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Easter Pasha

Pasha is a traditional Finnish Easter dish, especially in the eastern parts of the country. It was brought here by the Russian Orthodox church hundreds of years ago, and is eaten to celebrate the end of the lent. You may know pasha with a little different name – pascha, pashka, or something similar. Pasha or ????? is a Russian word for Easter, originally from a Hebrew word pesah. The transliteration from Cyrillic alphabets explains the small variations in the name.

Pasha is really energy rich food – its main ingredients are quark (milk curd), cream, butter, eggs and sugar. Dairy animals produce milk fats whether you use them or not, so after the lent you had a surplus of cream. It was then used to make pasha. I’m referring to the days when agriculture was the predominating livelihood :)

Traditionally pasha is made in wooden, pyramid-shaped molds. Since Easter is the biggest holy day of the Russian Orthodox church, the molds are often carved with religious symbols such as XB, short for Hristos voskrese (??????? ????????) – Christ is Risen. The pyramid shape reminds of the Jews’ slavery in Egypt.

Pasha

250 g quark / curd cheese (in US, look for tvorog in Russian stores)
50 g butter
3 tbsp sugar
1 dl raisins
1/2 dl candied lemon zest (sukaatti, suckat)
1/2 dl crushed almonds
3 tbsp orange marmalade
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp lemon juice (about 1/2 lemon)
2 dl whipping cream

Unless you use Russian tvorog, put the quark or curd cheese in a coffee filter for 12 hours. During that time the liquid will separate which makes for a denser Pasha.

Mix sugar and butter until airy and smooth. In a separate bowl whip the cream. Add all the rest ingredients to the sugar and butter mixture, mix until smooth, and finally carefully add the whipped cream.

Pour the mixture in a double-layered coffee filter, and let stand in a fridge for 24 hours.

When 1-2 dl of liquid has dripped from the pasha in the fridge, tip it over on a plate and decorate with candied lemon zest and raisins.

Kulitsa is also a Russian Easter dish, which is often eaten with pasha. It is a sweet, buttery, and incredibly tasty loaf, which is sliced like bread and and topped with heaps of pasha.

I urge you to try this, it is absolutely delicious!

Kulitsa

(1 huge loaf or 2 smaller)

2 dl milk
25 g fresh yeast or equivalent amount of dry yeast
1/8 g saffron
1 tbsp cardamom
1/2 tsp salt
1 egg
1 dl sugar
2 tbsp candied lemon zest (sukaatti)
1 dl raisins
1/2 dl crushed almonds
7 dl all purpose flour
125 g butter

Make a dough (as you would for any bread/roll), and let it rise for 30 minutes. Make one or two round loaves on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper. Decorate with dough strips, candied lemon and raisins (make e.g. letters XB).

Heat the oven to 180 C (355 F), but don’t let the loaves rise for longer than it takes for the oven to heat, otherwise they will loose their shape.

Bake for 30 minutes.

Update

This is Anna’s version of the same recipe – the kulitsa is on the background but it’s really the star attraction here. Perfect for an artery-clogging Easter breakfast!

pashanyc_.jpg

Pasha

250 g maitorahkaa
50 g voita
3 rkl sokeria
1 kananmuna
1 dl rusinoita
1/2dl sukaatteja
1/2 dl mantelirouhetta
3 rkl appelsiinimarmeladia
1 tl vaniljasokeria
puolen sitruunan mehu (1 rkl)
2 dl kuohukermaa vaahtona

Jos et k?yt? ven?l?ist? maitorahkaa, valuta rahkaa suodatinpaperilla vuoratussa kahvinsuodattimessa noin 12 h j??kaapissa.

Vaahdota voi ja sokeri. Lis?? kaikki muut ainekset, lopuksi vaahdotettu kerma, ja sekoita huolella.

Painele massa kahdella suodatinpussilla verhottuun kahvinsuodattimeen, j?t? keskelt? v?h?n koholle sill? pasha painaa valuessaan. Anna valua j??kaapissa vuorokauden verran.

Kumoa tarjoilulautaselle, koristele rusinoin ja sukaatein.

Kulitsa

(1 valtavan iso tai 2 pienehk??)

2 dl maitoa
25 g (1/2 palaa) hiivaa
1/8 g sahramia
1 rkl kardemummaa
1/2 tl suolaa
1 muna
1 dl sokeria
2 rkl sukaattia
1 dl rusinoita
1/2 dl mantelirouhetta
n. 7 dl vehn?jauhoja
125 g voita tai margariinia

Tee hiivataikina, anna sen kohota 30 minuuttia. Leivo nousseesta taikinasta py?re? leip? tai kaksi leivinpaperilla, koristele taikinasuikeroin ja -kirjaimin sek? rusinoin ja sukaatein. ?l? kohota en?? pitemp??n kuin mit? uunin esil?mmitys 180 asteeseen kest??, muuten leip? menett?? muotonsa. Paista 180 asteessa 30 minuuttia. Tarjoa viipaleina, sivele paksulti pashaa p??lle.


10 Responses to “Pasha And Kulitsa – Eastern Easter Delicacies”  

  1. 1 Alanna

    Oh lovely, really. I especially like the added fruit, ripe for expression – think I’d do an ichthus. My Finnish family (#3 of 3) formed pasha in a clay pot lined with cheesecloth. Thanks for the inspiration, Antti!

  2. 2 Pille

    Nice pasha, Antti, and very cute bunnies (how did you make them stand still for so long? :-) But no picture of the famous kulitsa!?!?!

  3. 3 Antti

    Pille, I had serious issues with my bed this morning when I was supposed to bake the kulitsa. The bed kept wispering so beautiful words to my ear I didn’t have the heart to leave the poor thing alone…

    Re: the bunnies; I promised them some carrot cake later on if they posed really nice :)

  4. 4 Anna

    Thanks for making pasha for all! We’ve had summer-like temperatures in NYC so I’ve been way too busy touring the neighborhoods w/ Pekka to post my pasha pics. I baked a kulitsa though so maybe I’ll post that, later on.

  5. 5 Pille

    Now I believe you:) Nice kulitsa & pasha, Anna!

  6. 6 Ivonne

    Antti and Anna,

    I fully support the clogging of arteries in the name of holiday celebrations.

    Well done!

  7. 7 Veronika

    My auntie who grew up in St Peterburg used to make this dish every Easter. I have not eaten it since my childhood in Germany but next year I might try making it because your photos have inspired me.
    Greetings from Australia, Veronika

  8. 8 jopa

    uusi bloggi auki..

  9. 9 jenjen

    wow, I have never heard of these dishes. Thanks for posting about them, they seem wonderful.

  10. 10 Zoltan Nyeki

    I just wonder:

    1. Is there no egg in the pasha english version?
    2. No flour in the kulitsa english version?

    With best regards
    Sulttaani

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