Noodle Kugel with Cardamom and Apples

Hotdish : My Upper Midwest Fronds :: Kugel : Me. 

[Hotdish is to my upper Midwest fronds as kugel is to me.]

Not in the way that kugel was a dish that we ate on a regular basis for dinner growing up, but rather in the way that I just assumed that everybody grew up with it and took a nostalgic comfort in it. Like I literally thought that everyone knew kugel until last year, when Alana talked to me about her first experience about it. I was in shock that she’d never had it! It’s like a… sweet mac and cheese? It was… interesting! But in a good way! And then I met a dozen more people with the same reaction at the Fargo Hotdish Festival when Bernbaum’s brought an amazing kugel to compete with tater tot hotdishes of all sorts. It dawned on me then that not everyone knows this dish that was so central to my childhood holidays and I suddenly had to figure out a way to explain it and convince my fronds that it totally deserved to be classified as a hotdish.  

And seriously, if you bend the definition of a vegetable to mean, well, fruit then you’ve got it: the cottage cheese mixture is your sauce, the noodles are your starch, the nuts are your protein, and the raisins/cherries/apples are your produce. Hotdish. Sold. 

Flavor-wise, think of it as rice pudding made with noodles! And baked! Or, ok, a slightly sweet, a teensy bit sour, and kind of soufflé-like mac and cheese. And for all of the times I’ve made fun of Eggboy for having sweet cookie salad alongside the main course of his meal (as opposed to as dessert), I now owe him an apology because kugel, in all of its dessert-leaning glory, is part of the main course.

The kugel that my mom made growing up was based on Emeril’s recipe. It was such a great combination of richness and milkiness and it had the perfect touch of cinnamon and sugar, as well as a toasty nutty topping. It was, and continues to be, the only place that I will eat cottage cheese. For some reason it’d been a really really long time since we had it at holidays and it wasn’t until the Fargo Hotdish Festival that I was reminded of it because Bernbaum’s kugel was so similar. It brought me right back to kugel of my youth, but it had the one inspiring addition of granny smith apples. I LOVED this addition because it added color, crunch, and brightness to an otherwise super heavy dish. So I stole the idea. I added it to my family kugel, along with some cardamom and a bit of lemon for additional depth of flavor, and I fine tuned the sweetness to create the new and improved family kugel that Bernie is going to grow up with. 

And it’s of course only fitting that I’m using Our Family goodies to make Our Family Kugel! They make it easy to make this recipe since their cottage cheese and sour cream comes in big enough tubs that you end up using just a whole big tub of each. 

Make this for Rosh Hashanah or it’s also great prepped in advance, so make it for Yom Kippur break fast.

L’Shana Tovah, everyone! 


Noodle Kugel with Cardamom and Apples

Serves 8

ingredients

Kosher salt

1 lb Our Family wide egg noodles

6 tb (85g) unsalted butter, divided

5 large eggs

1 lb Our Family cottage cheese

1 lb Our Family sour cream

3/4 c (150g) sugar

1 c (236 mL) whole or 2% milk

2 tsp cinnamon, divided

1/2 tsp cardamom

1 tb vanilla extract

Zest and juice of 1 lemon

2 granny smith apples, chopped

2 c (260g) pecans, chopped

1/2 c (100g) light brown sugar

clues

Preheat oven to 350ºf. Grease a 9” x 13” casserole dish or similar (pictured is a deep 9” x 9” casserole) and set aside.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the egg noodles to al dente, about 4-5 minutes. Drain and toss with 4 tablespoons of butter.

In a large bowl, combine the eggs, cottage cheese, sour cream, sugar, milk, 1 teaspoon of cinnamon, cardamom, vanilla, lemon zest, and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt. In a small bowl, toss the apples with the lemon juice. Fold the noodles and apples into the cottage cheese mixture and then transfer to the casserole dish. 

In a small bowl, melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and add the pecans, brown sugar, remaining teaspoon of cinnamon, and a good pinch of salt. Sprinkle it all over the top of the noodles. Bake until set, about 1 hour. Let cool slightly and serve.

To prep it the day before, do everything up until the step where you top it with the nuts. Cover and refrigerate. When ready to bake, top it with the nuts and bake as directed, but tack on another few minutes to the baking time. 


-yeh!

photos by chantell and brett quernemoen

this recipe was created in partnership with our family!

