Although my great aunt Florence was the first to introduce me to Jewish cuisine, I didn't know what a kugel was until I met my husband. I will admit that at first I was very leery. Italians don't put pasta into custard and bake it, generally. But after trying a few kugels, I found that they were actually quite delicious, if you can get over the expectation of this being a savory dish. Really, kugel is an excuse to eat custard at the dinner table. And I love custard.
Yom Kippur 2015: My mother-in-law asked me to make a kugel. I love being asked to make something new. I get to research and plan and craft a recipe from the expectations and ideas of others. I interviewed a few choice family members who know their way around the kugel world for what makes a perfect kugel. My husband was very, very clear: kugels should have cinnamon and should absolutely not have raisins, even if those raisins are drunk. Others said raisins were okay, but given my husband's staunch opinion, I left them out. No reason to start the new year with raisin-in-the-kugel drama.
My kugel did not disappoint. Somewhere in our fasting hunger, with the smell of kugel and toasting bagels in the air, I mentioned to my cousin that this has enough butter in it that you could slice it like bread and reheat it in a pan, frying it in its own butter, to make a crispy kugel toast. She added that a fried egg should be tossed in for good measure, because what doesn't a fried egg improve. My smart foodie cousin was absolutely correct.
Behold, the new breakfast of champions:
|There are no words to describe how heart-stoppingly good this was.|
Kugel For A Crowd
This makes one generous 9x13 glass pan of kugel. This is a very decadent kugel, but don't downgrade the fat content in the cheeses. It just won't taste as good, and this isn't something you eat every day!
1lb cottage cheese (whole milk)
1lb cream cheese, room temperature (whole fat)
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, melted
1 lb (16 oz) wide egg noodles
1 3/4 cups white sugar
2 tsp vanilla
1 tsp almond extract (optional)
1/2 tsp cinnamon
cinnamon sugar for dusting (optional)
handful of raisins, soaked in calvados overnight and strained (optional, but how could it be bad?)
Preheat the oven to 350F.
In well-salted, boiling water, parboil the noodles. I added mine in 2 batches, so they cooked for 5 and 7 minutes. This gives a bit more texture to the dish, but is not necessary. Drain the noodles and set aside.
In a medium bowl or stand mixer, whip the cream cheese and cottage cheese until smooth. Add in the eggs, sugar, butter, vanilla, almond extract, and cinnamon. Blend well.
Using the wrapper from the butter, grease a 9x13 glass baking dish. Pour the noodles into the pan, and add in the raisins, if using them.
Pour the egg mixture over the top of the noodles and give the dish a little shake to help the liquid spread. Sprinkle cinnamon sugar on top.
Bake until set, for approximately 1 hour. Serve hot or at room temperature. For added flair to a room temperature kugel, sprinkle with confectioner's sugar.
|Kugel for breakfast?! Thanks, Mom!|