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Pasca – Romanian Easter Bread

Pasca is a traditional Romanian Easter bread that is typically made during Holy Week and served on Easter Sunday. It is a rich, sweet bread with a mixture of cheese, eggs, and raisin filling. The bread is usually round and is often decorated with a cross. 

Pasca is a beloved Easter tradition in Romania, and it is often shared with family and friends during Easter celebrations. It is a symbol of the resurrection of Christ and the joy of new beginnings.

Pasca is actually a cheesecake made with a sweet yeast dough crust. For the cheese filling, Pasca is usually made with local fresh cheese similar to farmer’s cheese or cottage cheese. You can also use ricotta cheese or cream cheese instead.

How to make Pasca – Romanian Easter Bread

To make Pasca, first, make the dough by activating yeast in milk, then adding flour, sugar, salt, lemon zest, milk, egg, butter, and vanilla extract. Knead the dough for 5-10 minutes and let it rest for an hour or until doubled in size. On a lightly floured surface, cut ⅓ of the dough for the base. From the remaining dough cut another 1/3 for the cross. The remaining dough, the larger part is for the braid. 

How to assemble Pasca

Take the dough for the base, and roll in until 10 inches (26cm) in diameter. Place it on the bottom of a greased pan. 

Take the dough for the braid and divide it in two equal pieces. Roll each piece into a long rope, until about 31 inches (80cm) long. Start braiding the two ropes, starting from the middle. Place the braid around the inside edge of the pan.

Roll and braid the remaining dough for the cross, shape the cross and set it aside. 

Prepare the cheese filling by mixing the cheese with sour cream, sugar, salt, lemon zest, and vanilla extract. Incorporate eggs, one at a time, and add semolina/flour, and raisins/cranberries (if using). Pour the cheese filling into the center. 

Place the cross on top of the cheese filling and brush the cross and brush with beaten egg. Preheat the oven to 320F (160C) and bake the pasca for 40-50 minutes until golden brown and fragrant. Let it cool completely before serving, for at least 4-6 hours. 

This traditional sweet bread, with its soft and fluffy texture and unique taste, is a delight to the senses and is perfect for sharing with family and friends during this important holiday. By making Pasca at home, you can experience the joy of creating something special and meaningful for yourself and your loved ones. So why not try making Pasca this Easter and discover a new tradition that you can enjoy for years to come? If you do, make sure to share the photos with me on Instagram as I love seeing how it turns out for you. Happy Easter everyone! 

Other Easter recipes you may like to try.

These Chocolate Hot Cross Buns are delicious spicy sweet buns with a cross on top, traditionally eaten on Good Friday. They are made with chocolate and raisins and are flavored with cinnamon and nutmeg. This Strawberry Easter Cake is a delicious and colorful cake consisting of layers of strawberry sponge cake, fresh strawberries, and white chocolate strawberry frosting. With a chocolate nest decoration, it is a perfect dessert for Easter celebrations. This Easter Bunny Coconut Cream Tart is a cute and delightful dessert made with two layers of shortbread dough, filled with a creamy coconut filling, and decorated in Easter spirit. 

Pasca- Romanian Easter Bread with 
Cross on top

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Pasca- Romanian Easter Bread

Pasca – Romanian Easter Bread

5 from 1 vote
Pasca is a traditional Romanian Easter bread that is typically made during Holy Week and served on Easter Sunday. It is a rich, sweet bread with a mixture of cheese, eggs, and raisin filling. The bread is usually round and is often decorated with a cross. 
Servings 14 servings
Prep Time 40 mins
Cook Time 50 mins
Resting time 1 hr 20 mins
Total Time 2 hrs 50 mins

Ingredients
  

For the dough

  • 1 ¼ tsp (5g) active dry yeast (or 15g fresh yeast)
  • 1 tsp (5g) sugar , for activating yeast
  • 1/3 cup (80ml) lukewarm milk , for dissolving yeast
  • 2 ¾ cups (340g) all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup (70g) sugar
  • 1/2 tsp (3g) salt
  • Lemon zest of a lemon
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) lukewarm milk
  • 1 egg , beaten
  • 1 tsp (5g) vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup (56g) butter , melted

For the cheese filling

  • 12 oz (350g) farmer’s cheese, ricotta cheese or cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup (60g) sour cream
  • 1/2 cup (100g) sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/4 tsp (1g) salt
  • 1 tsp (5g) vanilla extract
  • Lemon zest of a lemon
  • 2 oz (60g) raisins or cranberries
  • 2 tbsp (20g) semolina or flour

For brushing

  • 1 egg , beaten

Instructions
 

Prepare the dough.

