Russian Easter Paskha- No Bake Cheesecake (Пасха)

Paskha- Russian Crustless Cheesecake on white platter with colored eggs and red roses and red cranberries on the bottom.
Posted On: April 29, 2016
Last updated: May 5th, 2024

Paskha aka “pascha” is a Crust-less No-Bake Cheesecake and one of the most amazing, rich and creamy desserts  you will ever eat!  It is a Russian Orthodox Easter dessert that is so rich we only make it once a year.  It is a full fat indulgence, you do not cut corners and even attempt to make it less rich.  This dessert is a treat to celebrate the breaking of fast/end of Lenten season for Easter. Russian Easter Paskha is served cold and is like a delectable combination of cheesecake and rich ice cream.  The fresh flavors come from lemon, orange zest and vanilla bean.  This paskha recipe also calls for almonds which add another depth of amazing flavor, but are optional.

Paskha Crustless Cheesecake with floral, berry, nuts decor, roses on top and sunflower in background
XB (Russian Slavonic) on the Paskha for the words, “Christ is Risen.”

What is Paskha?

Paskha, pronounced, “Pahs-ka” (soft “a’s”) is a holiday dessert dish served on Easter in Eastern Orthodox cultures. In Russian, Paskha literally means “Easter.”  Paskha is a rich, dairy filled dessert enjoyed after the “breaking of fast” the end of lent.  During lent, dairy is not consumed so Pascha is a special treat to celebrate Easter.  Paskha is usually made in a pyramid form, but it can be made in other forms as you see here.  A clean clay flower pot works great as well.

Orthodox Cross on side of paskha with a rose on top, surrounded by colored eggs, red rose and white flower in background
Paskha with an Orthodox cross (this is part of the wooden mold)

The main ingredient of Paskha is farmer’s cheese or white cheese curd.  It also has heavy amounts of butter, sugar and cream.  What’s not to like?!  Paskha is usually served with a semi sweet Easter holiday bread called, Kulich.

Pascha Russian/Ukrainian Crustless Cheesecake with floral and nut décor
Paskha made in a terracotta pot

Farmer’s Cheese for Paskha

What is farmers cheese? It’s a fresh cheese that is somewhere between ricotta and cottage cheese.

Every year before this I have made this recipe with store-bought farmer’s cheese from an Eastern European market.  This year, we made it ourselves and boy, were we surprised at how easy it is! Also, the consistency and texture is just perfect for our family recipe.  Now we make farmer’s cheese ourselves every year with the following recipe. Check out how easy it is to make farmers cheese yourself from the blog, Haniela’s.  Here’s a video tutorial from Hani as well.

Russian Paskha cheesecake on white platter with eggs and flowers

Cultural Cheesecake Paskha

As with any cultural dish besides the main ingredients, the lesser ingredients vary per household.  I grew up with a very similar recipe to this one that my Mother made every year.  She loved putting almonds and lots of zest into the Paskha, sometimes golden raisins as well.  Her Paskha recipe was never written down so my husband and I came up with our own family recipe.  Now we replicate this recipe every year and share it with family.  Now I’m sharing this family recipe with you.

Step by Step Collage for Paskha Russian Crustless Cheesecake (pre-set)
Showing how to Make Paskha using terracotta pots as molds

No Bake Cheesecake

Not only is Paskha a crustless cheesecake per se, but it does not require baking.  No baking involved, just mix and wait. It just requires refrigeration to let the liquids drain from the mold. Like anything extra good, patience is essential.

Step by Step Pascha Russian Crust-less Cheesecake (post-set)

Overnight Cheesecake

This is not a quick recipe because it does require waiting overnight for your cheesecake to mold and drain, but it is so worth the wait, trust me!  It’s a creamy, heavenly treat. Beware of over indulging though.  Paskha is quite rich and should be savored in moderation as with anything this indulgant.

