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Russian, Eastern European and international cuisine brought to you by a mother and a daughter

Chocolate Paskha

Chocolate Paskha

This Paskha recipe that I adapted from March edition of a Russian magazine “Moy Rebyonok” is quite different from what we make every year. Our traditional Paskha is super-mega-extremely rich and loaded with intense flavours of dried fruit, nuts, and boiled egg yolks. In comparison with it, the Chocolate Paskha I made last night seems to be something light and delicate. But it’s just an illusion, muahaha. Because the Orthodox Easter table sets the end for the 40-day long Lent with its restrictive menu. And an Easter meal must be rich and satisfying. So, my first suggestion for making this Paskha is to use Tvorog (or closest alternative) that contains 15% milk fat. Another tip is to use high-quality dark chocolate such as Lindt, 70 to80% cocoa. A very dark chocolate is less likely to get mushy while you grate it and it won’t melt when incorporated into the Paskha mix. The original recipe, however, suggests that you stir grated chocolate into whipping cream until the chocolate dissolves. I chose to keep those tiny crunchy crumbs of chocolate in my Paskha rather than just flavouring it with chocolate. With a little bit of extra texture to it, not overly sweet, moist and rich, this Paskha is pretty flawless. Happy Easter!

*The XB letters on top of Paskha ar for Христос Воскресе - the traditional Russian Easter salutation that translates as Christ is Risen.

Chocolate Paskha

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Happy Easter, Friends

Rose Flowers

There’s not going to be a lot of baking or cooking in my house this Easter. I’m busy chasing and catching Ivanka all around the house as she is always leaning like the Tower of Pisa. She started to crawl some time ago and she now gets up on her feet, however she doesn’t know a safe way to get out of this position except for simply releasing her hands and falling down on her back - ouch! There’s no safe place at home to leave her alone for a single moment, so I like to go to someone else’s place and let the baby explore a new space - this distracts her from trying to get up on her feet for some time. So, I’m looking forward to visiting my parents this Sunday and enjoying a happy baby and a family meal with all the traditional Easter treats.

I am hoping to make a new kind of Paskha this time though - please ask Stano to help me with the baby on Saturday! ;-) This is going to be a pretty unconventional Paskha, while Mom will be making the traditional kind.If I succeed, I will post about it after Easter. For now, I just wanted to refresh the two recipes we use every Easter. I don’t usually advertise our recipes, but if you’d like to make something Russian this Easter (why not - Orthodox Easter coincides with the Catholic holiday this year), both of these are really worth trying! 

Kulich - Russian Easter Bread

Russian Kulich

Russian Paskha

Russian Paskha

Happy Easter!

Russian Kulich (Easter Bread)

Russian Kulich

The smell of Russian Kulich reminds you of that of a Russian church, where air is always filled with warm scents of labdanum and melting wax. The mix of cardamom, nutmeg, and ginger creates that special air of solemnity which accompanies this great Sunday. Looking at the towering Kulichi with their heads glazed with snow-white icing, you might think of Orthodox churches with their hemispheric cupolas.

The most wonderful thing you will discover about Kulich is that it will remain surprisingly fresh and moist for 5 to 7 days. This is an important quality of this Easter bread because the holiday lasts for a whole week, during which people visit their friends and relatives and give each other Kulichi.

The technique we use to colour eggs for Easter is boil them with onion peels. Onion peels give them a dark brick-red colour, and it’s absolutely safe. I also decorated a few eggs with non-toxic gold and silver.

Russian Kulichi
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Russian Paskha

Russian Paskha

This year all Christians celebrate Easter on the same day, which is perfect to my mind: not only because we kind of unite on this Sunday, but also because I have a few days off :) It’s unexplainable how in a country where the Orthodox tradition is second most widespread religion, none of the Orthodox holidays are officially recognized. But that’s how things are in Latvia (tolerance is not our forte). So I’m glad that at least this year I had a day off on the Great Friday and we had the time to get ready for Easter.

We spent all Saturday in the kitchen together with my Mom – whipping, beating, chilling, melting, kneading enormous lumps of heavy dough, worrying about the dough rising slowly (which is no wonder as it contains 15% of dried fruit and nuts; I would even say it’s our Easter tradition to worry about the dough – same story every year); then finally baking and topping the Easter cakes with smooth and glossy icing. Phew!

A post about the result of this great cooking day – Kulichi – is on its way; in the meantime, I will tell you about another very traditional Russian treat, an Easter table essential, which is much easier to prepare. This dessert made of fine-grained cottage cheese, whipped cream, and boiled egg yolks, is called Paskha (which actually means Easter). We also like to add in plenty of diced dried apricots, golden raisins, and walnuts. I love the sweetness and creaminess of Paskha, chilled and airy, right from the fridge, with the fruity bits of dried apricots in it. Here I’ve got to remind you that in Orthodox tradition, Easter is preceded by the Lent, which allows only a very restrictive list of products. That is why all Easter dishes are packed with calories and made with lots of eggs, milk, cream, and butter. I have to confess however, that while our family menu is mainly vegetarian all year round, we don’t feel strong enough to give up dairy products and eggs for Lent :-p

P.S. This is how we like to prepare Paskha – if you check the traditional, original recipes, Paskha is always placed into a special pyramidal mold. We prefer to keep it moist and airy!

Russian Paskha

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RussianSeason.net is a food blog run by two Russian-speaking women - a mother (Natalia) and a daughter (Alina) - living in Latvia. Natalia is a professional artist and Alina is the co-owner of a web directory of Russian-speaking businesses in Europe. We both cook and Alina writes posts and takes photos.
In our blog you'll find a range of (mostly tweaked&adapted) recipes from Russia, Eastern Europe, the Baltics, and former USSR. But we can't restrain ourselves from experimenting with other cuisines too :)
Stano is the guy behind the Slovak version of this blog. He is currently living and working in Latvia and is also known as the Man Who Makes Alina Eat A Lot Of Cakes, because he hardly ever eats cakes or pies she bakes. He doesn't have a sweet tooth, you see. Stano also provides us with traditional Slovak recipes - such as Halušky that he's been promising to make for 7 months now :) Just be patient - we're sure he will eventually do it!
Ivanka is the largest cross-cultural project Alina and Stano have been ever involved in:) We hope she will be a foodie too when she grows up!
Our email address is: russianseason@gmail.com

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