Notes: This dessert cheese for Russian Easter is traditionally shaped in a flat-topped pyramid mold. A new 4- to 6-inch-wide clay flowerpot also works. Make cheese up to 4 days ahead. Instead of vanilla bean, you can use 1 tablespoon vanilla. To make the XB ("Christ is risen" in Russian) on sides, use decorator icing in a tube or toasted silvered almonds.

Yield: Makes 2 1/2 pounds; 12 to 16 servings
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Nutritional Information

Amount per serving
  • Calories: 231
  • Calories from fat: 78%
  • Protein: 4.4g
  • Fat: 20g
  • Saturated fat: 13g
  • Carbohydrate: 8.6g
  • Fiber: 0.0g
  • Sodium: 67mg
  • Cholesterol: 61mg


  • 1 vanilla bean (6 to 8 in.)
  • 1 cup (1/2 lb.) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 package (8 oz.) cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 carton (16 oz.) ricotta cheese
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped candied orange peel


  1. 1. Split the vanilla bean lengthwise with a sharp knife and scrape out black seeds.
  2. 2. In a bowl with a mixer, beat vanilla seeds, butter, cream cheese, and sugar until smooth. Add ricotta and orange peel; beat until blended.
  3. 3. Line a deep 5-cup mold with 2 layers of damp cheesecloth (if making more than 2 hours ahead, use a mold with a bottom drain--see notes--to get a firmer cheese). Spoon paskha mixture into cloth and pack down firmly. Set on a rack on a rimmed dish.
  4. 4. Cover airtight and chill until paskha is firm enough to hold its shape, at least 1 hour.
  5. 5. Lift cloth with paskha from mold. Peel back cloth, invert cheese onto a flat plate, and remove cloth.
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