This Easy Romanian Traditional Easter Cheesecake is a version of Pasca, a bread filled with sweet cheese and raisins that is very popular in many European countries, especially in Eastern Europe.
Easy Romanian Traditional Easter Cheesecake
Many cultures have their own version of Easter bread and Romania is no different. There are two types of desserts baked for Easter in Romania, one is the Cozonac, which is also baked for Christmas, and Pasca.
It is traditional to have both of them on the table. If it is a celebration, let it be a good one, right?
Traditionally, Pasca is a yeast sweet bread, like panettone style, filled with farmer cheese or ricotta.
However, the recipe I am sharing with you today is an easier version of it that might inspire some of you to bake for Easter.
The recipe to make the traditional Pasca takes some work and effort, but the results are delicious and worth it.
However, many of you out there might not have the time or skills to put together a bread like that, so I decided to give you a short cut for a recipe that is fun to have on the table for Easter.
The bread with sweet cheese and raisins is something you can obviously bake any time of the year, but for the ones who grew up in Eastern Europe, this bread is baked only for Easter.
It is a festive bread that is considered a center piece for the Easter celebration.
There are many recipes out there from traditional, made with the sweet dough, like the one I was telling you about(see picture below), to easier versions like the one I am sharing with you today.
All of them are good, so choose what works for you. There is no right or wrong on this one.
I discovered this recipe in one of the email I received few years ago from someone in the family.
At the time, I was looking for a good cozonac recipe and my collection of cooking books from home was very limited.
I was craving an authentic recipe that would soothe my homesickness. My cousin wrote to me and said: “I do not have a recipe for Cozonac, but I have this easy recipe for Pasca, if you are interested.”
I adopted the recipe right away and over the time it became one of my favorite recipes to make for Easter.
I kind of struggled naming the recipe because it is not a real bread and for sure, not a real cheesecake.
It is one of these recipes that are made to satisfy the taste of that specific dish, but less work is involved in the process.
Romanians celebrate the Orthodox Easter usually a week later than the Americans. I sometimes celebrate both Easter Sundays, especially if they are few weeks apart.
More reasons to cook and entertain, right?
Christmas and Easter are the holidays where I love making Romanian food. It is a way to keep intact my traditions and roots and also cope with the fact that my Romanian family is so far away.
What Romanians eat for Easter:
The food is rich as if all cooks are trying their hardest to make up for all the eggs, cream, butter and meat they gave up during Lent.
Eggs are the most important symbol of Easter(standing for the renewal of life) therefore Romanians paint and also decorate eggs.
These eggs are usually prepared on Thursday before Good Friday so that they can be taken to church for a blessing.
In the Orthodox religion, late on Saturday evening, people head off for the local church service.
Although no one in my family practiced the Orthodox faith, Easter was the one service we always attended.
The religious service lasts many hours and culminates in a winding procession, but as soon as it ends, people go home.
The table is beautifully set and decorated with flowers, baskets of colored eggs and Pasca.
People gather around the table on Easter day and savory items already made are brought: appetizers, like eggs, cold cuts, cheese, together with a traditional potato salad.
One thing I made every single year as appetizer is this meat pie. A roasted leg of lamb is very traditional, unless you hate lamb and other meats are perfectly acceptable.
Because Easter is also a symbol of Spring, lots of fresh vegetables are served with the roasted meat.
Spinach, nettles, fresh green onions and herbs are added to different dishes. Sour soups are very popular as well.
Cozonac and Pasca are served with Turkish Coffee at the end of the meal, but cakes, cookies and other desserts might also be served. It is a feast, for sure.
How this easy Romanian traditional easter cheesecake is done:
This recipe of cheesecake is very easy to make. The base of the dessert is a cake batter.
It is made with vegetable oil instead of butter and that gives the cake a moist, delicate texture.
Using a hand mixer beat the egg and sugar together until creamy. You can, of course, use a whisker to do the same job, but an electrical mixer is better as you can incorporate air into the batter fast and efficient.
Add oil, milk and vanilla and continue mixing. Lower the speed on the mixer and add flour and baking powder.
Place the batter in a tart pan and set aside.
In a medium bowl mix cheese with sugar. Separately using the same hand mixer beat the eggs, then add them to the cheese.
Add salt, vanilla, lemon zest and raisins and stir to combine.
Pour the cheese filling in the middle of the batter, and place the pan in the oven to bake for 50 minutes.
This is a recipe that doesn’t take more than 20 minutes to put together if you gather all the ingredient before.
Bake the dessert with a day before, so it has the time to set and cool before serving. Keep it refrigerated if you have leftovers.
It is a beautiful, simple dessert that you might enjoy for Easter and I hope you try it.
- 1 large egg
- 8 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 6 tablespoons vegetable oil(I used sunflower oil)
- 8 tablespoons milk
- 8 tablespoons all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- Cheesecake filling:
- 2 cups/500g farmer cheese/ricotta
- 4 large eggs
- 7-8 tablespoons granulated sugar(to your taste)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup raisins
- zest from 1 lemon
- Optional: 1 tablespoon powder sugar for decoration
- Preheat oven to 350F/180C.
- Cake base:
- Beat the egg and sugar together until creamy. Add oil, milk and vanilla extract. Mix well to incorporate.
- Add flour and baking powder and stir well.
- Place the batter in a tart pan and set aside.
- Cheese filling:
- In a medium bowl mix cheese with sugar. Separately beat the eggs, then add them to the cheese. Mix well. Add the salt, vanilla, lemon zest and raisins. Stir to combine.
- Pour the cheese mixture over the batter, in the middle of the pan.
- Bake for 45-50 minutes or a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
- Allow it to cool completely before serving.
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Amount Per Serving:Calories: 553Total Fat: 33gSaturated Fat: 12gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 17gCholesterol: 174mgSodium: 734mgCarbohydrates: 45gFiber: 1gSugar: 35gProtein: 19g