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. 


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.