Pascha Cheese Recipe

Pascha Cheese Recipe

Published: Apr 17, 2022 by Maria Gwyn McDowell

This recipe for Pascha Cheese was given to me by mother. It was passed around, and adjusted by, the women of the Russian Orthodox church I grew up with. I make it every year that I have time. The Pascha Cheese was a hit this year, probably the best ever. I suspect it was because of the extra lemon zest, and the real farmer’s cheese, which is only available in the early spring.

Pascha Cheese, 2022! Pascha Cheese, 2022!

Makes 2.5 Quarts

When to Start

You should start this at least three days before you plan to serve it. Add a few more days if you only have wet cottage cheese available. It needs to set and drain in a refrigerator for a bit.


  • 1LB Butter cut into small pieces
  • 1/2c. granulated sugar
  • 1 5-8” vanilla bean, slice down the length, scrape out (and use!) all the beans, and finely chop the rest
  • 7 hard boiled egg yolks, seived (I rarely seive them, I just mush them by hand)
  • 4 2/3c Farmer’s Cheese OR Large Dry curd Cottage Cheese. You can use wet cottage cheese, but you need to drain it, and leave extra time to drain the cheese before serving
  • (optional) 3T chopped almonds (or pecans) (I omit this, I don’t like nuts in my cheese)
  • (optional) 3T candied citron (I omit this too, I just hate candied fruits of most kind)
  • 2t lemon juice (fresh is always best)
  • 1/4t grated lemon zest (extra is very tasty, as we discovered this year)
  • 1t vanilla extract
  • 1/8t salt (that would be “a pinch”)
  • 2/3c whipped cream
  • 2/3c sour cream
  • 1 Pascha Mold with double-cheese cloth, damp (here is an example, which you can also make)


  • Cream Butter and Sugar until fluffy.
  • Beat Vanilla, Egg Yolk, and Cottage Cheese into butter mix.
  • Stir in the lemon juice, lemon zest, vanilla extract, and salt, as well as the optional ingredients.
  • Whip cream in chilled bowl.
  • Fold Whip Cream and Sour Cream into mixture.
  • Pour into mold, making sure to push the mix down and out to the sides so they get the imprint of the mold.
  • Place upside down over bowl, and cover with lid, drain for about three days. If your mix is wet, you may want to put pressure on the cheese to help squeeze out the water. I often fill a plastic container with water and put it on the top (which is the bottom, because it is upside-down, remember?) to use weight to slowly squeeze it.

Once it has set, remove from the mold and decorate with sliced strawberries, silver cake decorating balls, almond slivers, whatever.

Pascha 2022