Steps in 5 photos for opening and unwrapping paskha cheesecake from wooden mold
Showing how I uncover Paskha from a wooden Paskha mold

What do I need to make Paskha?

Supplies

  • A stand-up mixer, or your favorite mixing appliance
  • 2- double layers of cheesecloth, about 1 sq ft. each
  • 2- 6″ clean, unused terracotta flower pots with a drain hole OR a wooden Paskha mold which can be found on Etsy. This is not the exact one in my picture as mine is one we’ve had in the family for years.
  • 2 small plates to fit over the tops of the pots
  • 2 heavy weights like food cans to weigh down the top of the pots (I’ve also used heavy rocks)
  • 2 bowls to fit under each upside down flower pot to catch draining liquid.
Paskha Russian Crustless Cheesecake scooped into bowl

Possible Toppings/Decorations for Paskha

  • sliced almonds
  • dried cranberries or raisins
  • berries
  • flowers or choice with stems trimmed fairly short, i.e. roses, tulips, etc…
Pascha Crustless Cheesecake with floral, berry decorations and sunflowers below

Give this rich, delicious and gorgeous crustless cheesecake a try and let us know what you think below!

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Paskha cheese cake with XB on the side on white plate with colored eggs and a red rose atop

Russian Easter Paskha- No Bake Cheesecake (Пасха)

Katia
Paskha (also spelled Pascha) is a rich, sweet and creamy Eastern European festive dessert.  It's served on Orthodox Easter, but anyone can indulge in this amazing treat! This Paskha recipe will make 2 medium sized molds (2-6" terracotta flower pots work great). If you have one large Paskha mold you will just have extra to enjoy separately. I usually make 1 large and 1 small mold.
5 from 3 votes
Prep Time 20 minutes
Overnight Setting 12 hours
Total Time 12 hours 20 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine Eastern European, Russian
Servings 12
Calories 482 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 1 1/2 lbs Farmer’s cheese You can make your own if you can't find it at the store with Haniela's Recipe for Farmer's Cheese I make her "Large Batch" and use it all, It makes almost exactly 1.5 lbs after draining it for about 1.5 hrs. (I do not drain it the full 5-6 hrs as she says because I will drain the paskha anyway in the mold)
  • 1/2 lb 2 sticks unsalted butter, softened (not melted)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 5 hard-boiled eggs yolks only
  • 1 cup real sour cream no low fat
  • 1 standard vanilla bean middle scraped out and the rest finely chopped (we like to use the Madagascar kind)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • Zest of 1 full lemon
  • Zest of 1 full orange
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1 pint heavy whipping cream
  • dash salt

Optional

  • 1/4 cup almonds sliced
  • 1/4 cup raisins chopped

Instructions
 

  • Using a mixer with the whisk attachment, beat the butter and sugar till well combined, then add egg yolks and beat again till well incorporated.
  • Now add farmer’s cheese, sour-cream, extracts and vanilla bean. Beat until well mixed.
  • Add zests, lemon juice, a dash of salt and mix once more.
  • In a separate bowl whip your heavy whipping cream until your cream has peaks and has softly stiffened. I like to use a hand mixer for this, but you do what works best for you.
  • Gently fold the cream (and sliced almonds and/or raisins if you're adding those) into your cheese mixture until it is well incorporated and you no longer see pockets of cream.

Filling the Paskha Molds

  • Place the cheese cloth over the insides of each upside down flower pot, making sure to cover all sides, leaving enough extra on top to be able to cover the tops.
  • Wet cheese cloth in pots over a sink with water. (This makes it easier to fill your pots with the paskha so that the cheese cloth doesn’t keep moving and falling into the pot)
  • Fill both flower pots evenly with the Paskha cheese mixture. Leave about an inch on top unfilled. This allows for room to fit your plates and weights on top of your molds.
  • Gently fold the remaining cheese cloth over the tops of your cheese mixtures.
  • Place your small plate or bowl atop your cheese cloth covered paska.
  • Now place your weights on top of each plate to weigh down your molds. (You want your weights to be heavy enough to just push down on your molds, allowing the extra liquids to seep out of the bottoms)
  • Place your bowls under the molds to catch the liquid.
  • Place paskha molds into the refrigerator for at least 10-11 hours.  Overnight is ideal. 

