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. Let it be a good one if it is a celebration, right?
Traditionally, Pasca is a sweet yeast bread filled with farmer cheese or ricotta, like Panettone style.
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 might not have the time or skills to put together a bread like that, so I decided to give you a shortcut for a fun recipe to make and serve on Easter.
The bread with sweet cheese and raisins is something you can bake any time of the year, but for those who grew up in Eastern Europe, this bread is baked only for Easter.
It is a festive bread considered a centerpiece for the Easter celebration.
There are many recipes out there, from traditional ones made with sweet dough, like the one I told you about(see picture below), to easier versions like the one I am sharing 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 emails I received a 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 minimal.
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 time it became one of my favorite recipes to make for Easter.
I struggled to name the recipe because it is not a real bread and certainly 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 a 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 my traditions and roots intact and 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 decorate eggs.
These eggs are usually prepared on Thursday before Good Friday to be taken to church for a blessing.
The Easter 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, and a traditional potato salad.
One thing I make every single year as an 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 roasted meat.
Spinach, nettles, fresh green onions, and herbs are added to different dishes. Sour soups are very popular as well.
How this easy Romanian traditional easter cheesecake is done:
This recipe for this cheesecake is very easy to make. The base of the dessert is a cake batter.
It is made with vegetable oil instead of butter, giving the cake a moist, delicate texture.
Using a hand mixer, beat the egg and sugar together until creamy. You can use a whisker to do the same job, but an electric 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, add flour and baking powder.
Place the batter in a tart pan and set it 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 recipe doesn’t take more than 20 minutes to put together if you gather all the ingredients before.
Bake the dessert 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