Whenever I describe my husband's Jewishness (or lack thereof) I say that he's Jewish, but the wrong half. This is incorrect, of course, because you're either in or you're out - based on your mother. My mother-in-law is not Jewish (well, actually, she is in the same 'wrong-half' way, as her father was Jewish) but my father-in-law is. This means that there is a long history of Jewish culture in the family, but no Jewish mothers with sacred recipes. Too bad, but at least Smitten Kitchen features an array of Jewish food. Celebrating the New Year with my great-uncle-in-law inspired me to figure something out so I cooked up a proper feast for Rosh Hashanah, I think.
There was challah, zucchini latkes, two kugels and an apple cake (and a chicken - not of my doing). Having no real experiences to go off of, I'd say it featured some traditional dishes but I have no idea how they compare amongst many other versions. It was mostly Smitten Kitchen recipes, since I trust her and I don't think she's trying to trick me. ahem.
So here's the most interesting part of it all - sweet noodle kugel (which my autocorrect seems to want to change to bugle). Really, I think this is a brunch food. It's super sweet and soufflé-like but it has freaking noodles in it. Still, it's almost like eating cake. I can't explain it, as it confuses me, but I keep eating it just to see if I can figure it out. I can't, but that's alright.
I replaced the cottage cheese with ricotta (based on availability) and I subbed-in some casan crem (sour cream). My recipe is also for half a batch - which was plenty because everyone else at dinner was just as confused as I was and ate small pieces of this sweet casserole. I added membrillo because our uncle remembered long ago eating a kugel his mother would make with layers of membrillo. I had no idea how to do that, so I swirled in some jam.
Sweet Noodle Kugel with Membrillo Jam
adapted from Smitten Kitchen
- 225 grams (1/2 pound) wide egg noodles
- 4 eggs
- 3/4 cup sugar (I would probably reduce this by a Tablespoon or 2)
- 300 grams ricotta cheese
- 150 grams sour cream
- 85 grams (or 1 stick) butter, melted
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- dash of salt
- 1/4 cup membrillo jam
Cook the noodles al dente, drain. In a large bowl, beat eggs until fluffy. Gradually add sugar, then the ricotta cheese, sour cream, butter, vanilla and salt. Stir in the drained noodles. Drop blobs of jam into the mixture and swirl with a knife. Pour into a greased 9x9 pan and bake at 350F/180C until kugel is set - mine took about 50 minutes but my oven runs hot.