When Holy Week arrives, we enter a time in which we are invaded by a lot of wonderful and extraordinary sweet recipes, such as French toast. But, there is a great variety of sweets scattered around the world that are also consumed at this time of the year and that we should not miss. Like this Pasca cu Branza: Easter cake stuffed with cheese.

To give you a brief introduction, it is a cake made with a tender and spongy dough, together with a filling made with cheese, subtly sweet, and flavored. An incredible delicacy of Romanian gastronomy.

Origin of Pasca cu Branza

In Romania, when Easter arrives, it is a tradition to prepare many recipes such as the famous Cozonac. But another of the elaborations that are part of their tables is this elaboration that combines a spongy dough and a creamy filling.

This cake is said to be related to a bread eaten by the Jews during Passover, called in Hebrew "mat" - מצה. It was an unleavened dough made with a mixture of water and one of the 5 grains; wheat, rye, barley, oats or spelt.

In Jewish tradition, Passover is nicknamed "the bread of the poor" לחם עוני, due to the fact that poor Jews continued to eat it even after Passover.

The book of "Exodus" - Cartea Exodului tells us that the Jews left Egypt so quickly that they did not have time to prepare leavened bread. In memory of that moment and experience, Jews only eat Pasca for eight days (instead of the usual leavened bread).

The custom of consuming lamb and Pasca during the Easter season is related to the Jewish Easter ritual. In Jewish tradition, lamb is ritually eaten with unleavened bread and bitter herbs (Hebrew maror מרור), to remind us of the hardships suffered in Egyptian slavery.

At the Last Supper, Jesus and the apostles ate lamb according to the Jewish ritual, and the unleavened bread is represented by the Passover. For Christians, the lamb, the pasca and the wine are symbols with new meanings: the Lamb is Jesus Christ, who accepts his sacrifice, the broken or chopped pasca and the spilled wine signify the sacrifice of Christ.

Pască is prepared on the eve of the Resurrection. The true Pască is one that is cut into small pieces and brought to church to be sanctified (it may be related to the consecrated host). The Pască pieces are taken home and kept for believers to partake of God's blessing, which is believed to have the power to ward off disease and trouble.

Its adaptation to the Christian tradition and its gastronomy, has turned it into a preparation that not only consists of a leavened dough, but also a filling of sweet cheese seasoned with raisins.

De Buyer Perforated Round Mold


For the mass:

  • 560 g flour, W=290
  • 125 g of whole milk
  • 125g of water
  • 4.5 g dry yeast or 13.5 g fresh yeast
  • 3 L eggs (approximately 167 g)
  • 125g of sugar
  • 65g unsalted butter, cold and cubed
  • 7.5g of salt

For the filling:

  • 500 g of ricotta cheese or cottage cheese
  • 45g sugar
  • 1 egg L
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon chemical yeast or booster
  • 35 g of semolina divided into 2 parts (one half for the filling and the other for dusting)
  • 50 g of raisins
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3g of salt

To brush:

  • I beaten egg

Pack of 2 Thermic Luigi Bormioli glasses , Thermic Luigi Bormioli milk jug


First day:
Prepare the dough for Pasca cu Branza.
  1. In the bowl of the mixer or KitchenAid we add all the ingredients except for the butter.
  2. We knead until we achieve a dough that develops and has a smooth consistency. We will start kneading at speed 1 and increase to speed 2. It will take us around 15-20 minutes.
  3. Once we have the dough developed, we add the cold butter. We will do it in two batches and we will wait to add the second when the first has been fully integrated. The dough that we will obtain will be soft, elastic and perfectly developed.
  4. Round and place in an airtight container, previously greased.
  5. We do block fermentation. We leave the dough, at room temperature, until it grows 1/3 of its volume. In my case it was 1 hour at 21ºC.
  6. We refrigerate until the next day.

Second day:
Temper the dough and divide the dough for the Pasca cu Branza.

  1. We take the dough out of the cold and let it temper before getting ready to work with it. The dough should have risen slightly more than doubled overnight.
  2. It should be more or less time depending on the outside temperature. In my case it was 1 hour and 10 minutes at 20ºC.
  3. Turn the dough out onto a clean work surface and degas gently.
  4. We cut approximately 1/3 of the total mass to make the base. In my case it weighed 380 g.
  5. We preform gently to encourage it to have a round shape. With the help of a rolling pin, we stretch the dough to the diameter of our removable Buyer perforated mold (24 cm).
  6. Place the base inside the mold and adjust gently.
  7. Of the remaining dough, we again cut about 1/3. In my case I divided the dough into two portions; a large one of 480 g to make the outer braid and a smaller one of 220 g to make the upper decorative braid.

We form the decoration:

  1. We take the largest piece and divide it into two equal parts.
  2. We stretch and form a cord with one of the pieces until we achieve a length of 95 cm. To do this, we will give the piece a cylinder shape by sliding both hands over the surface to give length.
  3. We repeat the same process with the other piece.
  4. We braid the two cords and place them inside the mold making sure that the braid is glued to the mold. We seal the ends.
  5. We cover the mold with film.
  6. To braid the upper decoration we proceed to carry out the same steps.
  7. Divide the small piece into two equal parts and stretch each one, this time giving each one a length of 60 cm.
  8. We braid in the same way as the previous time.
  9. Once it is braided, cut it in half and place it on a tray lined with Teflon or Silpat. We cover with film.

