Confession: It isn’t even my recipe. It’s from my former stepdaughter. She was mostly nice to me, occasionally nasty, and always an excellent chef. Originally, I think she inherited the recipe from her grandmother, my former husband’s mother. So you can see that even with all the family drama that hinted I’ve at, I know this is the best noodle pudding in the universe. Topping even my Aunt Grace’s.
More authentic American Jewish families call it lokshen kugel, which translates from German (with a few spelling corrections) right back to noodle pudding. Years back, I was surprised when a friend made “lokshen kugel” for an early school holiday potluck, and when I tasted it, it was just plain old noodle pudding. I hear that some Jewish families make a savory noodle pudding. In my world, that would be heresy. Or Italian.
Noodle pudding is a dessert disguised as a side dish. Buttery, crunchy, sweet and cream cheesey, and with all the blessed mouth-feel of baked noodles. I’ve made it for every Jewish holiday (save Passover) for 20 years and for countless other events when I want to contribute something substantial and wonderful that cements my reputation as a cooking hero.
The noodle pudding freezes well, and the recipe can easily be doubled. And yes, you can make it with gluten-free noodles and/or with low-fat dairy products. But then it will simply be a very good noodle pudding, not the world’s best.
1 pound of broad egg noodles
4 eggs, beaten
½ cup of sugar (add more to taste)
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 tablespoon salt
Cinnamon to taste
1 (16-ounce) container of cottage cheese
1 (16-ounce) container of sour cream
8 ounces of cream cheese
1 cup of raisins (blonde or dark)
2 tablespoons butter (more if desired)
1 (10- to 12-ounce) jar of apricot jam
1 cup of slivered almonds
1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
2. Cook egg noodles and drain.
3. Beat the eggs till they are lemon yellow, then add sugar, vanilla, salt and cinnamon.
4. Mix all the dairy products in a large bowl, then add the egg mixture, raisins and egg noodles. (The warmth of the noodles will make the entire mixture easy to combine.)
5. Dot the top with butter, then spread apricot jam on top with a pastry brush.
6. Sprinkle the top evenly with slivered almonds.
7. Bake for one hour at 350 F, or until golden brown.
Top photo: A slice of the world’s best noodle pudding. Credit: Bethany Versoy