Kugel (pronounced KOO-gull) is a baked noodle “pudding”—actually a casserole, typically made with egg noodles (lokshen in Yiddish), cottage cheese and milk to form a custard.
A popular side dish in Northern European Jewish cuisine, there are many variations to the recipe. There are sweet kugels that could pass for dessert (with cinnamon, raisins, apples and/or other fruits) and savory kugels with cabbage, carrots, spinach and zucchini. Sometimes, vegetables are are used instead of the noodles to create, for example, a carrot pudding or spinach pudding.
Kugel. The name comes from the German word Kugel, meaning ball, globe or sphere. This likely referred to the round pan originally used. Today, kugels are more often baked in square or rectangular pans and served in square pieces.
Matzoh also spelled Matzah, Matza, Matzo and other variations, is a cracker-like unleavened flatbread made only of flour and water, similar to a water biscuit. The dough is not allowed to rise before or during baking. Matzoh is the substitute for bread during the Jewish holiday of Passover, when leavened products is not permitted. Matzoh commemorates the exodus of the Israelites from ancient Egypt, led by Moses (and described in the Old Testament Book Of Exodus). The departure was so hasty, there was no time to let the bread rise.
4 large tart apples such as Granny Smiths, cored and diced
½ cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup freshly-squeezed orange juice
8 eggs, separated
5 plain matzohs
2 teaspoons finely-grated orange rind
1-½ cups sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
3/4cup chopped toasted walnuts
1 cup dried cranberries, dried cherries, chopped dried apricots
(or a mixture of all three)
½ cup butter or margarine, melted and cooled to room temperature
(if hot it will scramble the egg mixture)
4 tablespoons butter or margarine, cut into small pieces
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 2- to 3-quart casserole.
In a medium bowl, toss the chopped apples with the brown sugar and orange juice; set aside.
In a large bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff. In a separate bowl, lightly beat the egg yolks.
Break the matzohs into 2 to 3-inch pieces and soak in hot water until they are just soft, about 2 to 3 minutes. Don’t allow them to get mushy. Squeeze out all of the excess liquid and set aside.
In a medium bowl, combine the apple and brown sugar mixture, the orange rind, sugar, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, walnuts, dried fruit, beaten egg yolks and melted butter or margarine. Add the beaten egg whites, folding gently to thoroughly combine.
Squeeze the liquid from the softened matzoh and add the matzoh to the egg mixture with the apples. Stir the kugel well and pour into a lightly greased 2-½ quart casserole dish or a 10x14-inch pan. Dot the top of the kugel with the 4 tablespoons of butter.
Combine the matzohs with the apple, fruit and spice mixture. Pour into the prepared casserole and dot the top with remaining 4 tablespoons of butter or margarine.
Bake the kugel for 1 to 1-½ hours (if the top of the kugel begins to brown too quickly, cover it with foil).
Remove the kugel from the oven and cool to room temperature.
The kugel can be made 2 days in advance. Allow to cool, then cover and refrigerate. When ready to serve, reheat in a 350°F oven or microwave.
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