Photo: John Kernick
Prep Time:
25 mins
Total Time:
8 hrs 25 mins

This traditional Russian dessert is similar to a no-bake cheesecake. Dried-pineapple cutouts embellish this cake, but Martha sometimes uses jelly beans instead.


  • 2 pounds fresh farmer cheese, room temperature

  • 6 egg yolks, room temperature

  • 1 ½ cups sugar

  • 3 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature

  • ¼ teaspoon grated fresh nutmeg

  • Zest of 1 orange

  • cup finely chopped candied citron or lemon peel

  • 1 cup heavy cream

  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

  • Assorted dried fruits, for decorating (optional)


  1. Press cheese through a medium strainer set over a bowl.

  2. Using a mixer with the whisk attachment, whisk yolks with sugar on high speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Reduce speed to medium; add cheese, butter, nutmeg, zest, and peel and mix until very smooth. Still mixing, add cream in a slow, steady stream just until combined. Stir in vanilla.

  3. Line a 5 1/2-by-7-inch paskha mold, flowerpot, or strainer with dampened cheesecloth; add batter. Fold cheesecloth over top. Top with two stacked plates weighted with 2 to 3 cans (or 2 to 3 pounds of pie weights). Place filled mold over a wide, empty cooking pot in refrigerator; let drain overnight.

  4. Remove weights and plate; pull back cheesecloth from base. Carefully invert mold onto a serving plate and remove paskha; remove cheesecloth. Decorate with dried fruits; serve.

Cook's Notes

Martha's paskha molds come from Maxim Kudinov. You can also use an 8-to-10-inch flowerpot or a fine-mesh strainer.

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