When you are ready to serve, place the upside down tub on a plate and remove tub. Carefully pull the cheesecloth off. Decorate if you want to.


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