Almost everyone has a great family story about their noodle kugel recipe. And while the recipes may seem similar, it is those different nuances that give them all an individual look and taste. Like tiny kugel snowflakes, no two are quite the same.
As food preparation using convenience ingredients became popular in the late 50′s on, the older heirloom recipes vanished. Sure, the newer recipes were made in their image, but the ingredients suffered from mass production anemia.
Thankfully, the road back to artisanal hand-crafted food is as popular today as it was a hundred years ago and we have choices. Make your grandmothers proud.
It is worth the effort to make each homemade ingredient for this gluten-free kugel. Your reward will be a rich over-the-top pudding. Begin a few days early so that you can be kind to your last nerve because there are several steps to this kugel. It is especially important to make the cheeses in advance and to give those raisins (or apples) time to get quite tipsy. A timeline might look like this:
- two days in advance make the ricotta and crème fraîche (make double recipes of both from here)
- one day in advance, soak the raisins in a rum bath
- kugel making day, make the gluten-free pasta dough in the morning
- kugel making day – cook pasta, whisk together the filling and bake
- if you plan to serve the kugel the next day – partially bake and finish heating it up later before serving
Short on time? While I encourage you to make the ingredients yourself, there is nothing wrong with buying both ricotta and crème fraîche, along with gluten-free noodles to save time and effort. But because they make up the majority of the flavor for the dish buy the best you can afford – it makes a difference. Hate raisins? Leave them out and give that tipsy drink of rum to the apples. They won’t mind.
Guess what’s for dinner – eventually?
|Tipsy Ricotta Apple Noodle Kugel||
- 9 oz. gluten-free flour – use your favorite flours or GF mix (I used this: 6 oz. superfine brown and 3 oz. superfine white rice flours) plus a few tablespoons of your favorite starch set aside for rolling the pasta dough
- pinch of kosher salt
- 6 oz. of eggs (around 3-4 large eggs)
- Add 1 tablespoon lemon zest
- Add 1 teaspoon olive oil
- Advil, optional
- 8.5 oz. GF homemade egg noodles
- 14 oz eggs (about 7 large eggs)
- 16 oz. ricotta
- 10 oz. crème fraîche
- 2 oz. unsalted butter melted (half stick)
- 6 oz. sugar ( ¾ cup)
- 2 large apples peeled and cubed and tossed with a sprinkle of lemon
- ¼ cup drunken raisins* (soaked in water and rum, mostly rum)
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon plus more for sprinkling on top
- Take the optional Advil now, unless you have great bicep strength!
- In a large bowl weigh flours. Add salt. Mix. Create a well in the center.
- Add all the eggs, lemon zest and oil into the well. Using a fork, draw in from the edges and mix well incorporating everything together until no dry flour or streaks of egg remain.
- Knead in the bowl for a few minutes to incorporate any stray ingredients. On the counter, knead for 10 minutes (and not a minute less!). It will be shiny and quite smooth when you are done. Wrap well in plastic wrap and leave on counter for at minimum 30 minutes and an hour is even better.
- Using plastic wrap (powdered with starch) on the bottom and top, roll out half the dough. Keep using starch to help keep it from sticking. Roll very very very very thin without tearing.
- Cut ½ inch ribbons and then cut into any length you wish for egg noodles. Let sit on a cooling rack to dry for a short time – they cook up better fresh than they do later on.
- Precook in boiling, salted water until just al dente – about 1 to 2 minutes. Strain out the liquid and proceed with the recipe. Best to have the kugel mixture ready to go so you can mix it with the noodles after they are drained.
- Preheat oven to 350. Butter a 9×9 or several small single-serving baking dishes. Set aside.
- Weigh eggs in large bowl and whisk to mix. Weigh ricotta and crème fraîche into same bowl and whisk together with eggs. Add butter, sugar and mix. Fold in cubed apples and drained tipsy raisins and the cinnamon (saving some for the top). Gently stir in noodles. Mixture will look like it needs more noodles. Don’t worry. The noodles do a good job of pretending to be a stay-puff marshmallow – they will swell up and absorb a lot of the liquid. Sprinkle remaining cinnamon on top.
- Bake at 350 for 30 minutes. Check and rotate. Bake about 15 minutes more or until a knife almost comes out cleanly. Don’t over-bake it if you are going to refrigerate it and reheat it later. Let cool to set and serve just barely warm. You can refrigerate and rewarm in a low oven (covered). Sprinkle more cinnamon on top immediately before serving.