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!
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