Apple Pie Kugel
(The Nosher/JTA) – One day, many years ago – during the High Holidays yet — I called my mother early in the morning to yell at her about kugel. Really. In my family kugel meant skinny noodles mixed with eggs, schmaltz, salt and fried onions. I’d heard of the sweet kind from friends who rhapsodized about the ones their grandmas made. But I’d never tasted any of those, because my mother told me they were horrible.
Years later, when I finally did, it was a watershed culinary moment for me. I was at a friend’s break-the-fast and she gave me a dishful of what I came to believe was the best noodle kugel I ever tasted. It had bountiful quantities of sugar and cheese, it was rich with dairy sour cream and it had a crunchy, butter-drenched frosted corn flakes crust.
“Ma! You were absolutely wrong. What were you thinking!” I yelled into the phone. I brought her a sample and she, no fool, realized how mistaken she’d been (although she still preferred our savory kind, which I still make often).
After that I became a sort of sweet noodle kugel aficionado. I make all kinds: dairy and pareve with fresh fruit or dried, with a plain top or a crispy coat. Although these versions are sweet, I serve most of them with dinner – in the same way I serve applesauce or cranberry sauce with savory foods.
Recently I thought about the fact that kugel, being a kind of pudding, could actually make a nice dessert. Like bread pudding but made with noodles. So, with apples-and-honey season in mind, I decided to go all in.
This is it — apple-streusel-pie kugel, lush with roasted fruit, orange-plumped raisins, cheese and a topping of oat-based streusel. We ate it with vanilla ice cream once and another time topped with lightly sweetened heavy cream that had been whipped but still pourable. Don’t even think about the calories. Just enjoy.