Growing up on the Lower East Side, I spent every Sunday at my grandmother's house. My memories of these days include very specific events but no connecting themes.
My sister and I would play Spit in front of a very large piece of furniture, which was her television set, watching Abbot & Costello reruns. There was plastic on all of the ornately decorated couches and chairs and it was dark, curtains perennially drawn. Other than that I remember only the food. We were always given a handful of hard sucking candies to enjoy with our show. In addition we were treated with apple pie, sponge cake, and noodle kugel.
I've been meaning to duplicate these recipes, but alas, they stayed with my grandma to the grave. I have a cousin who found a recipe she thinks is the one my grandma used for her sponge cake, but nothing is for certain, and that one is so labor intensive that I fear it will remain on my bucket list for eternity.
At this time of year when people cart out their traditions, I thought I'd make an attempt at making at least one of her dishes. And of course, in all matters of culinary tradition, I referred to Deb at Smitten Kitchen. I've changed it up a bit making it lighter, since I remember noodle kugel being a light, subtly sweet, eggy dish and I didn't feel like buying the proper egg noodles for it (yes I am that lazy).
Despite all my deviations this dish seems pretty close the real deal. My memory sensors are saying so, in any case.
Not My Grandma's Noodle Kugel
Makes 8x8 pan of kugel, adapted from Smitten Kitchen's My Family's Noodle Kugel
- 3/4 pound fusilli noodles (traditional requires egg noodles)
- 4 eggs
- 3/4 cups sugar
- 3/4 pounds ricotta cheese
- 1/2 stick melted unsalted butter
- 1 teaspoons vanilla
- Dash of salt
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Parboil the noodles (five to seven minutes).
- In a very large bowl beat eggs until fluffy. Add the sugar gradually, then the ricotta cheese, butter and vanilla. Stir in the drained noodles.
- Pour into a 8x8-inch pan. Bake for 1/2 hour, or until kugel is set.