- 1 kg farm cheese (see Note) or ricotta, crumbled
- 5 egg yolks
- 440 g (2 cups) caster sugar
- 200 ml thickened cream
- 80 g (½ cup) almond kernels, finely chopped
- 75 g (½ cup) raisins, finely chopped
- 2 lemons, zested
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 150 g unsalted butter, chopped, at room temperature
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Draining time overnight
Marsha bought her mould from The Russian Club in Strathfield, Sydney; however, you could use a 1 litre flowerpot with a drainage hole.
Place cheese in a sieve suspended over a bowl, ensuring there is enough room for cheese to drain. Refrigerate overnight. Discard any liquid, then press the cheese through a metal sieve. Set aside.
Place yolks and sugar in a large heatproof bowl over a large pan of gently simmering water, making sure the bowl doesn’t touch the water, and whisk until combined. Add cream and slowly whisk for 8 minutes or until mixture starts to simmer and thicken slightly; don’t overheat or eggs will curdle.
Remove from heat and add drained cheese, almonds, raisins, lemon zest and vanilla, and stir to combine. Add butter and stir constantly until butter is incorporated and mixture has cooled slightly; this prolonged stirring gives paskha its smooth velvety texture.
Line a paskha mould with a dampened double layer of muslin, allowing muslin to overhang. Pour in cheese mixture and fold overhanging muslin to enclose. Place a plate on top and weigh down with a heavy can. Place mould on a wire rack over a large bowl to drain. Chill overnight.
Unwrap paskha, run a knife around the inside of the mould and invert paskha on to a plate. Serve immediately.
• A soft cow's-milk cheese that’s similar to cottage cheese, but drier. Available from select delis and greengrocers. Brancourt brand is stocked at most Harris Farm stores.
Photography Alan Benson (Location) & Derek Swalwell (Food)