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romanian cheesecake for Easter sliced on a platter

Pasca - Romanian Easter Cheesecake

Pasca is a traditional Romanian Easter cheesecake or Easter bread. A sweet yeast dough filled with a smooth cheese and raisins filling.
Course Romanian Cakes and Desserts
Cuisine Romanian
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 45 minutes
Servings 14 slices
Calories 314kcal
Author Adina


  • Yeast dough:
  • 1 vanilla pod
  • 250 ml milk 8.5 fl.oz/ 1 cup + 2-3 tablespoons more if necessary
  • 1 sachet active dry yeast 7 g/ 0.2 oz/ 2.5 teaspoons
  • 500 g all-purpose flour 17.6 oz/ 4 ¼ cups
  • 120 g granulated sugar 4.2 oz / 2/3 cup
  • 50 g unsalted butter 1.7 oz/ scant ¼ cup
  • 50 ml vegetable oil 1.7 fl.oz/ scant ¼ cups
  • 2 egg yolks
  • zest of 1 organic lemon
  • a pinch of fine sea salt
  • Filling:
  • 400 g Romanian cow's cheese/ low-fat quark/ cottage cheese/farmer's cheese 14 oz/ 2 cups , (Note 2)
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar more to taste
  • 100 g raisins 3.5 oz/ ½ cup
  • 3 tablespoons semolina
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • zest of 1 organic lemon
  • 1 small egg for brushing
  • some sugar to sprinkle on top


Yeast dough:

  • Prepare vanilla milk: Scrape the seeds of the vanilla pod. Set aside. Add the empty pod to the milk and bring to a boil. Leave to cool until lukewarm.
  • Proof yeast: Place the dry yeast in a small bowl. Add 2 tablespoons of the flour, 1 tablespoon of the sugar, and 3-4 tablespoons of the lukewarm milk, enough to stir a paste. Cover with a kitchen towel and let rise for about 10-15 minutes in a warm place.
  • Sieve: In the meantime, sieve the flour in the bowl of your kitchen machine/stand mixer.
  • Combine: Add the remaining sugar to the remaining lukewarm milk and stir until dissolved. Melt the butter, add the oil to the butter, and mix. Leave to cool until needed.
  • Stir: Pour the yeast mixture over the flour, add the egg yolks, vanilla seeds, and lemon zest. Mix shortly, then start adding the milk little by little to form the dough. Stir for a couple of minutes and add a little more milk if necessary to obtain a softer dough. I added about 3 tablespoons more.
    Add the salt and, little by little, the melted and cooled butter oil mixture. Only add the next splash when the previous one is completely incorporated.
  • Knead the dough in the stand mixer for about 10 minutes. The dough will be pretty soft and sticky. Transfer it to a clean bowl and bring it briefly in shape with the hands. Cover with a kitchen towel and let rise for about 1 hour or until doubled in size.


  • Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius/ 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Butter a springform of about 26 cm/ 10 inch, and cover its bottom and walls with baking paper.
  • Blend: If using cottage or farmer's cheese, blend it with an immersion blender until smooth.
  • Mix the cheese, eggs, semolina, raisins, sugar, lemon zest, and vanilla extract. Taste and add more sugar if you find it necessary.


  • Make the plait: Oil your hands lightly and take the dough out of the bowl. Divide it in two.
    Form one half to a fat sausage and cut this sausage into 3 parts. Roll each of these balls into long, thin strings about 40 cm/ 15 inches long. Plait these strings into a braid.
  • Assemble: Take the other half of the dough and place it in the springform. Press it down to cover the bottom of the pan completely. Prick it with a fork all over to ensure that the dough will not rise too much in the oven.
    Take the plait and place it in the pan to form a nice rim. Pour the filling inside.
  • Egg wash: Brush the top of the plait with the whisked egg and sprinkle with a bit of sugar.
  • Bake for 40 - 50 minutes until the cheesecake has nicely risen and is golden.


  1. Always use a digital kitchen scale in baking; it ensures the best results (Amazon affiliate link).
  2. Traditionally, you will use Romanian branza de vaci – cow's cheese. However, low-fat quark, cottage, or farmer's cheese are very similar. If using cottage or farmer's cheese, blend it until smooth before making the filling.


Serving: 1slice | Calories: 314kcal | Carbohydrates: 48g | Protein: 10g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 67mg | Sodium: 159mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 16g