Matzo Kugel ~

For those of you who are unaware, next Monday starts the beginning of Passover- the week long Jewish holiday that commemorates the Exodus of the ancient Israelites from slavery in Egypt.  When Pharaoh freed the Israelites, it is said that they left in such a hurry that they could not wait for bread to rise. In commemoration, for the duration of Passover no leavened bread is eaten. Matzo(flat unleavened bread) is the primary symbol of the holiday.

I spoke a little bit about this last year when I shared what is, in my opinion, the most delicious Passover dessert you will ever find, a Chocolate Apricot Torte. An amazing dessert for any day, not just Passover.

Matzo Kugel ~

Anyway you can’t eat anything leavened (or flour or a few other things), but you can substitute flour with matzo meal or matzo flour. It doesn’t have quite the same properties, so you have to be a little creative.

There are three main types of recipes for Passover:

First there are that don’t involve leavening agents at all, like meat/fish/poutry/veggie based dishes.

Second are dishes in which you would usually use such a small amount of flour (like under 1/4 cup) that you can easily substitute matzo meal without affecting the texture/taste, etc.

Finally, a large part of Passover recipes are those that highlight matzo rather than trying to hide it.

Matzo Kugel ~

This recipe I’m about to share is one in which matzo is the star. I’ve shared my Aunt Rita’s Noodle Kugel with you before. Hers is my favorite noodle kugel around, but a more traditional kugel (pudding) involves eggs, dried and fresh fruit, along with noodles and sometimes cottage cheese. This kugel is similar except that it uses matzo in place of the noodles.

When soaked in water and then baked, matzo takes on a chewy consistency that, although not like noodles, is actually pleasant. I had never made this particular recipe, but there are many similar ones, and I’m sure every Jewish family has their favorite. They do make Passover “noodles” but in my opinion you should stay away, as the consistency is vile.

Matzo Kugel ~

I’d definitely make this kugel again. It was very sweet, almost like dessert, so I think to serve it as a side dish I’d cut back on the dried apricots. Other than that, it was delicious!

 *Note that in order to make this dessert pareve (neither meat nor dairy), I used margerine, but you could easily use butter instead.

Apple-Matzo Kugel

Very slightly adapted from Epicurious 

Print this recipe!

makes 12 servings

4 large apples, Granny Smith or any tart apple, cored and cut into medium dice
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup orange juice
7 plain matzohs
1 cup warm water
8 eggs
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup (8 tablespoons) butter or margarine, melted
1 cup golden raisins
1 cup dried apricots, medium, chopped

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Toss the apples with the brown sugar and orange juice, set aside in a medium bowl.

Break the matzoh into 2- to 3-inch pieces and soak in 1 cup of warm water until soft but not mushy. Set aside.

While the matzoh soaks, beat the eggs with a wire whisk in a large bowl until blended. Add the salt, sugar, cinnamon, melted butter, raisins, and apricots.

Squeeze the liquid from the softened matzoh and add the matzoh to the egg mixture with the apples. Stir the kugel well and pour into a lightly greased 2 1/2-quart casserole dish or a 10×14-inch pan (i think 9×13 will work fine).

Bake the kugel for 60-80 min. Cover the top with foil if the top begins to become too brown early in the baking. It will look firm but you may see some liquid- it’s just the melted butter. It will firm up soon after coming out of the oven.

Remove the kugel from the oven and cool to room temperature.

The kugel can be made 2 days ahead, cooled, and refrigerated, covered. Bring to room temperature and reheat in a 350°F oven.

This is one of my family’s most important and delicious recipes. For us, it originated with and has thus been named after my Aunt Rita, although I’m not sure where she got it from originally,  But what’s important is that once she found it, she saved it!

noodle kugel

This isn’t a traditional noodle kugel recipe. For one thing, it has no fruit in it, and the noodles are angel hair rather than thick egg noodles.

In addition, it has the addition of three forms of dairy products (four if you count the butter). The consistency comes out like a hybrid of a kugel and a cheesecake and it is topped with THE MOST buttery, delicious graham cracker crumb topping.

noodle kugel

You don’t even need to save it for Jewish holiday dinners, although that’s when we usually make it.

I know it’s not much to look at, but people I’m telling you, I could seriously eat this for every meal for the rest of my life and I would never get sick of it, although my thighs might protest- it’s more like a dessert than a meal from the calorie perspective.

noodle kugel

*Note that if you make it, yours will be slightly thicker than mine…I halved the recipe and made it in an 8×8 pan which is a little too large for half a recipe.

Recipe is at the bottom of the post!

In case you couldn’t figure it out, May is #pastalove month!

Please join in on the #pastalove fun by linking up any pasta recipe from the month of May 2012. Don’t forget to link back to this post, so that your readers know to come stop by the #pastalove event! The twitter hashtag is #pastalove :). 

I’m hosting along with these other fine folks:

Astig VeganBadger Girl Learns to CookBigFatBakerBon à croquerCake Duchess, Hobby And MoreMis PensamientosNo One Likes Crumbley CookiesOh CakeRico sin AzúcarSimply ReemSoni’s Food for ThoughtTeaspoon of SpiceThat Skinny Chick Can Bake!!!The Spicy RDThe Wimpy VegetarianVegetarian MammaYou Made That?Vegan Yack Attack

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Aunt Rita’s Noodle Pudding

From Aunt Rita

Print this recipe!

Serves 12

1/2 lb. fine egg noodles, cooked and drained (I usually use regular angel hair pasta)
1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temp
1/2 cup sugar
8 oz. cottage cheese
4 oz. cream cheese, room temp
8 oz. sour cream
4 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp lemon juice
1/4 tsp salt

1 cup graham cracker crumbs
3 Tbsp sugar
4 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, combine noodles, butter, sugar, cheeses, eggs, vanilla, lemon juice, and salt. Mix well.

Pour into buttered 9×13 baking dish.

Mix together the crumbs, sugar and melted butter. Sprinkle evenly over the noodle mixture.

Bake 45 minutes to 1 hour, until golden on top.

Remove from oven and let set 15 minutes at room temp before cutting into squares.

Serve hot or at room temperature.