Russian Friday – Vanilla Paskha

We, Russians, like to take our time with everything (I can see my husband nodding here). This year it includes Easter celebrations.  Russian Orthodox Easter is on the 5th of May. Naturally, I’m taking my time to publish this traditional recipe. Last year I was a bit unprepared, and paskha didn’t look anything like it supposed to; but I’m well equipped now.  If you like cheesecake kind of substances, here is a delicious no-bake dessert!

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Vanilla Paskha

From While Chasing Kids | Desserts | Russian

Another traditional Russian Easter dish, a symbol of joy and blissful eternity.

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12:30

cal Calories 138kcal

fat Total Fat 7g

sat fat Saturated Fat 4g

chol Cholesterol 21mg

sodium Sodium 242mg

carbs Total Carbohydrate 13g

Serving size 43g Calories from fat 63kcal Fiber 0g Protein 6g Sugar 11g
20 servings

Ingredients

  • 300 g low-fat farmers cheese
  • 300 g low-fat sour cream
  • 150 g sugar
  • 100 g raisins
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste

Directions

  1. Mash fresh dry farmers cheese through a strainer. Add sour cream and mix to incorporate. Fold a cheese cloth 2-3 times and place the farmers cheese mixture in the center. Make a bundle and tie it above the sink or a deep dish for 12 hours.
  2. After the whey is strained, add the remaining ingredients. Mix to incorporate.
  3. Line the paskha mold with a thin layer of fresh cheese cloth. Fill it in with the farmers cheese mixture. Press a weight on top of the mold and refrigerate for about 30 minutes.
  4. Carefully remove the mold and peel off the cheese cloth. Garnish with fresh berries, raisins, chocolate or caramel. Traditionally a candle would be placed on top of paskha.

Tips

  • To add some zing to the flavor, soak raisins in rum for about 30 minutes. Drain before adding the raisins to paskha.

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Христос Воскресе!

 

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Russian Friday – Farmers Cheese (Low Fat Version)

Ladies, happy International Women’s Day! Let it be the most beautiful spring day filled with many smiles! My daughter and I are totally prepared to be admired and cherished for the next 24 hours! No doubt the husband and the son are ready to deliver! Wink-wink!

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As always, feeling a bit nostalgic this day, I’m putting together a recipe from my homeland.  OK, I posted it before, but my mom informed me there is a low fat version that works just as well! So, here is a low fat Russian farmers’ cheese. It could be enjoyed on its own, sprinkled over your salads, stuffed into huge dumplings, baked with, and the list goes on and on.

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Don’t be intimidated by the word “cheese”. It’s very easy to make, and requires only about 15 minutes of hands-on time!

Low Fat Farmers Cheese

From While Chasing Kids | Side Dishes | Russian

This homemade cheese is used in so many Russian dishes, there would be enough to fill a cook book. Its consistency is very similar to goat cheese, but the flavor is much milder.

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10 servings

Ingredients

  • 3 liters fatfree milk
  • 2 tbs low-fat sour cream

Directions

  1. Combine milk and sour cream in a large jar (I used 3 Liter glass canning jar). Leave at a room temperature to ferment for 12-24 hours). Cover with a lid but don’t clamp it.
  2. When the milk turns into a clabber of hair-jell-like consistency, the cheese is ready to be made.
  3. Fill a large pot 1/2 way with water and warm it up on the stove.
  4. When the water is almost boiling (about 180° F /approx. 80º C or higher) carefully place the jar with clabber into the pot. It’s ok if the water is below the sour milk level. Let it heat up for about 10 minutes. The milk will start separating into curds (solid) and whey (liquid).
  5. Line up a large colander with a large cheese cloth folded twice. Carefully dump the milk mixture into it and drain. You may have to use a spoon to empty the jar. Tie a knot with a cheese cloth and hang it above a dish or your kitchen sink for a couple hours.
  6. If you don’t fully drain it, the farmers cheese will be very soft and tender, ready to eat.
  7. A drier farmers cheese is perfect for cooking.

Tips

  • Keep an eye on your fermentation process. Try a little bit of the clabber – it should have a pleasant slightly sour taste. Too long of a fermentation could cause bitter clabber; the cheese made with it would have an unpleasant taste.
  • The farmers cheese should be stored in the fridge for a few days, and could be frozen for up to 1 month.

 

If you liked this recipe, you may enjoy:

Russian Friday – Paskha

After publishing the Kulich recipe, I was pleasantly surprised that so many of you were interested in Russian Easter celebrations!  Well, I guess Russians know how to party, so your curiosity is justified ;-)

Lots of you asked me for a Paskha recipe, which is another famous Easter dish, a symbol of joy and blissful eternity.  Often it’s made with raw eggs, though they freak me out, so I chose an egg-less version.  Traditionally this no-bake recipe requires a special pyramid-shaped mold, but ohm, I do not have one.  So, here is an uglier alternative by yours truly.

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PASKHA

INGREDIENTS:

  • 500 g farmers cheese
  • 50 g unsalted butter
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • 50 g confectioner’s sugar
  • ½ cup raisins
  • ½ cup rum (optional)
  • 4 tbs walnuts

DIRECTIONS:

If using rum, soak raisins in it, or simply pour ½ cup of hot water of them, and let rest for 30 minutes.

Grind farmers cheese through a meat grinder and mix it with sour cream until the mixture reaches consistency.  Mix in the confectioner’s sugar and raisins.

Place a cheese cloth over the mold and fill it with the farmers cheese mixture.

Cover with a wet cloth and place a weight over it. Place the mold on a plate, to catch the whey, and leave in the fridge for 12-24 hours.

