Cook | Use your noodle and turn kugel into holiday treat

Hanukkah foods need not be limited to latkes or fried pastries. Celebrate the Festival of Lights with a nice kugel reflecting the holiday’s food traditions.

Custard Kugel satisfies the custom of eating dairy products during Hanukkah to commemorate Judith’s slaying of an Assyrian general. She fed him salty cheese to encourage him to over-imbibe wine and fall asleep. This occurred centuries before the Maccabean revolt, but it has come to be associated with Hanukkah.

This rich dairy kugel with a slight citrus twist works well as a brunch or dessert option.

Spice Market Kugel with Caramelized Onions fulfills the custom of eating foods fried in oil because of the miracle of the Temple oil lasting eight days. This parve casserole is filled with fragrant spices and savory, slow-fried onions. It makes a good side dish.


Custard Kugel

Serves 8

1 lb. butterfly pasta or medium noodles

1 cup raisins

1⁄4 cup triple sec or orange juice butter for greasing pan

4 eggs, beaten

1⁄2 tsp. salt

1 tsp. vanilla

1⁄2 tsp. grated nutmeg

1 tsp. plus 2 tsp. ground cinnamon

14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk

1 cup milk

1 cup sour cream, room temperature

2 tsp. sugar

3 Tbs. butter

Cook pasta according to package directions. While pasta is cooking, soak raisins with triple sec, stirring occasionally. When pasta is cooked, drain, rinse and drain again. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 9-by-13-inch pan. In a large bowl, combine eggs, salt, vanilla, nutmeg and 1 tsp. cinnamon. Mix well. Add milks and sour cream. Beat until smooth. Stir in pasta and raisins with liquid. Mix well. Pour into prepared pan. Sprinkle top with sugar and remaining cinnamon. Cut butter into 1⁄4-inch pieces. Scatter across kugel. Bake for 50-60 minutes until browned and custard is set. If desired, cover with foil for last 15-20 minutes for a less crispy top.


Spice Market Kugel with Caramelized Onions


Serves 8

2 Tbs. plus 1⁄2 cup vegetable     oil, plus extra for greasing pan

2 lbs. onions, very thinly sliced

1⁄4 tsp. plus 1 tsp. salt

1 lb. very fine egg noodles or pasta (such as angel hair)

1⁄4 cup sugar

1 Tbs. freshly ground black pepper

1⁄4 tsp. ground cardamom

1⁄4 tsp. ground dried ginger

1⁄4 tsp. ground cinnamon

1⁄8 tsp. ground allspice

1⁄8 tsp. ground dried red pepper (cayenne)

4 eggs, beaten

Heat 2 Tbs. oil in a large skillet. Add onion to hot pan. Sprinkle with 1⁄4 tsp. salt. Turn heat to low. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are brown and very soft, about 40-60 minutes. (Adjust heat as needed, but be careful not to burn or blacken the onions.)

Break pasta into 2-inch segments. Cook according to package directions. Drain, rinse thoroughly and drain again. Thoroughly dry pasta pot. Put on medium-low heat. Add 1⁄2 cup oil. Stir in sugar. Keep stirring until sugar melts and is browned (5-10 minutes), being careful not to let it burn. (Sugar will stay separated from oil.) Leave on heat. Quickly stir in well-drained pasta until covered in sugar and oil. Stir until any crystalized sugar melts into the pasta. Remove from heat. Stir in 1 tsp. salt, black pepper, cardamom, ginger, cinnamon, allspice and red pepper. Let sit 20-30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease an 8-by-11-inch baking pan. Mix eggs and half the onions into noodles, and pour into prepared pan. Top with remaining onions. Bake 75-90 minutes or until top is golden and very crisp.

Faith Kramer is a Bay Area food writer. Her columns alternate with those of Josie A.G. Shapiro. She blogs at Contact her at [email protected]

Faith Kramer
Faith Kramer

Faith Kramer is a Bay Area food writer and the author of “52 Shabbats: Friday Night Dinners Inspired by a Global Jewish Kitchen.” Her website is Contact her at [email protected].