Catholic Recipe: Paskha (Ukrainian Easter Bread)
Also Called: Pascha; Paska
In the older Russia, Easter was a day of great feasting. On long tables were placed roasted pig and sausages and sweet tarts. And there was especially the Paskha of cheese and the Koulich, the latter a bread so delicate that pillows were put about the pan in which the dough was rising so that it would not fall; anxious housewives kept husbands with heavy boots and frolicking children out of the kitchen until the Koulich was safely out of the oven. Deep in the top of this cake were formed the letters "X V," the initials of the words meaning "Christ is risen."
Take the cream cheese (or pot cheese) which should be quite dry and mix it well with the butter, sour cream, the sugar, the blanched, chopped almonds, the candied peel and the raisins. The mixing is essential and may best be done with an electric beater. Traditionally the paskha is pressed in a wooden mould. However, it can be placed in a strainer lined with a piece of moistened cheesecloth and left to drain for at least half a day or overnight. Turn out your paskha and decorate it with almonds and raisins in the form of a cross.Recipe Source: Feast Day Cookbook by Katherine Burton and Helmut Ripperger, David McKay Company, Inc., New York, 1951