If you have no mold, form a ball and wrap it tightly in a double-folded cheese cloth, place it on a plate, and refrigerate for 12-24 hours.

Carefully remove the Pakha from the mold (or cheese cloth) and sprinkle with some walnuts.

Христос Воскресе!

 

If you liked this recipe, you may enjoy:

Russian Friday – dumplings

Yesterday was our book club gathering.  Naturally, a bowl of fresh Aspirin seemed like a perfect breakfast choice this morning.  Ohmmmm… Instead I went for one of my favorite Russian dishes – farmers cheese dumplings, called “vareniki”.

More often than not vareniki are made with a bit of sugar, but I prefer a savory version.  To prove my husband (who says Russian food is bland) wrong, I added a little zing with garlic and red pepper, and used lots of dill to maintain that unique Russian flavor.   The result is a whole a lot of yum!

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FARMERS CHEESE DUMPLINGS

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 ¼ cups flour
  • ½ cup milk
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ tsp salt

FILLING:

  • 450 g farmers cheese
  • 1 egg
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp red pepper, ground
  • 1 cup fresh spinach
  • 4 large cloves of garlic, peeled
  • 1-2 stalks of green onion
  • 1 bunch of dill, hard stems discarded

DIRECTIONS:

Prepare the filling: combine all the ingredients and blend in a food processor to reach a smooth consistency.

Prepare the dough: in a large bowl, mix all the ingredients together.  Once incorporated, dump the dough on a floured surface and knead with your hands.

Roll the dough into a 1mm-thick sheet and cut out circles (about 3 inches in diameter) with a cookie cutter. Since we don’t have one, I used a wine glass, which worked just fine. Place about a teaspoon of filling in the middle of each circle, and fold the dough in half, pinching the ends.

Make ahead: at this point you can freeze the dumplings.  Arrange them on a floured cutting board and leave in the freezer for about 30 minutes.  After that, transfer frozen vareniki to a zip-lock bag and keep frozen for up to 3 months.

To cook: boil some water, add salt to taste.  Dump the vareniki in, and cook for about 8 minute till they float up to the surface.  Remove with a perforated spoon.

Traditionally served with butter and sour cream.  I sprinkled mine with aspirin! Crazy delicious!

If you liked this recipe, you may enjoy:

Russian Friday – Farmers Cheese Triangles

I remember these overwhelming feelings of excitement and anticipation when we decided to have kids! Oh, we dreamt how we’d be spending all the time with them, doing everything together, teaching them everything we know!

It’s incredible how much they absorb from us:  how to say “please” and “thank you”, how to make secret family recipes, biking…  At the same time we learn so many wonderful things too!  

Very quickly we discover that it’s best not to drop disposable diapers into the laundry basket; that it’s easier to clean yogurt out of the carpet, when it’s dried up, and that it doesn’t matter with the oatmeal – it’s a lot of pain to clean wet or dry.

Today I learned that permanent Sharpie markers are not the worst thing that can happen to hardwood floors (been there, done that). Apparently ball-point pens can be quite as damaging, you just need to lose the ball point, and the ink can be easily  goo-ed all over the floors!

James and I spent a good hour rubbing acetone into the ink and brushing it with toothpaste.  I baked these  Russian pastries as a reward for our hard work. 

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FARMERS CHEESE TRIANGLES

INGREDIENTS:

  • 120 g butter, softened
  • 400 g farmers cheese
  • 150 g all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tbs cinnamon (optional)
  • zest from 3 oranges (optional)

Yields: 20 pastries

DIRECTIONS:

Mix butter and farmers cheese to incorporate.  It will be crumby.  Add flour to the mixture.  After all the crumbs are coated in flour.  Knead the dough with your hands to form a ball.  Wrap in plastic wrap and leave in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile mix sugar with cinnamon and zest.  The original recipe uses regular sugar, no cinnamon and zest.  I just stuff my favorite brown sugar/cinnamon/orange zest mixture everywhere.

Roll the dough to a 5mm – thick sheet.  Cut circles with a cookie cutter.  Dip one side of each circle in the sugar mixture.  Fold the dough in half, dip again, and fold again to form a triangle.

Make ahead: you can freeze cooking for up to 3 weeks.

Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Place pastries on it. 

Bake at 350° F/175°C for 25-30 minutes.

Voila!

Farmers Cheese Pancakes

Oh… I’m hurt!  Yesterday morning some wise guy hinted I should take better care of myself!  How rude! So, instead of chasing the kids, I loaded them into our duallie BOB and spent an hour chasing my dreams… of getting back in shape.

Thanks a lot, Miro, your poem was truly inspiring and I feel good about myself even though I cannot move my limbs!      

For tolerating mommy’s slow jogging, the kids were rewarded with farmers cheese pancakes.  There are tons of variations of this recipe, and my favorite one is actually soft and savory, with semolina.  But the kids prefer this sweet stuff.  Who would have expected THAT!? If you haven’t seen farmers cheese in your usual supermarket, you can always find in European grocery stores (or you can make it yourself).

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FARMERS CHEESE PANCAKES

INGREDIENTS:

  • 425 g farmers cheese
  • 3 eggs
  • 50 g flour
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 2 tbs sugar

Yields about 20 small pancakes

DIRECTIONS:

Combine all ingredients and mix together with a fork.  Once everything is incorporated, make pancakes with your hands.  Shape pieces of dough into golf-ball sized balls, and then flatten with your palms.

Preheat the frying pan and grease it with oil.

Bake the pancakes till golden brown on each side on mid-low heat, covered.

Traditionally served with sour cream, honey, or jam.

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