Tempting Tuesday: Noodle Kugel

Warm, creamy, sweet noodle kugel is the stuff of dreams. With all the fuss about macaroni and cheese nowadays, noodles are becoming chic again. I’ll take kugel though, any day, any way, anyhow.  Cinnamon, butter, sugar – what’s not to love?

Usually kugel is baked either in a deep casserole baking dish or a standard 9×13 baking pan. The deeper dish makes the custard in which the noodles are put to bed, makes it creamier. This recipe is the result of a most happy accident. My grandma Ninny, of which I have previously written, was putting together baked dishes for a huge family get-together. She mixed up the kugel and realized…oops. The suitable baking dishes are taken. But, the bundt pan was free and clear. She decided to add the brown sugar and pecans just to give it a little extra bling and by golly, history was made in the kitchen that day.

Hanukah and other holidays need kugel. So does Christmas, Thanksgiving, and the third Sunday in January or February – whenever you want the kitchen to be warm and filled with the aromas of vanilla, cinnamon, and butter. I have sometimes not unmolded this and just served it for people to scoop into with the serving spoon, surprising them with the pecans and praline-y crust. However you decide to serve, enjoy and please, try not to eat too much.

Praline Noodle Kugel
3/4 C (1-1/2 sticks) salted butter, melted and divided
3/4 C packed brown sugar
1 C pecans coarsely chopped
1 pound egg noodles
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 c. cream
1 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 C white sugar
½ c. golden raisins or craisins
2 tsp salt

Start a large pot of water boiling. Preheat oven to 350.
Pour half the melted butter into a 12 cup mold, tube pan, or bundt pan, and swirl around the bottom and up the sides. Mix brown sugar and pecans and press into the sides of the pan into the butter.
Cook the noodles in boiling water, al dente. Drain. In a large bowl, mix hot noodles with a few pats of butter. Mix the noodles with the eggs, the remaining melted butter, raisons, cinnamon, vanilla, white sugar and salt.
Gently spoon noodles into the prepared mold, taking care not to dislodge brown sugar and pecans. Bake at 350 for 1-1/4 hours or until top is brown. Let stand 15 minutes before unmolding. Top will be slightly hard, like a praline.
Serve warm, cold or at room temperature with a dollop of whipped cream.  NOTE: This can be baked in a regular baking dish or casserole. Butter dish and spoon in noodle mixture. Press brown sugar mixture on top of kugel and adjust baking times, until custard Is set, but still jiggely and creamy.  Makes 12 servings.

free clip art photo

free clip art photo

Purin – Japanese Dessert Custard


All around the world, there are variants of this recipe – flan, crème brulee’, leche flan, caramel crème…The Japanese version is softer ,  more delicate, less sweet.  It is a delicious end to a heavy meal or an excellent light dessert to serve with a cold plate, salady luncheon.  I like to chill and then unmold on a plate and serve with some fresh cut fruit to garnish – strawberries, blueberries, aspic cutter flowers of thin sliced melons, thin slices or half moons of kiwi….. 

If The Kentucky Bourbon Cake (see recipe under a previous post) is a luxurious and expensive call girl of a dessert, this dessert is a fairy princess.

 Ingredients and Instructions


2 cups whole milk

2/3 c. sugar

4 eggs

1 tsp. good vanilla extract

Butter (for greasing custard cups/molds) 


6 tbs sugar

2 tbs water + 1 tbs warm water 

Butter six custard cups/molds.  Heat 2 tbs. water in a sauce pan.  Add 6 tbs. of sugar and simmer until the sauce is browned (be careful not to let it burn!)  Carefully add 1 tbs. warm water to thin the sauce.  Pour sauce equally into the molds and carefully swirl around the bottom.  Put milk into a medium saucepan and heat to about 140 F.  Dissolve 2/3 cup sugar in the milk and add vanilla extract. Cut off the heat.  Lightly beat eggs in a bowl.  Gradually add warm milk to egg mixture, stirring so you don’t get sweet scrambled eggs.  Run the mixture through a strainer and scoop out some bubbles from the surface of the egg mixture.   Pour mixture over the sauce in the molds.  Please the pudding in a steamer and steam for about 15 – 20 minutes on low heat. Cut off the heat and let them cool.  Remove pudding from the molds and serve on plates.  If you don’t have a steamer, use bain marie method, covering the whole with foil.  ***Be careful lifting the foil or opening the steamer. 

custard 1 


Future Mother-in-Law-Charming Nanner Pudd’n

Those of you not from the South may shudder at the decadence and resplendent lushness of this recipe for banana pudding.  This recipe has been around since ole Danny Wayne was just wink in his daddy’s eye.  Meringue is  required  for this, as is homemade custard.  Don’t be afraid, add plenty of good quality vanilla extract. My mother-in-law swears this is better than the nanner pudd’n her mother-in-law made – Now THAT is a statement.  So y’all just pretend that when you put the spoon in this to serve, all the fat and calories go to heaven.  I fix this in a vintage 1940’s Pyrex dish that belonged to my grandmother.  Enjoy (don’t burn the custard!)  My mother-in-law eats this for three meals a day until it is gone – which is not very long.

Future Mother-in-Law-Charming Nanner Pudd’n 

  • 4 large eggs, separated
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar, divided to ½ and ¼ cups
  • 1/3 all purpose flor
  • Dash of salt
  • 3 cups whole milk or half and half (for a more decadent custard)
  • 1 box of vanilla wafers (don’t use the cheap ones flavored with artificial vanilla
  • 4 – 6 ripe bananas sliced (as many as you want. I use 6 nice ones)
  • ½ stick unsalted butter in slices
  • 1 whopping overflowing teaspoon of pure vanilla (don’t use the cheap or artificial stuff. Please invest in good vanilla. You’ll love yourself for doing it.)
  • Healthy pinch of cream of tartar

Separate the eggs and set aside the whites to come to room temperature for meringue (eggs separate better when cold).

In the top of a double boiler, whisk together 1/2 cup of the sugar with the flour, salt, and milk. Whisk in the yolks and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until thickened and mixture reaches 170 degrees. Remove from heat, stir in the vanilla and butter and set aside, to cool slightly.

In a 2 quart baking dish begin layering. Spoon a small amount of the custard on the bottom of your dish; add a layer of the wafers on top of the custard and also around the outside of bowl with the rounded tops facing out, if desired. Continue to layer wafers, bananas and custard for a total of 2 to 3 layers, ending with custard on top. Set aside.

Prepare meringue by whipping the egg whites with the cream of tartar.  Whip until foamy and add in the remaining 1/4 cup of sugar.  Whip until stiff peaks form and add to top of the pudding, spreading to the edges. Place into a preheated 350 degrees F oven for 15 to 20 minutes or until the peaks of the meringue brown. Remove and let sit for about at least 1 hour, or refrigerate for up to 4 hours before serving. Garnish with a sprinkling of crushed wafers just before serving, if desired.

Double for a potluck or larger baker. I like to double the custard portion of this recipe. Can also place meringue under a broiler with the door cracked until peaks brown but only for mere seconds – so keep an eye on it.

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