Apple and Honey and Marzipan Rolls

My concept of time right now is all thrown off, I’ve just gotten home from celebrating Hanukkah* (and I have the dreidels on my nails to show it), summer has decided to come back for a weird unwelcome encore (get away!!), and I spent all last week testing Christmas cookie recipes. And the tomatoes have finally decided to turn red. Have you ever had a tomato and mayonnaise sandwich for lunch followed by a piece of stollen for dessert? It’s so weird. I mean, ok, I can’t complain, it’s all good things except for the gross 80 degree heat but I am ready to truly immerse myself in the upcoming high holidays because I think Rosh Hashanah is my preferred new year out of the three new years that we do. I just feel like the fact that it happens at the beginning of the school year and the start of sweater weather makes it feel way more like the dawn of something exciting than the Gregorian New Year (which hasn’t really been fun since I was 22 and could drink a Red Bull and vodka together) and the Chinese New Year (which is delicious and great but January as a month is kinda a drag. And I’m too old to get envelopes of money now 🤷🏻‍♀️). 

*We just filmed the Hanukkah Cooking Championship for Food Network! It was a dream. I even got kinda emotional over the fact that there is actually going to be a Hanukkah show on Food Network!! The food was so delicious and the other people on it were the bee’s knees. Whether or not you celebrate Hanukkah, you guys are going to lurrrv this show. 

Speaking of celebrating Jewish holidays on the TV (!), this weekend is the Rosh Hashanah brunch episode of Girl Meets Farm! Both Stoopie and my silly Aunt Cathy came to town to film this episode and it was a blast. I cooked brisket with my mom, made a celery cocktail with Aunt Cathy, and introduced Bernie to her crazy family. The recipe I’m most excited about is these apple butter rolls, which look just like cinnamon rolls, but they’re better because they’re topped with honey marzipan frosting. If you’ve ever thought omg challah baking in the oven is the best smell evarrr, try filling little swirly rolls of challah with a very cinnamony apple butter and grated almond paste and, wow, your pumpkin spice candle didn’t stand a chance. And then they get topped with a frosting made of marzipan butter and honey which is thick, glossy, luxurious, parve, and perfect. So you’re checking all of the Rosh Hashanah boxes with these rolls: Round challah? Check. Apples? Check. Honey? Check. A make-ahead situation? Check check. And marzipan, because a few years back I started including marzipan with the apples and honey tradition since almonds go so well with both apples and honey, and it just decided to stick around. They are so soft and fluffy and decadent and good. Exactly the ticket for a sweet New Year!


Apple and Honey and Marzipan Rolls

Makes 12 rolls

ingredients

1 c (236ml) almond milk, warm (105-110ºf)

2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast

1 tsp + 1/4 c (50g) sugar

4 1/2 c (585g) all-purpose flour

1 tsp kosher salt

1 tsp cinnamon

a pinch of cardamom

2 large eggs

1/2 c (100g) flavorless oil

1/4 c (84g) honey

1 tsp vanilla

 

filling

3/4 c (204g) apple butter, store-bought or homemade

1 tsp cinnamon

6 oz (170g) almond paste, grated on the big holes of a box grater or finely chopped

Eggwash: 1 large egg beaten with a splash of water

 

frosting

1 1/2 c (192g) blanched almonds

1/4 c (84g) honey

Zest from 1/2 a lemon

1/4 tsp kosher salt

1 tsp almond extract

6 tb (89ml) almond milk

Toasted sliced almonds, for topping

clues

Combine the milk, yeast, and 1 teaspoon of sugar and swirl together. Let sit for 5 minutes, or until foamy on top.

In a large bowl or bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, combine the flour, remaining sugar, salt, cinnamon, and cardamom. In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, oil, honey, and vanilla. Stir the yeast mixture and the oil mixture into the dry mixture and then knead, either on a work surface or with the dough hook, adding more flour as needed, until the dough is smooth and slightly sticky, 7-10 minutes. Place in an oil bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let rise for 1 1/2-2 hours, or until doubled in size. 

Turn the dough out onto a clean surface and roll it out into a large 18” x 12” rectangle. Spread it with the apple butter and sprinkle with the cinnamon and almond paste. Roll it up tightly the long way, and pinch the edges to seal. Cut into 12 rolls and place evenly spaced in a 9” x 13” baking dish (3 rows of 4). Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight, or let rise at room temperature for another hour and then go directly to the baking step.

