Sunday, April 24, 2011

Christ is Risen!! But my Paskha did not ...

Christ is risen, fair reader, and helloooo to you too -- gosh, it's been a ... gosh, has it really been 7 months? This Belle Dame is fail indeed, and it will seriously HORRIFY you, reader, as it does me, that I have been living off frozen dinners for a while now.

A brief explanation: in the last 7 months I have taught two classes, taken a Ph D exam, come up with the vaguest contours of a dissertation project, organized a conference, presented at my first ever big girl conference and, oh, yes, broken my back. That was in January. Vertebral compression fracture. You know, I don't even want to talk about it. It was every bit as bad as you may imagine. But all that's in the past (I hope) because yesterday!! I danced in my kitchen for the FIRST. TIME. IN. THREE AND A HALF. MONTHS AND cooked for the first time in three and a half months, so in honor of both these momentous occasions, I return to my poor forgotten food blog baby!

Yesterday the Belle Dame attempted to make paskha, a delicious traditional Easter dish not unlike cheesecake, but without the crust. However ... I didn't quite do it right ... so I ended up with what I *imagine* to be lemon custard? I don't actually really know what custard is. Custard and pudding belong to that category of English words that I have never understood. Like, why is the stuff that comes in those little plastic Jell-O cups and the stuff made out of the blood and entrails of pigs both called pudding? No, seriously. And what the bejesus *is* custard? And if custard is a creamy thick smooth concoction of dairy products ... then why is the stuff in Jell-O cups the exact same thing yet NOT? You know what, I'm just going to tell you what I did.

(I considered combining "pudding" and "custard" into a single word but neither "puddard" nor "custing" sound erm, at all appealing)
two pounds of farmer's cheese
1 cup of heavy cream
1 cup of granulated sugar
1 stick of butter (room temp)
4 softboiled egg yolks
approx 2 tsps fresh lemon zest
1 tsp vanilla
several pinches of nutmeg

Riiiight, I perhaps should have mentioned that this is a heart attack in *divinely* edible form ... seriously, if you had to go, this is the way, my friend. This is the way. Also, before you decide I'm trying to kill you, consider that the reason my paskha turned into custard is that I reduced -- REDUCED -- the amount of sugar, butter and eggs from the recipe I got off the internet. So! Get out thy electric mixer and let's do some damage to those arteries.

Softboil your eggs and carefully remove the yolks -- carefully so they don't ooze all over you. Combine your sugar and your butter in a medium mixing bowl. Mix on medium until it's all crumbly. Add in, slowly, your farmer's cheese, and your heavy cream, and your yolks, your freshly grated lemon zest and your nutmeg. Mix away till it's all blended. Stick in fridge overnight -- enjoy your heart attack the next day!

Seriously, I'm not kidding -- it is so goddamn delicious. Just don't think about what you're eating!! :) It's Easter, after all ... right?

Oh, and the reason why it came out as "custard" is that I didn't drain the farmer's cheese overnight through a fine-meshed sieve. Presumably, that will give you proper farmer's cheesecake. So claimeth the Interwobs.

Music: Kanye West, "All of the Lights"