Serious Eats: Recipes

Yom Kippur Break Fast Kugel

Words by Arthur Schwartz | This is the noodle pudding my maternal grandmother, Elise Binder Sonkin, made to break the fast on Yom Kippur. We ate it only that one time during the whole year. So rich, it is certainly not the best thing to eat after an entire day of fasting, but we did and still do.

It is not a sweet pudding, but we did eat it as a last course, if not dessert. After the table was cleared and the first round of dishes was washed, we went on to coffee, cakes, and pastries. Before the kugel, we ate pickled herring with “wine” sauce and cream sauce, platters of smoked whitefish, sable, and kippered salmon (also called baked salmon), cream cheese, Munster and Swiss cheeses, egg and tuna salads, sliced tomatoes and cucumbers, bagels and other breads—basically what used to be considered the quintessential New York Jewish Sunday breakfast or brunch, the festive family breakfast that my family did indeed indulge in when we all lived together in one house in Brooklyn.

This is the original kugel recipe with its full quotient of butter, but you can reduce that ingredient from three sticks to two. Relatively dry, large-curd pot cheese may be difficult to find, although I now see that Friendship has reintroduced it to the supermarket—but you can substitute large curd cottage cheese if need be. To further reduce the fat content, you can substitute low-fat sour cream for full-fat. Naturally, if you go for every possible fat reduction, it won’t be the same recipe and I can’t guarantee it will give the same pleasure.

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