April 03, 2012

Raw, Vegan Easter Pascha


I can't believe it's already Easter! Although we never really celebrated Easter in my family, we did spent the long weekend skiing and enjoying the Spring sun. There was no Easter egg hunt, but mum did have a selection of Easter decorations on display, mainly decorated eggs and witches that feature strongly in the Scandinavian Easter traditions. 

There are only a couple of dishes that I associate strongly with Easter - mämmi, which is a sweet dessert made out of rye flour, rye malt and water and pasha, which is traditionally made with quark, egg yolks, cream, sugar and butter. I've been wanting to make my own mämmi for a long time, but I haven't been able to find rye malt in Australia nor have I succeeded to make the malt myself. 

You might guess that I wasn't going to make the traditional version of pasha, either. This raw, vegan pasha is a very modified version of the commonly known one, but definitely brings back memories of the 'real thing'. The texture is very similar to that of a thick and creamy dairy-based pasha and the taste has a similar blend of sharpness and sweetness to it.

I used soaked cashew nuts for the creaminess and added some rejuvelac and lemon juice for sharpness and sourness. Rejuvelac is a nutritious, fermented drink made out of grains like rye or wheat and gives this dish its unique depth of flavour. You can leave it out or add a bit more lemon juice instead, but I do encourage you to give a go at making and drinking rejuvelac! A mere tablespoon of brown rice syrup is all the sweetness this needs and additional sweetness comes from dried apricots and (not so traditional) goji berries. You could use any dried fruit of your choice, try sultanas, cranberries, cherries or even blueberries. 

Enjoy!

Raw, Vegan Easter Pascha
(serves 2-4)*

200g cashew nuts, soaked in water for 4-6 hours
2 tablespoons rye rejuvelac (optional)**
1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
juice of 1/2 lemon
1 tablespoon brown rice syrup
5-7 dried apricots
3-4 tablespoons goji berries or other dried fruit of your choice

* This is pretty rich, so you could easily make this into 4 small servings. Alternatively, use 4 individual cups to refrigerate it in or roll the 'dough' into small balls!

** Find out how to make rejuvelac, here.

1. Drain the soaked cashew nuts and place in a blender with rejuvelac, lemon juice and zest and brown rice syrup. Blend until very smooth and thick.

2. Finely chop the apricots and stir them, along with the goji berries into the mixture.

3. Line a cup or a small bowl with some plastic wrap and scoop the mixture into the cup. Press the mixture down so it sits in the cup quite tightly. Cover the top with plastic wrap and refrigerate over night or at least 5-8 hours.

4. To serve, remove the wrap, decorate pascha with some dried fruit and serve cool or at room temperature.

9 comments:

  1. Happy Easter! It's such a nice time.. It sounds and looks really good! Definitely have to try it some time.. Nice work converting it for raw and vegan :)

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  2. Easter is one of my very favorite holidays! Happy Easter Maria!

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  3. Well, we always had pasha, but it did contain more like your usual ingredients named :) ! Yours looks beautiful and I am certain tastes great, but . . . OK, Mom had this timber frame we always nailed together for the pasha. It had a cross sculptured on two of the four sides [oh, the whole thing would feed a dozen or more!] and we traditionally placed a red rose on top [for Christ's blood one presumes?]. And tho' many Estonians baked theirs. we had a raw quark version. Plus all those coloured eggs, and black pudding and blood cakes [sorry, Maria!] and huge pork loins with sauerkraut . . . and let all the visitors in . . . .

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    1. Eha, You can buy a plastic mold to press it into, well, I guess for next year :) Wish I would have seen this last week! Your tradition sounds beautiful, with everyone coming and going and sharing in the celebration.

      All that fast-breaking food makes it hard to be a vegan at Pascha! But I think this will help. Thank you, Maria!!

      Christ is Risen!

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  4. Thank you!!! I am so excited to make this! I have MS and have been on a no-gluten, no-dairy, no-legume ... etc., eating 'regiment' for years now. Plus, living in Greece - and having a tiny unreliable oven - this "no-cooking" pascha is perfect. I've never made traditional pascha before, but it's one of those Orthodox Easter recipes that I've been hoping to make someday (never thought I'd be making one that was me-friendly!) Thank you again!

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    1. Thank YOU! I am so happy to hear you are able to have this version of pascha and I really hope you will like it!

      Have a lovely Easter!

      Maria
      x

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  5. Terve,
    I was flipping through your recipes, to see if you had a version of mammi. I saw your comments about not being able to find rye malt in Australia. I am a first generation Australian, parents both Finnish. I remember my Mummo used to make this in Australia (she came over when my Mum was young) and had to use some Aussie ingredients like Weetbix and golden syrup. Was wondering if you had revisited the mammi recipe or if you had created a workable version? We tried to make it in Australia from a Finnish cookbook, but it was not the same. Would love to try to find a good recipe....
    Marko and Dawn

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    1. Hello Marko and Dawn,

      Unfortunately I still haven't made mammi, but I was considering of bringing the mammi malt (which are made out of rye) back from Finland. Rye flour is somewhat different here in Australia, however, so I'm not entirely sure how the end result might turn out. I have a recipe for it but missing the right ingredients! I just had mammi on my last visit to Finland (out of the freezer) a couple of weeks ago and it is always as delicious so I'm really keen to try and recreate it here.

      Thanks,

      Maria

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    2. Thanks Maria,
      We'll look forward to hearing of your success with the mammi in Australia! I tried to make it for Marko and couldn't get the ingredients in Australia either. I might see if I can get the ingredients here...we're now in the US.
      Dawn

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