If you’re Jewish and at all observant, you’re wondering why I’m posting this now. I know, I know, it’s a little late for a perfect-for-break-fast kugel. But I couldn’t get it together to post this in time, and it’s too good to wait for Shavuot, so I’m giving you a bonus post for today…
This kugel is so lovely, it doesn’t need a holiday. It’s sweet enough to be dessert, but not so sweet it makes your teeth hurt. It’s comforting warm and soft—think of that cozy feeling you get when you curl up with a bowl of just-baked bread pudding—and fantastic cold and sturdy, which is how I ate the last piece for breakfast this morning, straight out of the Tupperware. The only cheese comes from cream cheese, which makes it nicely creamy but not overwhelmingly so (I have issues with most dairy kugels—it always squicks me out to find a pocket of cottage cheese curds hidden inside a curled-up noodle). The cornflake topping is the best I’ve tasted, clumpy like on a good fruit crisp, and there’s a nice thick layer.
We brought this to my brother’s for break-fast, where Harry proudly announced, “My Mommy made a delicious kugel!” I love that boy. Of course, he didn’t eat anything but the topping. Which, don’t tell him, is exactly what I used to do as a kid.
Not-Too-Cheesy Apricot Noodle Kugel
Adapted from All Recipes
One 12-ounce package broad egg noodles
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
6 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
6 eggs, lightly beaten
3/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups apricot (or peach) nectar
2 cups milk (low-fat is fine)
1 cup golden raisins or diced dried apricots
1 cup butter (2 sticks), at room temperature
3 cups cornflake crumbs (from about 6 cups of cornflakes)
1/3 cup dark brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a 9 x 13 baking dish and set aside.
- Put a large pot of salted water on to boil, covered to speed things up. When it boils, add the noodles and cook until barely tender, 8 to 10 minutes.
- While the noodles are cooking, put the butter and cream cheese in a large mixing bowl. Stir very well, until smooth—I found it easiest to do this with a spatula. Add the eggs, sugar, and vanilla.
- Drain the noodles and add to the bowl. Stir in the nectar and milk, then the raisins. Transfer the mixture to the baking dish.
- Now make the topping: Stir the butter vigorously, until it’s smooth, then add the remaining ingredients. Don’t be shy—use your clean hands to rub the mixture together. Once it’s thoroughly combined, scatter it on top of the noodles.
- Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until the center feels set and the edges are bubbling.
MAKE BABY FOOD: There is added sugar in here, so I’d save it for special occasions (like the High Holy Days). The topping will be a challenge for the under-1 crowd, but the noodle pudding itself is a lovely texture for early eaters. You can puree it with a little milk, too.