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Destinations, Dreams and Dogs - International adventure with a fast-track family (& dogs) of Old World values, adopting the Russian-Italian-American good life on the go…!

Simple Sirnaya Paskha

Sirnaya Paskha is the Russian Easter dessert that makes one’s mouth water and knees melt. Think of the filling of a cheesecake, minus the crust. Yum, yum, and more yum.

Sirnaya Paskha (or Pascha pronounced like a k) is often enjoyed by itself, or spread on Kulich, the cakey Eastern European Easter bread, made with many eggs, and slightly yellowish in color. This year, with Orthodox Easter falling on the same Sunday as Easter in the west, there’s even more cause for celebration.

Here is a recipe at its simplest, yet authentic, best. My grandmother used to mix in farmer’s cheese, so there’s plenty of room for variations on a theme. If you want streamlined, here’s the Sirnaya Paskha for you.


1 lb. sour cream (16 oz.)
2 lb. cottage cheese (32 oz. or 907 g.)
8 oz. package cream cheese
1 cup sugar
3 hard-boiled eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla (or 1/2 of a vanilla bean pod)
sieve or colander or flowerpot with a hole
large bowl

While boiling the eggs, melt or soften the butter. Soften the cream cheese by chopping up and leaving at room temperature for an hour or so. Combine the cream cheese, and butter, cottage cheese and sugar by mixing with a wooden spoon (old-fashioned way), or blending in a food processor (new-fangled way).

Fold in the peeled eggs, chopped or diced, and the vanilla. (The best is a finely chopped vanilla bean pod, which then gets in your teeth when you happen upon the rare piece.)

Process the mixture until it is completely smooth. In our family, we do it by the hand-processed, artisanal method: taking scoops of the cheese mixture and pressing it through a fine sieve with a wooden spoon. This removes the large lumps without turning it into soup.

After fully blended, take the cheese mixture and place in a flowerpot (or sieve or colander), lined with cheesecloth. Place with holes facing downward in a big bowl in the refrigerator, and possibly a plate with a heavy stone or another food item as a weight on the top. This presses extra liquid out of the cheese and compacts it.

Allow to drain for several days, pouring out the liquid as it collects, before flipping the cheese upside down on a plate and decorating with candied fruits or almonds, traditionally with the Cyrillic letters “XB”, standing for “Kristos Voskress”, Christ is Risen.

I guarantee you’ll be sampling long before the Sirnaya Paskha is ready– a spoonful here or there! Be careful: this is dangerous, addictive stuff.

May the sweetness of the Resurrection’s new life be yours. Christ arose!


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