Romanian Easter Bread or Easter Cake, which is translated Pasca, is a traditional dessert eaten on Easter Day. It's usually made with cow's cheese filling and sultanas/ raisins, and it's absolutely delicious. Serve it with a red egg on top, and you have the ultimate Easter dessert.
There are many variations recipes for Pasca across the country, with different regions having their own traditional Easter Sweet Bread. This recipe, however, is really easy to make and very tasty. Made with cow's cheese or cottage cheese and raisins, flavoured with vanilla extract, and topped with a red-painted egg, this sweet bread is true delish.
Like Christmas, Easter is one of the most important religious celebrations in Romania, a time when families gather together and share the most mouth-watering dishes. The preparations for Easter start well ahead of the big holiday and everybody in the family, to a certain extent, gets involved.
No house in the country will be without these on the table: Naturally-Dyed Easter Eggs, Meatloaf, Russian Salad or salata de boeuf. These dishes have always been part of our tradition and one cannot imagine Easter without them. The Romanian Easter bread is one of its kind.
How to make Romanian Easter Bread
Shall we call it a cheesecake? Why not, after all it's a dessert made with cheese, even if it looks nothing like the cheesecake we are used to. Plus, this one has to be baked in the oven. Don't be put off by the amount of ingredients needed, making this sweet bread is a piece of cake.
- make sure all your ingredients are at room temperature, and the butter is soft, but not melted
- check if the yeast is still active by adding it to the warm milk together with a bit of flour and sugar
If it's still active, in about 10 minutes it should become all frothy. If not, start again using a different yeast. If the yeast is no longer active, the dough will not rise, and the cake will be too dense, rather than spongy.
- once all the ingredients are incorporated and the dough is ready, leave it to proof for at least 1-2 hours. It helps if the room is warm, the dough will double its volume quicker.
- to make the filling, all we need to do is mix all the ingredients together. Simple!
- divide the risen dough into 2 balls, the first ball with be flatten to cover the bottom of the pan, the second ball will be divided in 2 ropes, then twisted together and arrange around the cake tin
- fill with the cheese filling, and bake for 40 minutes until golden and set
What to serve with Pasca
And you know what goes so well with this cake? A nice glass of red wine. It's the preferred drink at Easter. Or, why not, a nice glass of lemonade. No matter what drink you go for, I am sure you'll enjoy the Easter Cake. Do give it a try!
Alternatively, why not check this Romanian Sweet Bread or Cozonac? It's similar to Pasca, but without the cheese filling, and it's also traditional for the biggest celebrations across the year.
For a simpler version, you might want to check my Brioche Bread Recipe which has a similar texture, but without any fillings. I absolutely love sweet breads, they are fun to make, and they taste absolutely fantastic too.
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Romanian Easter Bread or Easter Cake, which is translated Pasca, is a traditional dessert eaten on Easter Day. It's usually made with cow's cheese filling and sultanas or raisins, and it's absolutely delicious. Serve it with a red egg on top for the ultimate easter dessert. This pasca is the Romanian version of a cheesecake, but a lot richer, and so easy to make.
- 300 g strong white bread flour
- 150 ml milk
- 40 g caster sugar
- 75 g butter
- 1 teaspoon dried yeast
- 1 egg yolk
- zest of one lemon
- a pinch of salt
- 150 g cottage cheese or cow's cheese
- 1 egg
- 25 g raisins
- 40 g caster sugar
- 1 tablespoon plain flour
- 1 teaspoon lemon extract
In a jug, warm up the milk in the microwave for about 10 seconds, it should not be hot to touch.
Add the yeast, 1 tablespoon of sugar and one tablespoon of flour and set aside for 10 minutes, it will become frothy.
In a large bowl, sift the flour and add the remaining sugar, egg yolk, lemon zest, salt and butter, which should be at room temperature.
Mix in the yeast mixture once the 10 minutes are gone.
Knead everything into a dough for at least 5 minutes, the dough will become elastic and non sticky.
Cover the bowl with a clean tea towel and leave in a warm place to prove for at least 2 hours.
Make the filling by mixing together the crumbled cow's cheese, egg, extract, flour, sugar and raisins.
Divide the dough into two balls.
Oil and flour a round cake tin of approximately 10 cm.
Flatten one ball out and place on the bottom of the cake tin.
The second ball will be divided into 2 again and shape 2 strings out of it.
Plait them together and place around the cake tin edges, so that the dough can have the shape of a well.
The centre will be filled with the cheese filling.
Bake in the preheated oven set to 180 degrees C (350 Fahrenheit) for at least 40 minutes or until golden brown and set.
Remove from the oven and leave to cool.
Top with an egg painted red, have a look at my recipe on how to paint eggs red naturally: Naturally-Dyed Easter eggs
- If you'd like to see the ingredients listed in cups and ounces, please check the US Customary Link.
- Also, the amount of ingredients changes depending on the servings, so click on the number listed to change it to the number you prefer.