Pasha – Finnish Easter custard dessert with dates

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.
Naked Plate Finnish Easter Dessert Pasha

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.
Naked Plate | Jomara Dates

Pasha Finnish Easter Dessert Recipe

Ingredients

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

Preparation:

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!

Finnish Easter Pasha ready to be turned over

Finnish Easter Pasha ready to be turned over


Get idea what you can use to make creamy Finnish springtime custard dessert Pasha

Get idea what you can use to make creamy Finnish springtime custard dessert Pasha

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!

Be My Valentine – Marianne Cake with Chocolate, Peppermint candies and Strawberries

Be My Valentine! It’s time for red and time for hearts. In Finland we call it modestly Friends Day, Ystävänpäivä. It’s a day to remember your friends, not only your loved one.

I got invitation from Very Good Recipes to be one of the ten judges in Be My Valentine Challenge. I am so excited to see what entries we get. Check the challenge website and send your recipe with photo. The condition is to have red in your recipe.
Yalla! Let’s Go!

Be My Valentine Challenge
on Very Good Recipes

I wanted to make a special Finnish cheese cake to celebrate Valentines day. My cake is a fake Marianne cake, I have cheated with candies. Errr.. Mari what, you might think. The original recipe is definitely from Finland, it calls for candy named Marianne. This “old” Finnish sweet is chocolate candy covered with peppermint, made by Fazer Bakeries & Confectionery founded 1891. Fazer is basically synonym for chocolate in Finland. I am not crazy about chocolate, but their chocolate is worth of trying. Available in Dubai Tax Free by the way, same as Marianne candies. Hah…this is not paid ad, but my honest opinion. Try Fazer Milk chocolate, called Fazer Blue and let me know your opinion.

Do you have candy canes left over from your Christmas tree decoration, here’s idea where to crush them. I have been planning to try this Marianne cake ever since I pumped in to the recipe in Fazer website. When I saw candy canes in my supermarket I knew instantly where to use them. I made substitude of Marianne candy crush from scratch, with candy canes and dark chocolate by giving them a couple of spins with coffee /spice grinder. It was just perfect result, candy became almost powder, so did dark chocolate, but it worked really well in this recipe.

Happy Valentine! Hyvää Ystävänpäivää!

Recipe:
Marianne Cake – with Strawberry, Chocolate and Peppermint candies

Base:
200 g chocolate cookies (I used Oreo without filling)
75 g butter or margarine

Filling:
300 ml whipping cream
200 g cream cheese (like Philadelphia)
Red food coloring (optional)
5 sheets of gelatin (= 2 table spoon of Davis Gelatin, New Zealand)
100 ml water
75 g dark chocolate
60 g peppermint candies, I used 4 small candy canes (optional)
(Or 120 g Marianne crush)

Strawberry jelly cover:
4 sheets of gelatin (1 – 1 1/4 table spoon of Davis Gelatin)
400 g strawberries swirled with blender to liquid consistency
70 g sugar (or more if you like sweet)
100 ml water or red juice
Red food coloring (optional)

1. Cover the bottom of 24 cm spring form pan with baking paper and wipe insides with oil or cover with fling foil, cake will come out smoothly after it’s settled.
2. Crush chocolate cookies with spin roll or mixer. Smelt the butter and add to crushed cookies, pulse couple of times until mixed well. Press the cookie butter mixture on the bottom of cake pan
3. Whip the cream until soft peaks forms add some powder sugar for your taste.
4. Stir cream cheese (and add 1 ts of red food coloring) and add to whipped cream and vanilla.
5. Boil the 100 ml water and add/sprinkle gelatin, mix well, make sure gelatin is all dissolved and add gelatin liquid to cream-cheese mixture. (I added it through fine strainer)
6. Pour over the cookie mix and let settle in fridge (abt. 3 hours)

7. Make the strawberry jelly cover: Swirl strawberries and sugar with blender to liquid consistency. Heat 100 ml of water/juice and add 1 generous table spoon of gelatin, mix well. And add to smooth strawberry mix. (Note from amateur chef, do not use blender to mix gelatin to strawberry mixture, it makes bubbles, see photo of top layer, not exactly best outlook, does not spoil the taste though)
Pour over the cheesecake which is already settled in fridge. Let stand in fridge until cover layer is settled, about 2-3 hours

8. Remove cake from spring form cake pan gently on to a serving plate and decorate.

Tip: Use cookie cutter as template to cut shapes. I pressed heart shape cookie cutter in the cake and cut it with knife.


