Friday, April 2, 2010


In Tokyo they are welcoming the cherry blossom. In the Southern Hemisphere, it’s easy to forget that Easter was originally a spring festival celebrating new life. For years, each Easter, I used to make pashka – a traditional Russian treat designed to celebrate the end of Lent. It’s certainly not exactly healthy, but we ate it only once a year.


40 g sultanas
two tbsp of vodka
350g full-fat cream cheese
175g unsalted butter
15g crushed, blanched almonds
½ tsp of vanilla essence
75g caster sugar
a handful each of glace cherries and glace peel

To make the custard

One egg yolk
2 tsps caster sugar
75ml cream

Soak the sultanas overnight in vodka. Line a large size sieve with muslin, making sure there is enough left over to fold over the top. Mix together in a bowl the cream cheese, unsalted butter, vodka-soaked sultanas, almonds, vanilla essence, caster sugar and cut-up glace fruits. Make a custard by beating the egg yolk and second measure of castor sugar together. Bring two/thirds of the cream to boil, add to the egg and sugar mix and stirring all the time bring it to near boiling. When it begins to thicken remove it from the heat. Allow it to cool a bit before blending it in to the cream cheese. Mix in the remaining cream.

Put the mixture into the muslin in the sieve and stand in another container to collect the whey. Put it in the fridge with a weight on top (I used a clean garden brick) for 24 hours. Removing the muslin turn it on to a plate, ready for Easter Sunday. Yum!. Most recipes suggest decorating with the glace fruit but I added them to the cream cheese mixture. Labour-saving, it didn’t look as decorative but it added to the flavour.

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