When ready to bake, remove the rolls from the refrigerator and let sit at room temperature for 1-2 hours, until puffy. Preheat the oven to 350ºf. Remove the plastic wrap and brush with the egg wash. Bake until the rolls are lightly browned; begin checking for doneness at 35 minutes. 

To make the frosting: Blend the almonds in a food processor, scraping the sides occasionally, until creamy and spreadable, about 5-10 minutes. Add the honey, lemon zest, salt, and almond extract and continue to blend (it may clump together at this point up that’s ok) as you drizzle in the milk. Blend until creamy. This can be made the day before and stored in the fridge.

When the rolls come out of the oven, spread them with the frosting, sprinkle with the almonds and serve.


Rhubarb and Pistachio Rugelach

Rhubarb season, la dee da! [Insert Disney princess humming and singing with the birds!] Everything in the yard is green and happy, the chickens are laying, the cats are hunting, and the rhubarb is very bright pink!!! Let’s get down to business. With dreams of last year’s sea salt chocolate rugelach, I realized it was time for a springtime jam version! And what makes the best springtime jam? Rhubarb from the backyard, of course! And you know I love rhubarb with rosewater and pistachios, so those naturally wiggled their way in too. The result is a buttery, not-too-sweet, nutty cookie that has a hint of sourness from both cream cheese and rhubarb. It’s rustic yet a little fancy, and it’s an ode to both my Jewishness and the farm because without the rhubarb patch on the farm, I probably would have never made these. And they certainly couldn’t have been done without my mom’s perfect rugelach in my cookie genes.

That’s all! 

(And hey, if you want to switch up the jams and/or nuts, do it!!)


Rhubarb and Pistachio Rugelach

Makes 24 cookies

Ingredients

Dough

2 1/2 c (325g) all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting

1/3 c (66g) sugar

1/2 tsp kosher salt

zest of 1/2 orange or lemon

1 c (226g) unsalted butter, cold and cubed

8 oz (226g) cream cheese, straight from the fridge

2 large egg yolks

1 tsp vanilla extract


Filling

3/4 c (245g) rhubarb jam, homemade or store-bought

1 tb orange or lemon juice

optional: 1 tsp rosewater, or to taste

1/2 c (64g) finely chopped toasted pistachios

Egg wash: 1 large egg beaten with a splash of water

Topping

a few pinches flaky salt

2 tb sugar or coarse sanding sugar

1/4 c (32g) ground toasted pistachios

Clues

To make the dough, combine the flour, sugar, salt, and zest in a stand mixer fitted with a paddle. Add the cubed butter, distributing it all over the top of the dry ingredients, and dollop in the cream cheese (1” dollops should do it, but it doesn’t need to be perfect). Turn the mixer on low and stir until the mixture is mostly mealy and there are still some larger clumps of butter and cream cheese in tact. Continue mixing and add the yolks and vanilla and then continue mixing until the dough comes together. Divide the dough in half and shape into discs. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to 2 days.

To form the rugelach, first make the filling by combining the jam with the orange or lemon juice and rosewater, if using, and set it aside. Working with one dough disc at a time, roll it out on a lightly floured surface, dusting with flour as needed to prevent it from sticking, until it is a wide rectangle, 18” by 9”. Use an offset spatula to spread on half of the jam in a thin even layer, leaving a 1” border along the long edge that’s furthest from you. Sprinkle with half of the finely chopped pistachios. Brush the 1” border with a thin layer of egg wash and then start on the end closest to you and roll the dough into a long tight log, placing it seam side down. transfer to a cutting board or baking sheet and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to 2 days (depending on fridge space, you might want to cut the log in half so you’re dealing with four shorter logs as opposed to two really long ones). 

If you’re only refrigerating for a couple of hours, no need to cover the logs. If longer than that, cover with plastic wrap. 

To bake, preheat the oven to 375ºf and line two baking sheets with parchment paper. brush the logs with a thin layer of egg wash, sprinkle with a few pinches of flaky salt, a lot of pinches of sanding sugar, and a good pile of ground pistachios. Cut into 1 1/2” slices and transfer to the baking sheets, 1” apart. Bake until golden brown on top; begin checking for doneness at 24 minutes. (You might notice that the cookies seem to sweat and leak out some fat and jam while in the oven, this is completely normal.) Let cool on the pans for 5 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Or enjoy them warm! Leftovers can be stored at room temp for several days.