Engel Family Kugel
December 12, 2022
My favorite recipe to make with my family is something called kugel. Kugel is a traditional Ashkenazi noodle pudding where egg noodles are baked in a dairy mix. It can be either sweet or savory, but my favorite is always sweet.
As much as I would love to recall sentimental memories of my mother whisking eggs and my father sprinkling cinnamon over a steaming dish pulled straight from the oven, that never happened.
For me, kugel does not conjure cherished childhood memories of family and sneaking down for a sweet midnight snack. This wasn’t a recipe my family made when I was little, and seeing as I was not confined to a bedtime, I never had to sneak. Instead this recipe reminds me of two things far more cherished, fire and bribery.
My uncle loves kugel. Not in a casual “swipe right” kind of way, but in a “til’ death do us part with a shiny diamond” kind of way. Much to my joy and his chagrin, I was the only person who made the recipe he loved so much. This gave me leverage, just like Obi-wan, I had the high ground.
As a nine year old I was, in no uncertain terms, a jerk. Not only did I feel no guilt in using this new found advantage, I enjoyed and abused it to the fullest.
Walking into my uncle’s house one Friday night for dinner, I saw something on the counter. A magical, mystical and glorious something. I saw a one-foot-tall cylinder made of beauty herself. I saw a blowtorch.
Not a minute later I had a plan. He got a kugel, and I got to use the blowtorch. This seemed more than fair to me. Giving a child who viewed My Little Pony as the single greatest human accomplishment a gas fueled power tool may seem just a little bit unwise. But not to my uncle, because quicker than an impatient poker player he said “deal.”
This recipe does bring forth fun memories of my family, just maybe not the classic family dinner around a table kind. Kugel doesn’t make me think of holiday dinners but it does make me think of standing at the red kitchen island, lighting a tea candle the size of my eye with a blow torch the length of my forearm; and for me, that’s even better. Plus it tastes good.
- 12 ounces or one package of wide egg noodles
- Six eggs of no particular size
- Two cups sour cream
- 8 ounces cream cheese
- I cup granulated sugar
- ¼ cup melted butter
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- Extra cinnamon and sugar for sprinkling on after baking
- Preheat oven to 350 F
- Add water to a pot and boil, cook the noodles for 3-4 minutes
- Mix everything else in one bowl
- Spray an about 9×13 pan (make sure it’s oven safe too)
- Pour the noodles into the dish and spread evenly
- Do the same with the dairy mix
- Bake for one our
- Dust with cinnamon and sugar
- Serve either hot or cooled
For this recipe, make sure your ingredients are room temperature before you mix them so that they blend well. When you’re cooking the noodles, don’t cook them all the way or else they will become soggy.
Also on the topic of noodles, my advice is to buy the Manischewitz brand noodles. Lastly, make sure to turn the kugel over halfway through baking so it’s cooked evenly.