How to make the iconic Ashkenazi kugel from Jerusalem.
This sweet and spicy Israeli kugel is said to have arrived in Israel’s capital in the 1700s with the followers of the Jewish sage the Vilna Gaon, who encouraged Jews to resettle in Israel. (Thanks to the Vilna Gaon’s influence, Jerusalem soon became a majority-Jewish city again, for the first time since the Roman destruction.) Traditional versions call for Jerusalem Kugel to be cooked overnight, along with the Shabbat stew; this wonderful recipe gives you the option of baking it for only one hour only, if you prefer, instead.
Prep time: 30 minutes
Cook time: 1 hour
- 6 cups water
- 2 ½ teaspoons salt
- 12 ounces capellini or other thin spaghetti
- ½ t freshly ground black pepper
- 3 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 1 cup sugar, divided
- ⅓ cup vegetable oil
- Preheat oven to 250°F. Bring 6 cups water to boil, add ½ teaspoon salt, and cook the noodles for about 5 minutes, or according to package directions, until al dente. Drain, rinse in cold water, and place in a bowl. Add the pepper, remaining salt, eggs, and ⅔ cup of sugar. Mix well.
- Heat the oil in a small saucepan and add the remaining ⅓ cup of sugar. Stirring constantly, cook over medium heat, until the sugar melts and starts to turn brown. (Keep an eye on this, for once it begins to caramelize, it darkens quickly) Pour the caramelized sugar over the pasta, mixing well. Grease a Bundt pan with vegetable oil and pour the noodle mixture in. Cover with tin foil and bake overnight. Alternately: bake kugel in a 350°F oven for one hour, uncovered.
For an old Sephardic Jerusalem variation, add to the cooked pasta the following ingredients: ⅔ cup of plumped raisins (soak them in hot water for 15 minutes to plump them), 3 chopped and sauteed onions, 3 tablespoons light brown sugar, 1 clove crushed garlic, ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon, ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg, ⅛ teaspoon ground allspice, ⅛ teaspoon ground cloves, and 1 teaspoon salt. Proceed as above.
Adapted from The Foods of Israel Today by Joan Nathan, Alfred A. Knopf, 2001