This kugel is the follow-up post to the Honey Cake from yesterday, the two recipes that I contributed to our little Rosh Hashanah dinner celebration (non-Jewish folk that we are). The first time I had ever seen or heard of noodle kugel was while watching an episode of Barefoot Contessa. I don’t remember what else Ina made in that episode, but the kugel definitely struck me. There were noodles, but they were baked in a creamy mixture casserole-style and it was kind of sweet. I honestly didn’t know what to make of it. I was intrigued, but not sure that I would actually like it. I tucked it away inside the foodie portion of my brain for another time. Well, after seeing noodle kugel on a sample Rosh Hashanah menu, I knew I definitely wanted to give it a try after remembering that episode. I am SO glad I did because this one insanely fabulous dish.
I envisioned that this might be a bit like a bread pudding, but it’s even better than that, believe it or not. While assembling it and mixing together the cottage cheese, cream cheese, sour cream, vanilla and eggs, it dawned on me that the mixture was suspiciously similar to a cheesecake batter. I think this is basically a cross between a sweetened baked macaroni and cheese (but firmer, not gooey) and a noodle-laced cheesecake. So in summary, one of the most delicious things I’ve come across in a long, long time.
We originally ate it at room temperature with our dinner, and then busted out some chilled pieces from the refrigerator the next day, and… bam! Dessert! Very, very similar to cheesecake. With noodles ;-) The buttery brown sugar and walnut topping is to-die-for. I might even double it next time so it covers most of the top.
I thoroughly enjoyed trying new and different ethnic foods while getting a taste of Rosh Hashana this week. Love exploring new tastes!
For the Topping: Mash the butter, sugar, walnuts, and cinnamon together in a small bowl, using a rubber spatula; set aside.
For the Filling: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9x13-inch baking dish (or shallow casserole dish of similar size) with 1 tablespoon of the butter; set aside.
Bring 4 quarts of water to a boil in a large pot. Add 1 tablespoon salt and the noodles. Cook until almost tender but still a little firm to the bite, about 6 minutes. Drain the noodles, transfer them to a large bowl, and toss with the remaining 2 tablespoons butter. Allow the noodles to cool, tossing them occasionally.
Meanwhile, combine the sour cream, cottage cheese, and cream cheese in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat on medium speed until smooth, about 1 minute. Add the eggs and yolks, sugar and vanilla; continue to beat until combined, stopping the mixer and scraping down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula, as needed.
Add the cream cheese mixture and raisins to the cooled noodles; toss to combine. Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking dish. Dot the walnut topping evenly over the noodles.
Bake until the noodles on the surface are golden and crispy, 40 to 45 minutes. Allow the kugel to cool for 5 minutes. Serve hot or warm, at room temperature, or refrigerate and serve cold.