Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Luxshen Kugel

This is a classic Jewish recipe, made differently by different people, depending on where in Eastern Europe their family originated. “Luxshen” means noodle and a “kugel” is literally a pudding, but sometimes it comes off more as a casserole. This sweet noodle pudding makes a delicious dessert or can be served as a sweet side dish with a full meal. It can be served either hot or cold. Read below under Directions for suggested transformations that will make the dish gluten-free or lactose-free, if necessary. To start with, though, here is the fundamental luxshen kugel recipe that my mother passed down to me.


12 oz. broad egg noodles (recipe also works with 8 oz. or 16 oz. OK)
¼ lb. butter
½ lb. sour cream
½ lb. cottage cheese
3 eggs (separate yolk and white)
½ c. honey
½ c. milk
1 tsp. vanilla
½ c. raisins
2 tsp. cinnamon
dash of salt
dusting of nutmeg


Preheat the oven to 350º. Boil the noodles until done. Grease an 8x12 baking dish. Slice the butter into ¼-inch slices. When the noodles are done, drain them, place them in a mixing bowl, and melt the butter into them. In a separate bowl, combine the sour cream, cottage cheese, honey, milk, vanilla, raisins, and cinnamon. Crack the eggs and separate them, putting the yolks into the sour cream mixture and the whites into a separate bowl alone. Put the dash of salt into the egg whites and beat them until they are stiff. Combine the sour cream mixture with the noodles and stir until well blended. Then add the egg whites, folding the noodle and sour cream mixture in carefully while keeping the egg whites as fluffy as possible. Put the kugel into the baking dish and dust the top with nutmeg. Bake the kugel for one hour, uncovered. Check it after 45 minutes. If the top is getting too brown, then put foil over it for the last 15 minutes.

Now for the variations.

To make this dish gluten-free, simply use rice noodles instead of wheat noodles. Any type of noodle can be used, but flat noodles usually work best. If you use a long noodle, like a linguine, break the noodles in half before boiling.

It could be challenging to make a version of this dish that will accommodate the lactose-intolerant. Most people who have trouble with lactose have no difficulty with full-fat foods because they contain little or no lactose. So keep the butter in this version. Either use a tofutti sour cream or use full-fat sour cream with no reduced fat content, and either omit the cottage cheese or use a cottage cheese that is not reduced fat. For the milk you can either use whole milk or lactose-free milk. How many accommodations you make will depend on how sensitive the lactose-intolerant eater is.

Many children are not fond of raisins so I want to mention that this recipe works just as well without them. On the other hand, if you are making this dish for people who like fruit, then try combining dark and golden raisins and adding some fresh apples. If you add apples, I suggest that you peel them, chop them, and sauté them in a little butter until soft before putting them into the kugel.

Serve the kugel piping hot or allow it to cool, refrigerate it, and cut it into squares.

Eat well, be well, live deliciously!

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