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overhead shot of freshly made pasca
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4.5 from 8 votes

Pasca - Romanian Easter Bread

My recipe for Pasca, a traditional Romanian Easter Bread, has a touch of sweetness with fresh lemon zest. You're in for a treat with a sweet filling of ricotta, lemon, and raisins. Learn how to make this gorgeous sweet bread with an easy 6-strand braided edge!
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time40 mins
Rising time1 hr 30 mins
Total Time1 hr 10 mins
Course: Bread, Breakfast, Dessert
Cuisine: Romanian
Keyword: easter bread, pasca, romanian easter bread
Servings: 16
Calories: 321kcal

Ingredients

Pasca

  • 1 tbsp active dry yeast
  • ¼ cup warm water
  • 1 cup milk
  • ½ cup butter unsalted, melted
  • 2 tbsp lemon zest
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 4 ⅔ cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Cheese Filling

  • 1 lb ricotta cheese
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ½ cup raisins
  • 1 tbsp lemon zest
  • 1 egg beaten, for egg wash

Instructions

  • Activate yeast: In a bowl add the yeast and warm water, stir it a bit and let it sit for 10 to 15 minutes to activate. You can also add 1 tbsp of sugar from the 1/2 cup of sugar needed for the dough, to help activate the yeast. The yeast should bubble up. If you don't see it bubble up, then the yeast is old. Do not proceed because your bread will not rise.
  • Combine wet ingredients: In a sauce pan add the milk, butter, lemon zest and sugar. Heat it over medium-low heat just until the butter melts and the sugar is dissolved. Do not boil it, it just needs to be warm to the touch. If it gets too hot it can kill the yeast. Remove from heat. Whisk in the eggs.
  • Make the dough: To the bowl of your mixer add the flour, the milk mixture, and the yeast mixture. Using the dough hook mix everything for about 5 minutes until everything is well blended together and the dough should come off the sides of the bowl. The dough will be a softer dough and somewhat sticky to your hands. The more you mix the dough the fluffier it will be.
  • Let the dough rise: Take a large bowl and oil it with about 1 tbsp of the vegetable oil. Place the dough in the bowl and use the other tbsp of vegetable oil to rub over the dough. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place in a warm, draft free environment. Let the dough rise until it doubles in size, could take 1 to 2 hours. Alternatively you could let the dough rise in the mixer bowl.
  • Prepare oven and baking sheet: Preheat the oven to 350 F degrees. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. 
  • Divide dough: Divide the dough into 4 equal pieces. Take one piece and roll it into a 10 inch circle. Place it on the prepared baking sheet. Divide the other 3 pieces in half so that you end up with 6 pieces.
  • Braid the dough and let it rise: Roll each one into thin ropes about 3 feet long. Braid them and place them in the prepared pan in a circle around the edge of the 10 inch circle. Let this rise for a 2nd time until doubled in size. 
  • Prepare the cheese filling: Make the cheese filling by mixing all the ingredients together. Pour this into the pasca (see pictures).
  • Bake: Brush the dough with egg wash and bake for about 40 to 45 minutes or until the crust is deep brown but not burnt.

Notes

To make the dough rise faster and create that warm, draft free environment for the dough to rise in, I usually turn the oven on to 200 F degrees, turn it off, then place the dough in the oven with the door closed. 
Storage: Wrap your leftover pasca well with plastic wrap or store it in an airtight container in the fridge. This will last 5 days refrigerated. Because of the ricotta filling, this bread isn’t ideal for the freezer. There’s a lot of moisture in ricotta, and it will become quite soggy after being frozen and thawed.

Nutrition

Serving: 1slice | Calories: 321kcal | Carbohydrates: 43g | Protein: 10g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Cholesterol: 97mg | Sodium: 59mg | Potassium: 157mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 10g | Vitamin A: 425IU | Vitamin C: 1.7mg | Calcium: 95mg | Iron: 2.3mg