Springtime and nearing Easter brings food memories from childhood to my mind. One of my favorite was and still is pasha. Exact name of this Finnish version of sweet custard dessert is Pashka, it originates from Russia. Don’t say Pashka to Finn though, it means totally something unrelated to food and is bad word. I guess for that reason we call it friendly Pasha. In Finland it’s made of a fresh cheese called rahka, quark in English, butter, eggs, spices and dry fruits.
I have been is UAE almost ten years and it took until last year to learn that quark is called here fromage frais!!!. I have ton of favorite recipes calling for quark and while asking at supermarkets quark they look at me as I am not from same planet. Anyways better late than never.
Pasha is traditionally prepared in a special wooden mold, but in our household we used normal strainer lined with cheese cloth. Since the traditional shape is highrise peak I got colander which resembles that mold. Coffee filter works perfect, any thing where there is holes to drain the excess liquid works well, even clean flower pot.
Needles too say this recipe is super easy and needs next to zero skills or time, hence my favorite. I tweaked the ingredients list to include Emirati touch, dates of course. I guess Levant chef would add few drops of rose water and decorate with rose pedals and pistachio nuts. In Finland it is raisins and almonds for sure, easily available and don’t cost the fortune.
Pasha Finnish Easter Dessert Recipe
250 g fromage frais (quark)
100 g unsalted or slightly salted butter
1 egg yolk
100 g sugar
200 ml whipping cream
2 ts vanilla sugar
1-2 tbs lemon juice
5 tbs crushed almond flakes
5 tbs dates cut to small pieces
Strainer (or coffee filter) and cheese cloth for lining
Marachino cherries, dates and almond flakes for decoration
1. Beat the butter and sugar up to light yellow creamy texture add egg yolk and beat well.
2. Mix butter mixture with fromage frais in cooking pan
3. Heat the mixture in low heat stirring all times until mixture starts to release streaks of steam. Do not cook the mixture.
4. Lift the pan from heat and put it over ice cold water for about 20 minutes stirring time to time to cool the mixture.
5. Whip the cream and add sugar and vanilla.
6. Mix whipped cream to cooled fromage frais mixture, add almonds and chopped dates.
7. Line strainer, or any mold you use, with damp cheese cloth.
8. Pour the mixture in mold/strainer and lift edges of cheese cloth over.
9. Put the mold/strainer over the bowl to strain excess liquid off and keep in fridge over night or 12 hours.
10. Turn over on a serving plate and remove the cheese cloth gently.
Easy 3 step preparation:
1. Whip the cream and in cooking pan mix all other ingredients together and add whipped cream.
2. Heat until streaks of steam starts to raise from mixture, do not cook. Cool it down.
3. Pour in strainer lined with cheese cloth and keep in fridge min. 12 hours. Turn over and move the cloth. Eat!
Decorate with yellow, red and light green ingredients for springtime atmosphere. We use candied orange and lemon peels, candied cherries, fresh citrus fruit wedges, jelly bean candies and nuts. And in Emirates dates is a must, works better than raisins in my opinion.
In Finland, in my family we enjoy Pasha as is, as Easter dessert. It could be served with sweet raisin bun called kulicha like they do in Russia.
Hyvää Pääsiäistä! Happy Easter!