Valentine Hearts by Very Good Recipes
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White Chocolate and Gingerbread Cheesecake – White Christmas Theme

I have been looking for ideas for festive cake with the twist. I flipped through some Finnish magazines,  made internet search and find out that after leaving Finland six years ago there’s been hype in Finnish food magazines of glögg cheese cake with gingerbread crust. Yes I know,  most of you might think, what in the earth glögg is. It’s a popular and very traditional Finnish (Scandinavian) spiced winter drink. We enjoy it steaming hot when winter weather gives its best; cool and snow. Read about glögg in my other post via link here.

 

Traditionally glögg is ruby red, so my cake should be red, but I wanted to make a white cake specially to take White Christmas Challenge from Very Good Recipes, hence the white theme here. ……Look at the cake!
It’s in fact yellow, in celebration of golden sandy dunes in Dubai desert.

Let me tell about gelatin. It took me a good hour or more to read and understand the beauty of converting gelatin sheets to equal quantity of gelatin powder. After all, I don’t want yello cake. And what about secret or discovery of Davis Gelatin. Why it reads edible gelatin on package, is there also other kind of gelatin on sale in grocery shops?! It reads also clear and unflavored, what about that weird smell of this gelatin. It says halal, but honestly,  I almost quit making the cake because this odor. I am use to gelatin sheets which are odorless.

After several double checks, I came up with gelatin measures like this 1 tablespoon gelatin powder = 3 sheets. In case you might want to do your own research,  here’s the link.

If someone knows pure vegetarian gelatin sold in supermarket in Dubai, leave me a comment please. Above mentioned is from Spinney’s.

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White Chocolate and Gingerbread Cheesecake recipe

Base:
200 g Gingerbread cookies
75 g butter or margarine

Filling:
6 sheets of gelatin (= 2 table spoon of Davis Gelatin, New Zealand)
400 ml whipping cream
200 g white chocolate
400 g cream cheese like Philadelphia
50 ml water
200 g lingonberries or cranberries (optional)

Glaze:
3 sheets of gelatin (1 table spoon of Davis Gelatin)
350 ml of white glögg (Finnish spicy winter drink)

 

  1. Cover 24 cm spring form pan with baking paper and wipe insides with oil or cover with fling foil, cake will come out smoothly after it’s settled.
  2. Crush gingerbread cookies with spin roll or mixer. Smelt the butter and add to crushed cookies, pulse couple of times until mixed well. Press the cookie butter mixture on the bottom of cake pan
  3. Whip the cream until soft peaks forms add some powder sugar.
  4. Smelt the white chocolate over a hot-water bath
  5. Mix white chocolate smelt with cream cheese and add to whipped cream and vanilla.
  6. Boil the 50 ml water and add/sprinkle gelatin, mix well, make sure gelatin is all dissolved and add gelatin liquid to cream-cheese mixture. (I added it through fine strainer)
  7. If you use berries, fold them into cream and cheese mixture last. Note berries have to be soft and juicy.
  8. Pour over the cookie mix and let settle in fridge (abt. 3 hours)
  9. Make the glaze: heat half of the juice/ glögg and add 1 table spoon of gelatin mix well and add rest of the juice/ glögg. Pour over the cheesecake which is already settled in fridge. Let stand in fridge until glaze is settled, about 1 hour.
  10. Remove cake from spring form cake pan gently on to a serving plate and decorate with white chocolate chips

 

Note from baker: I have used cranberries, since the best option, lingon berry is not available here in Dubai.  Cranberries need to get some frost to get soft. Let them stand overnight in freezer and use them when thawed thoroughly. If  you use cranberries you might really need to use that optional sugar.

 

 

Wishing you a white white winter or sandy winter like we have here in Dubai!

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Cranberry Upside Down Cake with Toffee – Cranberry madness continue

What’s with the cranberries! I have fell in love with them on this season. I promise this is the last cake or bake with cranberries, well ….almost, I had something in my mind, I’d love to share later. This is the season after all.

Everyone knows Pineapple upside down cake, but have you ever tried to make cake upside down with cranberries.
I like the flavor of brown sugar with cranberries, they match together so well with hint of cinnamon, which I left out this time, because my dear cake-taster doesn’t like cinnamon. I left out butter from topping and drizzled the cake with toffee sauce and few flakes of coconut.

 

Cranberry Upside Down Cake recipe

Ingredients

Cake:
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
120 g butter, softened
1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
2 eggs
3/4 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla sugar

Topping:
4 cups cranberries, rinsed, get rid of bad cranberries, and at room temperature (just a bit less than a 350 g bag of cranberries).
50 g butter
1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)

Preparation method

1. Sift together flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

2. Beat butter and sugars on medium speed until smooth and fluffy, about 1 minute.
a. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition.
b. On low speed add half the flour mixture then mix to combine.
c. Add sour cream and vanilla. Mix to combine.
d. Add remaining flour mixture and mix until smooth.

