Pashka, Paskha, Pascha or Pasha is a traditional festive dish made in Eastern Orthodox countries for Easter Sunday. Having grown up in Ukraine, I insisted on making a healthy version of this rich, velvety dessert for the blog in the lead up to the festive season.
Traditional Pashka is made from a type of farmer’s cheese or curd cheese called tvorog. Cottage cheese and ricotta cheese are similar and can be used instead. It’s combined with rich ingredients like cream, butter and eggs and then sweetened with sugar, dried fruit and nuts. This dish is usually heavy on dairy, but I’ve lightened it up by using ricotta with only a small addition of yoghurt. Then, I added our favourite coconut oil, coconut cream, and egg yolks of course. I also stayed away from processed sugar and used raw honey to get extra nutritional benefits. Fresh raspberries and citrus zest add freshness and zing to this dish, which is often associated with the spring season.
It can be left in the fridge in moulds for up to 48 hours, so it’s a perfect make-ahead dessert. Serve it post-dinner or on Easter Sunday morning with fresh berries, extra nuts and some more yoghurt if you like. Oh, and the reason it’s shaped like a dome is because it’s supposed to represent a church or the tomb of Christ.
Why it’s good for you: Ricotta and yoghurt are great choices of dairy with all the benefits of calcium, protein and probiotics. Ricotta is made from milk whey and, as a result, contains very little casein and lactose, making it a safer choice for those normally sensitive to dairy because of those components. However, if you are avoiding all cow’s dairy, then you might want to try this vegan version from Scandi Foodie made with soaked cashew nuts. I much prefer the ricotta version. In addition to that, raw honey and coconut oil are some of our favourite super foods, while fresh raspberries and almonds add a dose of antioxidants into this humble Easter dessert.