Tastes Like Tradition
Growing up, my brother and I were raised in the reform Jewish tradition. We attended Sunday school and Hebrew school, had our Bar and Bat Mitzvahs when we turned thirteen, and attended temple on the high holidays (and occasionally on the Sabbath). While no one in our family was ever particularly religious, we all consider ourselves “culturally” Jewish, concerning ourselves with the age-old traditions that have been passed down from generation to generation.
Happily, as any good Jew will tell you, one of the best traditions that is passed down in Judaism is the love of good food.
Really, really good food.
Saturday was Yom Kippur, the Jewish Day of Atonement (and one of the holiest days of the year). Traditionally, Jews fast all day on Yom Kippur as a means of repenting for their sins. The “break fast” dinner that ends the holiday is usually a feast of Thanksgiving-like proportions; in our family, it was always heavy on dairy-based and breakfast foods (think: bagels, lox, cream cheese, cinnamon and pecan buns, coffee cake, kugels, etc.).
Growing up, one of my favorite parts of the break fast was getting to indulge in my great Aunt Esther’s kugel. Aunt Esther was famous for a LOT of things (it was worth getting sick for her homemade chicken soup and matzah balls), but her kugels were my favorites. On most holidays, Aunt Esther would make her famous potato kugels (made with lots and LOTS of Crisco), but on Yom Kippur, she broke out the sweet noodle kugel.
Never had noodle kugel? You’re missing out.
True noodle kugels are perfectly balanced: just cheesy enough, just sweet enough, just custardy enough.
Nothing will ever top Aunt Esther’s original, but this noodle kugel recipe came pretty darn close in terms of taste and consistency.
Sweet Noodle Kugel
- 12 oz. wide egg noodles, prepared according to package directions.
- 6 tbsp butter
- 16 oz. low fat sour cream
- 16 oz. non fat cottage cheese
- four eggs
- 3/4 cup sugar
- cinnamon and nutmeg to taste (I went heavy on both: about 1.5 T cinnamon and 1/2 T nutmeg)
- 3/4 C. raisins (golden raisins work as well!)
*Note: feel free to use full fat sour cream and cottage cheese; I just thought I’d try to lighten it up a bit! Trust me, this dish is rich enough; you’ll never miss the extra calories.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- After preparing noodles, drain and place in a large mixing bowl. Combine with butter until butter is melted.
- Add sour cream, cottage cheese, and eggs, mixing well after each addition. Stir in sugar, nutmeg, and cinnamon.
- Gently fold in raisins. Pour mixture into greased 9×13 baking pan. Sprinkle a bit of sugar on top if desired.
- Bake uncovered for one hour. If top begins to brown too deeply, cover with tin foil and continue to bake.
- Serve immediately or chill and serve at room temperature. It’s great both ways!
Our break fast this year was a feast fit for a king:
Bagels, lox, cream cheese, sour tomatoes and pickles, cole slaw, potato salad, pastrami, corned beef, coffee cake (thanks, Allison!) and, at the center of it all, my sweet noodle kugel.
When traditions are this delicious, it’s easy to keep them going.