3. Butter a 18 cm (9″) cake pan and sprinkle evenly ½ cups sugar mixed
with one teaspoon cinnamon on bottom, add cranberries and bits of butter here and there.

4. Spread batter evenly over the cranberries in the cake pan.

5. Bake at 180 – 200°C until golden brown, edges begin to pull away from the side of the pan, and toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 45 to 50 minutes.

Cool on rack for 10 minutes. Run knife around edge to loosen cake. Invert onto plate.

Note: When you pull out cake of the oven to test, it might appear liquid. The cake is like moving on top of the layer of cranberries. The large amount of butter and shifting cranberries made an almost liquid layer on the bottom of the cake. It will come together when cake cools, the cake is at best on next day when it’s settled.

Toffee sauce

Ingredients

120g light brown sugar
120g butter
100ml cream or full cream milk

Preparation method

1. Melt the butter and sugar in a saucepan over a low heat until the sugar is dissolved but not burned.
2. Stir in the cream or milk and heat gently until bubbling, stirring continually until thickened (about 10 minutes). Remove from heat and serve warm.

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Surprise your loved ones, friends and neigbors with lovely home made gift. I did two cakes with this recipe and used two 15 cm cake tins. Wishing you very happy festive season!

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Cranberry Custard Dessert – Monthly Custard Mingle

I took the challange of November Monthly Mingle hosted by Sally @ My Custard Pie

I was thinking this is piece of cake, well it kind of was, it just made me very productive. I have made Finnish gingerbread cookies and cranberry jam and finally I prepared very first time in my life crème anglaise from the scratch. Phew…that was a heart pumping experience, and yes, it curdled, maybe because I forgot to put on Coldplay’s Yellow….but I revived it with Sally’s instructions. And in case worse would have gone worst, I had my store bought custard powder arm length waiting to rescue me. I did not need it!

All you need is very nice homemade custard aka crème anglaise, cranberry relish or cranberry jam and some creative decoration, anything edible, what you have at home will go. I chose gingerbread cookies, because it’s a must have festive cookie in Finland around Christmas time. Same as cranberries, or lingon berries actually in Finland would be even more easily available at this time of the year and might be slightly more affordable.
Here in Dubai it’s cranberry time.

Custard Recipe from My Custard Pie

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Compilation of Cranberry Custard Dessert

Take the best dessert serving bowl you have, layer cranberry relish or jam and custard, finish with sprinkle of cookie crumbs and decorate with sugarcoated cranberries and gingerbread cookies. Voilà, Aux Canneberges avec Crème anglaise!

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I have linked you to my previous posts and recipes of Finnish Gingerbread Cookies, Easy Beasy Cranberry Jam and really refreshing, crisp Fresh Cranberry Relish. I really recommend this humble relish to side of your juicy turkey plate.

Happy Holidays!

Cottage Cheese pancake – Russian Syrniki

In Finland Thursday is “pancake and pea soup” -day. While my friend remind me last week about pancake day, I got inspiration to try something called syrniki, from my neighbor country Russia, after Salme said that Russian pancakes beat the normal ones. The recipe asks for quark, but I have not found it in supermarkets here in Dubai. Instead I am using cottage cheese, the creamier the better.

In Russian cuisine syrnikis (сы́рник[и]) are fried quark cheese pancakes eaten with sour cream, jam, honey, or apple sauce. They are also known as tvorozhniki (творо́жники) in Russia. It is a traditional Russian dessert or breakfast food and there are so many variations of it. I like this simple recipe for my perfect protein filled breakfast, it is healthy too. Use low fat cottage cheese and garnish with fresh berries.

Russian Syrniki recipe

Ingredients

1 cup cottage cheese
2 eggs, beaten
3 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons semolina flour (optional)
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting
1/3 cup canola oil for frying

Directions

1. Mix together the cottage cheese, beaten eggs and sugar. Stir in semolina and all-purpose flour, and work into soft dough. If you do not have semolina, use 2 tbs of flour instead.

2. Heat the oil over medium heat until hot. Spoon pancake dough on to the pan and fry the syrniki in hot oil until golden brown on each side, 3 to 4 minutes per side.

Serve with dollop of cream, sour cream or crème fraiche and fruit jam or preserve or fresh fruits.

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I could not resist of having them with my mom’s homemade raspberry preserve and spoonful of organic crème fraiche. What more to ask, oh a nice cup of tea of course. Delish!

‘How to’ link