Just a quick note about Sirnaya Pascha, aka Pascha Cheese.
If you've been reading my cooking blog, you know all about my search for the perfect recipe for Pascha Cheese, and also for my endless search for Tvorog (fresh farmer's cheese) to make it. Here in the deep, deep south, it's really difficult to get some food items, and farmer's cheese is one of those hard to get ones. However, a couple of years ago, Publix and Fresh Market began carrying it! My life was complete! Kindasorta. It was very, very expensive, $6 for 8 oz in one store, and $9 for a pound in the other. I sprung for it the first year, but then in 2011, my friend Ksenia posted on Facebook that she was making her cheese. A light went off for me - I've made yogurt and buttermilk before. I've drained yogurt to make cheese. I've made a stinky, but delicious, middle eastern cheese that my father-in-law absolutely adored called shankleesh. Why not farmer's cheese? Ksenia gave me her recipe, and I looked online as well. It was a success! One $3 gallon of milk plus one $3 quart of buttermilk yielded just about 2 lbs of farmer's cheese!
Yulinka has a great tutorial on how to make it. Click here to check it out.
So, this year, I made it again, with great success, though I drained it overnight which produced a very, very dry and dense cheese, about 1.75 lbs. It's enough to make enough pascha cheese to fill my little red plastic mold, though.
What recipe will I use for Pascha Cheese this year? I haven't decided. I have two absolutely AMAZING recipes here on my blog: Diane's Perfect Pascha Cheese and Rebecca M's Sirnaya Pascha. After many years of experimentation and searching, I have finally completely given up on the cooked custard based recipes because they never seem to turn out any tastier than these two recipes, and oftentimes don't set up as well. There is also a recipe making the rounds that calls for lots of American-style cream cheese which is very tasty, too, but I guess I hung out with Russians too long to make that one. Anyway, one of my church folk makes it every year, so I always take a taste. I, however, am true to the two recipes which are more traditional - either Diane's or Rebecca's.
Try one of these great recipes this year! I guarantee that you will not be disappointed!