Kugel is a Kosher dish originating from Central Europe, sometimes referred as a noodle casserole or “noodle pudding.” It’s my favorite dish for every occasion: international nights, Rosh Hashanah and Hanukkah, but it’s not just limited to Jewish holidays. Thanksgiving is one of the annual meals served in my Ammon Thanksgiving home, and my personal favorite.
Not only can it be served as a dinner, but also as a delicious dessert. Most of my friends, who are not Jewish, have never even heard of this so-called “pudding.” I always rave about it, for the dish along with other traditional Thanksgiving foods make this holiday one of my favorite times of the year.
As the years have passed, my family’s Thanksgiving got smaller when my uncle moved and again, five years ago, when my grandparents moved. Now, it’s just the four of us.
My dream is to have Thanksgiving at my parent’s house for many years to come. About ten years from now, I’ll invite my husband and children and my brother’s wife and kids too. We will always continue the tradition of a savory, roasted turkey, sweet potato pudding with toasted marshmallows, stuffing, smooth, creamy pumpkin pie and a homemade Kugel.
If you’ve ever tried Kugel before or want to cook something new this year, here’s my mom’s recipe for one of the best comfort foods for the holiday season.
The Annual Pudding (Traditional Kugel)
1 bag of egg noodles
3 tablespoons of sugar
½ teaspoon of vanilla
1 can of fruit cocktail
1 Half cup of water
¼ teaspoon of cinnamon
Optional: raisins instead of fruit cocktail
Cook noodles as directed on the package
Mix ingredients except the noodles and cinnamon in one bowl
Heat oven to 250 degrees
Butter a baking pan or lay a sheet of aluminum foil and put butter on top of the foil
Pour noodles into the pan
Slowly pour the ingredients into the pan and gently mix into the noodles
Sprinkle the top of the noodles with cinnamon
Cover with aluminum foil and put the tray into the oven
Bake for 1-1 1/2 hours or until eggs are fully cooked
My mom adds raisins, fruit cocktail and vanilla. Without the tiny fruit, Kugel can still be a delectable item. Though healthier, it satisfies your taste buds.
Adding extra vanilla enhances the flavor and makes it taste sweeter. Same tip goes for desserts: vanilla is lighter than molasses or sugar, which create a saccharine overtaste. A little sugar goes a long way. So, if you feel that you want more sweetness, add vanilla! Don’t have vanilla? Use maple syrup, but less than a tablespoon!
Halfway through cooking the noodle pudding, take the aluminum foil cover off and add some water to keep the Kugel moist. If you prefer a crispier top to your noodle pudding, put on the top rack and broil without the cover for two minutes.
Cinnamon! Whether you want to pile it on or just sprinkle a bit to give more spice, you can never go wrong with cinnamon!