Jammy Poppyseed Kugel  (Photo/Faith Kramer)
Jammy Poppyseed Kugel (Photo/Faith Kramer)

This poppy seed kugel is perfect for Purim

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I’ve been getting a lot of requests lately for a recipe for noodle kugel, a decadent dairy, baked casserole inspired by Eastern European Jewish foodways.

Jammy Poppy Seed Kugel fits the bill. It’s perfect for brunch or dessert.

This kugel has a just rich-enough base of cream cheese and sour cream, features dollops of two kinds of jam and is laden with poppy seeds.

It’s a good choice for Purim meals, since traditional Purim pastries often include poppy seeds or jam. (This year, Purim begins at sundown March 6.)

This recipe can be made ahead of time; reheating directions are at the end.

Jammy Poppy Seed Kugel

Serves 9

  • 8 oz. uncooked wide-cut egg noodles, pappardelle or similar
  • 4 Tbs. unsalted butter, melted, divided
  • 1 cup sour cream, room temperature
  • 8 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 1 Tbs. lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 Tbs. plus 1 tsp. poppy seeds
  • ½ tsp. ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • 1 cup plum or seedless raspberry jam (see notes)
  • ¾ cup apricot or peach jam (see notes)
  • ¼ cup chopped almonds
  • 2 tsp. minced lemon zest
  • Sour cream or plain yogurt, optional

Put noodles in boiling, salted water. Cook according to package directions. Heat oven to 350 degrees. While noodles are cooking, prep pan and dairy base.

Brush a Tbs. or so of melted butter on the bottom and sides of an 8-by-8-inch baking dish. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the remaining melted butter with sour cream. Cut the cream cheese into 1-inch chunks. Mash into sour cream mixture. Mix in sugar, eggs, lemon juice, vanilla, 1 Tbs. poppy seeds, cinnamon and salt. Mix until almost smooth, mashing with fork if necessary.

After noodles are cooked, drain and immediately add hot noodles to the dairy base. Stir well.

Stir each jam until smooth and easy to measure (add a tsp. of water if needed). Keep separate.

Add a third of the noodles to the prepared baking dish. Add a third of the jams by placing them in 3 rows. Starting with the plum jam, use a Tbs. to place dollops, 3 per row in 2 rows about 1 inch from the sides. Then place 3 dollops (again, 1 Tbs. each) of apricot jam in the baking dish’s center. Add another third of the noodles. Place 6 more Tbs. dollops of apricot jam in 2 outer rows. Add 3 dollops of plum jam in the middle row. Add last layer of noodles and top with 2 rows of plum jam and a center row of apricot jam (in 1 Tbs. dollops).

Place pan in middle of oven. Bake 30 to 40 minutes until noodles are golden on top and dairy base is bubbly and set.  Let cool at least 20 minutes. Sprinkle with 1 tsp. poppy seeds, almonds and lemon zest before serving hot, warm or at room temperature. Cut into 9 pieces. Top each with sour cream or yogurt, if desired.

If making in advance, do not garnish. Wrap airtight in baking dish. Refrigerate for up to 3 days or freeze for up to a month. Before serving, allow to come to room temperature. Cover baking dish with foil. Reheat in preheated 350-degree oven until heated through (about 20 minutes). If desired, remove foil once warm for a few minutes to crisp top.

Notes: Choose smooth jams, preserves or fruit spreads. Use at room temperature. Taste apricot jam before using. If very tart, stir in ½ tsp. sugar, or more, until satisfactorily sweet. If desired, plum jam can be replaced by lekvar, the classic prune filling for hamantaschen. Use homemade or canned (available in many supermarkets in the baking and/or kosher section).

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 faithkramer.com. Contact her at [email protected].