  • In a medium bowl add yeast, 1 tsp (5g) sugar, and 1/3 cup (80ml) lukewarm milk. Let it rest for 5 minutes to activate the yeast.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, salt, and lemon zest. Add the remaining milk, dissolved yeast, beaten egg, butter, and vanilla extract. Start kneading for about 5-10 minutes, until smooth and pulls away from the sides of the bowl.
  • Transfer the dough to an oiled bowl and cover it with plastic wrap.
  • Let the dough rest for about 1 hour at room temperature (warm space) until doubled in size.
  • Grease a 10-inch (26cm) springform pan and line it with parchment paper.

Prepare the braid.

  • Turn the dough on a lightly floured surface. Cut ⅓ of the dough for the base, about 9 oz (260g). From the remaining dough cut another 1/3, about 3.5 oz (100g), for the cross. The remaining dough, about 12 oz (350g) is for the braid.
  • Take the dough for the base and roll until 10 inches (26cm) in diameter. Transfer to the prepared pan and arrange the dough on the bottom of the pan.
  • Take the dough for the braid and divide it into two equal pieces.
  • Roll each piece into a long rope, until about 31 inches (80cm) long.
  • Start braiding the two ropes, starting from the middle.
  • Place the braid around the inside edge of the pan.

Prepare the cross.

  • Take the dough for the cross. Cut ⅓ of the dough.
  • Divide the remaining dough in half and roll each piece until about 8 inches (20cm) long.
  • Braid the two ropes to form the longest part of the cross.
  • Take the ⅓ dough and divide it in half. Roll each piece until about 4 inches (10cm) long.
  • Braid the two ropes to form the top part of the cross. Bind the two ropes together to shape the cross and set it aside.

Prepare the cheese filling.

  • In a large bowl, mix the cheese with sour cream, sugar, salt, lemon zest, and vanilla extract. Add eggs one at a time and mix until incorporated.
  • Incorporate the semolina or flour and add the raisins or cranberries if using.
  • Pour the cheese mixture into the center.
  • Brush the cross and braid it with a beaten egg.
  • Preheat the oven to 320F (160C).
  • Bake the bread for about 40-50 minutes until golden brown. If it seems to brown too fast, cover it with aluminum foil and continue baking.
  • It is essential to let it cool completely before serving, for at least 4-6 hours.

Video

Nutrition

Serving: 1 serving out of 14Calories: 264kcalCarbohydrates: 36.8gProtein: 9.7gFat: 8.2gSaturated Fat: 4.6gCholesterol: 67mgSodium: 271mgPotassium: 102mgFiber: 1gSugar: 16gCalcium: 37mgIron: 2mg
Calories: 264kcal
Course: Bread
Cuisine: Romanian
Keyword: baked cheesecake, Easter, pasca, sweet bread

Did you make this recipe?

Please let me know how it turned out for you! Leave a comment below and tag @homecookingadventure on Instagram and hashtag it #homecookingadventure.

Join the Conversation

  1. Oh my God!! I’m following you..there are few years already! I love you recipes,I’ve made quite many 🙂
    But I never thought I’ll find here PASCA ..I’m Romanian and I always bake Pasca and Cozonac for easter .
    It’s such a joy for me and I thank you for that! <3
    I'll follow your recipe this time and I'm sure it will be good.

    1. Ella - Home Cooking Adventure Author says:

      Cristina, tare ma bucur ca ne urmaresti. Si noi suntem din Romania:), si e o placere si pentru mine sa pot impartasi retete romanesti cu o comunitate din intreaga lume.

      1. Wow! Nu as fi crezut ca esti din Romania 🙂 ma bucur tare mult ca avem ambasadori ca tine!Mult succes! Te voi urmari in continuare ! <3

  2. Dear Ella.
    I tried this recipe today – it turned out veeeeery good – but I had a problem with dough being extremely wet.

    I was just adding flour to get the consistency seen in the video and later also added quite a lot to be able to braid it.

    Are you sure there is 200ml of milk + 1 egg + melted butter (56g) and only 340g flour?

    1. Ella - Home Cooking Adventure Author says:

      So glad you tried the recipe. Yes, I am sure about the amounts, but it always depends on the type of flour used. If you use all purpose flour like type 550, the one I used, it requires more liquid. But if you use cake flour, like type 000 that doesn’t have so much protein, you may need to adjust the amount of flour as you did. Higher protein flour absorbs more water than lower protein flour. So, I recommend using type 550 flour, the all purpose four instead of cake flour. Hope this helps 🙂

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