This recipe is a combination of 3 recipes. I use cottage cheese because "Farmer's Cheese" was $9/lb the first time I tried Matushka's recipe, which called for 3 lbs! I tasted it plain and decided that it tasted like cottage cheese, and being frugal, decided that if I ever attempted this again cottage cheese would have to suffice. Vanilla beans were going to be $13, so I used vanilla extract. By all means, spring for the vanilla beans, if you can.
Also, I decreased the portions by 1/3, as I didn't need to make 3 large Cheese Paska's. The original recipe called for pushing boiled egg yolks through a sieve. After doing this once, I decided I wouldn't be making Cheese Paska again. Then I came across a recipe in a parish cookbook that used cream cheese and cooked the egg yolks in warmed cream. Aha! Now that, I could try. It's not exactly authentic, but it's what I can do.
1 lb of cottage cheese, drained overnight in cheese cloth, whirred in blender until smooth (like Farmer's Cheese, wink)
4 egg yolks (save egg whites for Resrrection Cookies)
2&2/3 sticks of butter
scant 3/4 cup of sugar
1/2 pint of whipping cream, whipped
2 tsp vanilla
1 block of cream cheese, at room temperature
What to Do:
1. Mix cream cheese, cottage cheese, and sugar together (add more sugar if you want it sweeter).
2. In saucepan, melt butter, vanilla, and cream. In a coffee cup, mix 2 TBS of warmed cream with egg yolks, then slowly pour egg yolks back in, stirring. Do this instead of pouring the egg yolks straight in, so they won't scramble in your cream. Stir until it thickens a little.
3. Take off the heat and stir in cream cheese mixture until smooth.
4. Line the inside of a clay flower pot or colander with cheesecloth. Put the cheese mixture in this and refrigerate for at least 24 hours.
5. Spread thickly on sliced Kulich and enjoy!
Some folks have a special Paska mold, with crosses and other decoration, which are beautiful. Others put fruit and nuts in their Paska. We like to decorate ours with chocolate chips in the shape of a cross.