Pasha is a lovely Easter dessert that has traveled to Finland from Russia. It’s a rich and flavorful concotion seasoned with almond, vanilla, orange peel, and dried fruit, traditionally prepared for the celebrations at the end of Lent by the Eastern Orthodox Christians. For pagans like me and Heikki pasha is a perfect way to celebrate the first sunny days of Spring!
We made our pasha with Estonian soy quark and soy whip cream, but I think plain soy yogurt, soy cream cheese, and soy sour cream would be great substitutes. We buy our soy quark from an Estonian grocery Eestin Herkut, or from the all-vegan grocery shop Asoka, both in Kallio. Traditional pasha is made in a special pasha mold that has a pyramidal shape, but since we don’t have one, we just used a fine sieve and got a nice round pasha instead.
This is what we used (serves 4-5):
- 2 dl vegan whip cream (GoGreen Vispi)
- 300 g soy quark (SoSoja lemon vanilla)
- 3 tablespoons margarine
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 dl almonds, toasted and finely chopped or ground
- 1 dl candied citron (sukaatti in Finnish)
- 1/2 dl chopped sultanas
- grated peel of one orange
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons vanilla sugar
We first whisked together the soy quark, soy whip cream, and margarine, until the mixture was smooth, and then added the rest of the ingredients and mixed thoroughly. Now, it’s important to check the taste: it should be both tart and sweet, and finding the right balance between the two depends on the soy products used and the sweetness of the dried fruit. The flavors will deepen when the pasha sits in the fridge overnight, but at this point it might be necessary to add a hint of lemon juice if the mixture is too sweet.
Now, we covered a fine sieve with a layer of cheese cloth, and spooned the pasha mixture in the sieve. Then we placed the sieve over a deep bowl and covered with a lid, and placed the bowl in the fridge to let our pasha drain overnight.
The next day, we removed the bowl from the fridge, removed the sieve, and covered it with a serving plate, making sure that no cheesecloth remained under the rims of the sieve. Now we turned the whole thing upside down to plate our pasha. We peeled the cheesecloth, decorated the pasha with citron and sultanas, and devoured it with a cup of strong black Russian tea.