Uncovering and Presenting Your Paskha Molds

  • This is the moment of truth. Only do this when you are close to presenting them to your guests, giving yourself enough time to decorate them as well. If you have room in your fridge you may do this earlier and place the molds back in your fridge after you decorate, but only do this if you truly have room for them to sit undisturbed.

Release the Paskha

  • To remove the paskha from the mold, have a plate ready that you will present and serve the paskha on. Remove the weights and dump your draining bowls.
  • Uncover the tops of your molds. Once tops free of cheese cloth, place your plate on top and gently flip over the pot onto the plate.
  • Gently tap on the pot a few times to release the molds onto the plates. Once you feel the Paskha flop down onto your plate, take a deep breath and gently lift the pots off.
  • Gently remove the cheese cloth from the forms and discard the cloth.
  • You’re ready to decorate your paskha.

Decorating your Paskha

  • Get creative here, but remember sometimes simpler is more attractive.
  • You can top your paskha with flowers, line sides or bottom edges with berries, nuts or dried fruits. Besides the flowers, make sure the rest of your decor is all edible for your guests.
  • Enjoy this rich, creamy indulgence!

Notes

Paskha is traditionally served with a sweet Easter bread called, Kulich (recipe in the future)
For the Farmer’s Cheese, if you’re making it yourself, *I make her “Large batch” and it makes 1 lb, 10 oz. which is pretty much perfect and I use it all.*

Nutrition Disclaimer:

The nutritional information provided is only an estimate based on a third party nutritional plugin. Different online calculators may give different results depending on their own sources. The estimates may also change based on the ingredients you use. If you have dietary restrictions and need to accurately calculate the nutrition of this recipe, Whole Made Living recommends consulting a professional nutritionist.

Nutrition

Calories: 482kcalCarbohydrates: 19gProtein: 12gFat: 40gSaturated Fat: 24gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 9gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 193mgSodium: 391mgPotassium: 94mgSugar: 19gVitamin A: 1280IUVitamin C: 0.4mgCalcium: 61mgIron: 0.3mg
Keyword cheesecake, dessert, Easter, Eastern European, Holiday, Pascha, Paskha
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
Paskha Russian Crustless Cheesecake Pinterest Collage

Comments

  • Beautiful Paskha cheese! I’m still trying to perfect mine. Just a side note for anyone reading, Paskha (Pascha) doesn’t mean ‘easter’ it actually means ‘passover’. Easter and Pascha aren’t linguistically related at all, it is derived from an early German word for spring. Western Christians adopted “easter” from this word to differentiate the feast of fhe Resurrection of Christ from fhe Jewish feast of Passover since in the East the same word was used for both (and is still used, Orthodox Christians and even some catholic nations still use the word pascha).

    • Sara, Thank you for the comment. The word Easter in Russian is actually the word, “Paskha.” I don’t want to get into a dispute about the meaning of the word, but growing up speaking Russian, that is the word for Russian Eastern Orthodox Christian’s “Easter.” Anyone could look that up themselves. Thank you for the compliment on the paskha itself.

  • Hi Kat,
    My Babushka used to make this every year. Now it’s up to me to do it and preserve our family’s Easter doings.
    You have the best recipie so far. I will make it like you say.
    TU
    And

    • I’m flattered you chose my recipe to continue your Easter traditions. There’s nothing like Babushka’s cooking…=) I hope you enjoy it and have a wonderful Easter!

  • I can repeat what I said in 2016. This is a gorgeous presentation. I make this recipe every year. Thank you, Katia, for offering it to others.

  • What candy for the eyes! Such a lovely presentation of a traditional Easter dish. Thank you for sharing it with the world!

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