A Noodle Kugel Recipe Worthy of Celebration

For most kugel lovers, the very best version is whatever you grew up eating. Whether you were raised on savory, schmaltz-laden potato kugel or sour cream-slathered noodle kugel dotted with raisins, there’s very little crossover where kugel is concerned.

This recipe is for all the sweet noodle kugel enthusiasts out there. A mix of wide ribbons of egg noodles, sour cream and cottage cheese, it’s about as classic as the dairy-filled versions come.

It’s also adaptable. You can add raisins or other dried fruit, or skip them entirely. Feel free to use more sugar or less, depending on your taste, and, while I think a little cinnamon is nonnegotiable in every noodle pudding, you can substitute other spices or even grated lemon zest to brighten everything up.

To make the interior as plush and cheesecakelike as possible, I purée the cottage cheese and sour cream until silky. But, if you prefer obvious curds strewn amid the curling noodles, you can skip that step and just whisk together the eggs, cottage cheese and sour cream before mixing in the noodles. Should you find a brick or two of old-fashioned farmer cheese, you can substitute it for the cottage cheese. It makes for a slightly firmer, milkier kugel with a mild tang.

As for a topping, some kugel cooks like to sprinkle cornflakes, bread crumbs or chopped nuts over the pudding. But even easier — and I think better — is to leave the noodles exposed. In the oven’s heat, their tips singe and brown, turning irresistibly crisp. A little melted butter drizzled on before baking is all you need to help this along. Just try not to pick them all off the top before serving.

My Aunt Martha used to take her crunchy kugel to the furthest degree, baking her noodle mix in muffin cups when I was growing up, which made them crisp through and through. Another crunch-forward strategy is to spread the mixture in a shallow sheet pan instead of a casserole dish, increasing the surface area.

For this recipe, which could be lovely for a celebratory Hanukkah dinner, I kept the casserole dish in play. Its depth gives you a contrast between the creamy, supple underlayer of kugel and its pleasingly golden crown of noodle shards on top. It’s arguably the best of both worlds, a classic iteration for the noodle kugel universe.

source: nytimes.com