Excerpted from the book THE GEFILTE MANIFESTO by Jeffrey Yoskowitz & Liz Alpern. Copyright © 2016 by Gefilte Manifesto LLC. Reprinted with permission from Flatiron Books. All rights reserved. Photography by Lauren Volo.
Adapted from Jayne Cohen’s Jewish Holiday Cooking
Jeffrey Yoskowitz: My non-Jewish friends find this sweet noodle dish a bit confusing. When should it be eaten? Is it an entrée or a dessert? Don’t worry too much about fitting this dish into a box. It’s sweet, rich, and cinnamon-y in all the right ways. While noodle kugel has a centuries-old provenance, the rich cheese-and-egg version is supremely North American. It’s an almost absurd showcasing of abundance, as in the United States and Canada, cheese, milk, and eggs were available on the cheap. We knew from the start that we had to include noodle kugel in this book, since it’s one of those recipes that defines both of our American Jewish childhoods, especially Sunday brunches and Yom Kippur fast breaking. The plums on top add a tartness and sweetness that complement the creamy kugel and give this classic casserole an elegant flourish. If planning to serve this for a party or a brunch, prep the dish up to a day in advance and refrigerate, then bake it right before your guests arrive.
8 ounces egg noodles
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for greasing the pan
1-cup small-curd cottage cheese
8 ounces cream cheese, store-bought or homemade (page 25), cut into pieces, at room temperature
2 cups whole milk
¼ cup sour cream, store-bought or homemade (page 24)
3 large eggs ½ cup pure maple syrup or granulated sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
About 1½ pounds plums, pitted and sliced
1-teaspoon ground cinnamon
6 tablespoons light brown sugar
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the noodles just until tender, about 5 minutes. Drain and transfer to a bowl. Add the butter and stir gently to coat the noodles. Set aside.
In a large bowl with high sides, whisk together the cottage cheese and cream cheese until fluffy. (Alternatively, use a hand mixer.) One at a time, add the milk, sour cream, eggs, maple syrup or sugar, and vanilla, whisking to incorporate after adding each ingredient.
Add the cottage cheese mixture to the bowl with the egg noodles and gently combine. Pour the mixture into a greased 9 x 13-inch baking pan. Cover the pan and refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to overnight.
Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Bake the kugel, uncovered, for 45 minutes, then top decoratively with the plums and sprinkle with the cinnamon and brown sugar. Bake for 30 minutes more, until the fruit has softened and released its juices. Remove from the oven and let sit for at least 30 minutes before slicing and serving. Eat the kugel warm or at room temperature.
Serves 12 as an appetizer