Pasca cu aluat de cozonac (Romanian Easter Bread)

There are several kinds of Easter bread or preparations called variously, pasca or pascha or paska. One is even a molded type of cheese. But this version, made with the same sweet yeast dough as cozonac, has a sweetened cheesecake filling. The cheese used is a dry curd cheese, though ricotta, drained cottage cheese or even cream cheese has been used in recipes I’ve seen on line. I had a bit of cottage cheese in the fridge but not enough for the recipe I wanted to try so I made a batch of paneer (cheese made from acid curdled milk) which I drained well and used instead.

I wanted a higher cheese to bread ratio so I only used 1 1/2 pounds of dough (instead of the full two pounds the dough recipe makes) for the pasca.

Paneer – freshly made curd and after being drained and pressed

 

The sponge for the dough was allowed to proof for 30 minutes and was then combined with the rest of the ingredients

Dough shaped into base and braided border – next time I have to press down the center area where the cheese is spooned in.

 

I made a braided bread cross with the remaining dough.

 

In Romania and other countries where the pasca is made, it has deeper religious meaning, but it’s also a very tasty bread enjoyed at this time of the year.

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10 thoughts on “Pasca cu aluat de cozonac (Romanian Easter Bread)

  1. Those breads look amazing. My Easter bread was a few hot cross buns. I had two toasted with a large amount of butter and one with some bacon and cheese as an Easter cheeseburger.

    1. Thank you. I was going to make some hot cross buns (I made them before) but decided to try something different at the last minute. The cheeseburger sounds tasty.

      1. I’ll post a picture of the meal I had (simple but tasty) in a day or so including a shot of the inside of the bread. The dough itself is just a bit sweet and the cheese filling adds a nice creamy note. I think I’d try a ‘danish’ braid next time since I have extra cheese filling which I need to figure out how to use up.

    1. It’s eaten in the morning with tea or coffee or as an afternoon snack served to family or company. The cheese filling isn’t particularly sweet so it’s not really for dessert. I cut a big wedge for myself and it was wonderful.

      I gave half away to the gentleman who cuts my grass … it’s almost time as with all the rain and warm weather it’s thick and green.

      I’ll post a picture of the inside texture along with my Easter meal today or tomorrow.

    1. Thank you. It was a wonderfully easy and very tasty recipe. I think next time I have to press down the risen dough in the middle of the circle so I can fit in more of the cheese filling. 🙂

      By the way, the home made paneer was a great substitute for ricotta. And I added a tbsp of lemon zest to the dough which I’ve seen recommended on Romanian blogs.

  2. Beautiful breads, as always! And the braids are so perfect…
    In Poland “pascha” (pronounced “pass-ha”) is an Easter dessert in certain regions, but it’s made of fresh slightly tangy cheese (I’ve learnt from a Romanian blogger it’s very close to the Romanian cheese you mention) and has no dough, etc. (The sweetish braided bread you make so well is called chalwa and I really like it! I wish I knew how to make it…. it’s always been a disaster).
    I hope you have spent lovely Easter!

    1. Thank you for the compliment. I had a wonderful Easter. I hope yours was good as well.

      The recipe I used was pretty simple to follow. I hope you try again to bake this bread. I think even a novice should be able to end up with a pretty decent result … I used just a BIT over 4 cups of AP flour. I think many people just add too much flour and end up with a dense result.

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