Pashka (Russian Cheesecake)


Press the cheese through a sieve. Combine the cheese with the egg yolks, beating in 1 yolk at a time. Add the sugar and blend well. Heat the cream in a large saucepan until it almost boils, then add the cheese mixture and cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens. Remove from the heat before it begins to boil. Stir in the fruits, almonds, and lemon rind.  Cool.  Cream together the butter and the vanilla, then stir into the cooled cheese mixture. Line the flower pot with several layers of moistened cheesecloth, leaving enough cloth at the top to form a flap that will cover the pot. Fill the pot  with the cheese mixture and cover with the flap. Put a weight on the top and place in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 days.  The whey (liquid) will drip out the bottom of the pot, so be sure to place a pan under it. When drained, carefully unmold the cake with a knife.  Remove the  cheesecloth and smooth the sides with a hot knife.
Prepare the sauce. Beat together the egg yolks, sugar, Madeira, and lemon rind in the top of a double boiler. Cook and continue beating until the mixture thickens.  Stir in the lemon juice and the rum, then chill briefly.

Pour the sauce over the cheesecake and serve.

Will keep in the refrigerator for several weeks, but be sure to make it at least three days in advance.

Optional: Decorate with paper flowers or religious emblems.