Classic, but with a punchline.
Serving Size: 10
I have such nostalgia for noodle kugel, specifically the one my father’s mother used to make it. This is particularly notable because she wasn’t much of a cook, though her kugel was really quite good. My grandfather would hold up his pinky (a thing he did for emphasis) and ask us, “Can you guess what’s in here that makes it special?” “Orange,” we’d sigh. We had been down this road before. “Orange!” he’d say triumphantly, finger poking into the air. He never seemed to notice our lack of proper admiration for this smart addition to a plain old kugel. Now I get it.
I tested kugel after kugel for months, chasing the memory of my grandmother’s kugel for my new cookbook, Dinner Solved! And I finally got to the kugel I was searching for. However, there is a coda to this story of nostalgia and food. When I made it for my mother, after finally feeling like I nailed it, she said to me: “You know your grandmother never made that kugel. Her housekeeper did.” Apparently I have nostalgia for my Nana’s housekeeper’s kugel. I think I’m okay with that.
The kugel can be baked up to 2 days before serving; reheat in a 300°F oven for 15 minutes or so. You can also make the kugel and refrigerate it unbaked for up to a day, and then bake it right before serving.
- 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into pieces, plus extra for buttering the pan
- 1 cup raisins
- Grated zest and strained juice of 1 orange
- 1 package (12 ounces) wide egg noodles
- 6 large eggs
- 2 cups cottage cheese
- 2 cups sour cream
- 2 cups whole milk
- ½ cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon kosher or coarse salt
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter a 9 by 13-inch baking pan.
2. Combine the raisins and the orange juice and set aside to soak. Cook the noodles according to the package directions.
3. Whisk together the orange zest, eggs, cottage cheese, sour cream, milk, sugar, cinnamon, vanilla, and salt in a medium-size bowl. Add the plumped raisins and up to 1 tablespoon of any remaining juice.
4. Drain the noodles and return them to the pot. Add the butter in pieces and toss until melted. Add the cottage cheese mixture and stir gently until well combined. Transfer the noodles to the prepared pan.
5. Bake the kugel until a bit bubbly around the edges, well set, and pretty well browned, 1 hour and 15 minutes. Broil it for 1 or 2 minutes if you like a really crunchy top.
6. Transfer the kugel to a wire rack and let cool for at least 15 minutes before serving. It is great warm or at room temperature.
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Katie Workman is a gifted cook, a best friend in the kitchen, and a brilliant problem solver. Her Mom 100 Cookbook was named one of the Five Best Weeknight Cookbooks of the past 25 years by Cooking Light and earned praise from chefs like Ina Garten (“I love the recipes!”) and Bobby Flay (“Perfect . . . to help moms everywhere get delicious meals on the table.”). Now Katie turns her attention to the biggest problem that every family cook faces: how to make everyone at the table happy without turning into a short-order cook. Expanding on one of the …Read More about Dinner Solved! »