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.
- Yield:12 to 16
- 1 pound wide egg noodles, preferably flat, not curly
- 8 large eggs
- 3 cups sour cream
- 1 1/2 pounds pot cheese or large curd cottage cheese
- 1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) butter, melted
- 1 teaspoon salt, plus more for the pot
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
In a large pot, bring water to a boil over high heat,add salt, and cook the noodles until done, but still firm to the bite. The time will depend on the noodles: see package directions.
While the noodles boil, in a very large bowl, beat the eggs together. Stir in the sour cream, pot cheese, and most of the butter, reserving about 1/4 cup for the baking pan. Season with the 1 teaspoon salt and the pepper. Drain the noodles and add, still hot, to this mixture. Mix well.
Pour the remaining butter into a 4-quart baking pan with 2-inch sides (a rectangular pan will measure about 10 by 15 inches). Tip the pan to coat the bottom and sides with the melted butter.
Pour in the noodle mixture and bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until the top is lightly browned. Let cool at least 15 minutes before cutting. Serve hot or warm.
Store leftover baked kugel, tightly covered in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. The kugel reheats well in a 350°F oven, the exact time depending on the size of the piece of pudding. It freezes well, too.