We make the final fermentation:

  1. We let the dough double its volume, the final rising time will depend on the outside temperature. In my case it was 2 and 1/2 hours at 27ºC controlled.
  2. The small braid must be separated from the mold. For that reason we place it on a separate tray.

De Buyer Perforated Round Mold

We make the filling:

  1. We place a cheese cloth on a bowl and introduce the ricotta cheese inside.
  2. We take the cheese cloth joining the corners, lift it up and begin to exert a little force to drain the cheese.
  3. We will press until the serum is almost completely removed.
  4. We make a knot in the cloth and let it rest on a colander or tied to the sink, for 30 minutes. We must control the rising of the dough to do it in advance.
  5. Transfer the cheese to a bowl and add the rest of the ingredients.
  6. Mix with the help of some rods until a homogeneous mixture is achieved.

Add the filling:

  1. When we observe that there are around 15-20 minutes left to finish the leavening, we fill the pasca.
  2. Preheat the oven to 160ºC with heat up and down.
  3. Sprinkle two tablespoons of semolina on the inside base of the mold, not on the braid. We introduce the filling in the central hole and smooth the surface.
  4. With the help of a spoon, we create a hole in the filling.
  5. We place one of the parts of the braided leavened dough that we have on the tray.
  6. We create a hole again to place the other braided piece and create a cross. Press gently on the central part that joins the cross.

De Buyer round perforated springform pan and T&G pastry brush

We bake:

  1. With the help of a pastry brush , brush the entire surface with beaten egg.
  2. Place in the oven at medium height and cook for 70 minutes or until the temperature of the dough reads 88º-90ºC by piercing the dough with a digital kitchen thermometer.
  3. It is important to keep an eye on the color of the dough and, if necessary, cover it with a sheet of aluminum foil to prevent it from browning excessively.
  4. Remove the pan from the oven and place on a wire rack. Let the dough rest, inside the mold, for 30 minutes.
  5. After this time, we unmold and let cool completely on a wire rack. The ideal is to let it rest for 5-6 hours before consuming it to help cool, cook and settle the filling to be carried out correctly.
  6. We cut and serve.

De Buyer round perforated springform pan and T&G pastry brush .


  • In my case I have used a strength flour W=290. In case of using a lower strength flour, it should be adjusted to the amount of liquids in the recipe so as not to obtain a dough that is too hydrated. The consistency of the dough is slightly sticky, but easy to work with and manipulate.
  • The process is divided into 2 days to make it more bearable.
  • When we form the dough cords, we must do so on a clean work surface. If we sprinkle with flour, it will be very difficult, almost impossible, to roll out the dough. if it sticks to the work surface, dust very lightly with flour.
  • It is not necessary to grease or dust the mold with flour. This comes with a Teflon interior that prevents the dough from adhering to the mold, as well as making it much, much easier to unmold later.
  • For the filling, the ideal is to use granulated ricotta cheese, it is drier and the result is much better. In my case I only found this creamier variety.
  • Whether we use granulated or creamy ricotta, we must drain the whey with the cheese cloth to remove as much liquid as possible.
  • The raisins can be replaced by another dehydrated fruit to our liking.
  • The filling can be flavored with vanilla or use some liquor, such as rum for example.
  • I recommend you control the entire cooking process to prevent it from browning excessively or that the dough takes a long time to cook and remains dry. The result is a very soft, silky and tender dough.
  • It can be kept, wrapped in film, 24 hours at room temperature. From this moment, refrigerated up to 3 days.

This Holy Week, do not hesitate to make this Pasca cu Branza and surprise your family. Because I assure you that you are going to surprise them a lot.
The manufacturing process, despite seeming otherwise, is quite simple to carry out. There are many steps, but it does not require greater difficulty. The cooking process, thanks to Buyer's perforated mold, is impeccable.

When we use molds to cook dough, the material with which they are made and the way in which they distribute the heat are very important. In this case, the mold we have used helps distribute the heat evenly, achieving perfect cooking that also does not burn the dough. This for me is something very important to highlight, because it makes the final result glorious or, on the contrary, not so good.

I hope you like it a lot, so much so that this Holy Week we fill the networks with this Pasca cu Branza ;)

Recipe Author: Eva from Bake Street


mihaiela said:

Ma bucur si va felicit pentru promovarea acestei retete Romanesti. Arata spectaculos!

Gabriel Gatto said:

Gracias, linda receta. Mi único problema hasta ahora, es con los tiempos de leudado, no me está quedando otra que hacerlo a ojometro. Por qué? Porque creo que luego del leudado en bloque en la heladera, hubiera Sido más fácil formar las piezas con la masa aún fría. Así que luche para que quede pegada al borde del molde porque la masa se retraía y luego vi en la foto y me di cuenta que no hacía falta.

Carmen Delgado García said:

La haré seguro.!!
Menuda pinta.
Lo único que en un molde desmoldarle normal, no tengo este modelo.
Ya veremos como me sale.👏👏

Carina said:

Amo todo lo que haces!!!!! Sos una genia , voy a preparar esta receta la estaba esperando. Felices Pascuas desde Mendoza Argentina

Lia said:

Me encanto!!!!!! la voy a preparar para estas pascuas,el diseño Expectacular!!! Lo compartire con mi familia y amigos.Felices Pascuas desde Argentina

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