What Is Kugel?
Kugel is an endlessly versatile dish. It can be sweet or savory and can be served for breakfast, lunch, dinner, dessert, or even a between-meal snack.
This particular version of kugel is a custard-like cake whose components are oil, noodles, eggs, and sugar. It is a brilliantly simple and easily made dessert, which may also be served as a side dish or light lunch. Its applications and variations are limited only by your imagination. It's simple enough to be made regularly for your family... but you can dress it up for a fancier occasion as well!
If you keep chickens, it is a great Easter or springtime recipe, as it uses eggs in quantity. It is a joyful-looking dish, full of sunshine and even a bit of whimsy.
Unfortunately, this recipe is not one for busy days. It does not come together in 20 minutes and it doesn't leave much time while cooking for major chores or difficult homework. But it is easy to make, and once it's in the oven, it leaves ample time to go on about your life or attend to duties.
I have a family of four, including picky eaters with dietary restrictions. Still, this recipe makes a cake that rounds out our meals and provides snacks over the course of several days—so it is definitely worth the time. Enjoy!
|Prep time||Cook time||Ready in||Yields|
1 hour 15 min
2 hours 5 min
Makes 12 medium-small wedges of "cake"
- 1/2 cup light-flavored cooking oil (e.g., avocado or coconut, although regular vegetable oil is ok, too)
- 1 1/2 cups sugar, granulated, or your choice of sweetener
- 5 cups drinking water
- 2 teaspoons salt, your choice of variety
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 pound noodles (vermicelli, angel hair, or spaghetti preferred)
- 5 medium-sized eggs, lightly beaten
- In a heavy, 4-quart pan or dutch oven, combine 1/2 cup of oil and 1/2 cup of sugar. Stir constantly over medium heat until sugar begins to melt, and takes on a clumpy, shaggy appearance. Cook 5-8 minutes more until sugar smooths and is fully melted. (Caramel and oil cannot mix.) Remove from heat and cool until caramel hardens in the pan.
- Add about 5 cups of water to the caramel-and-oil mixture in the pan. Bring to a full boil. Add the remaining 3/4 cup of sugar, salt, and pepper. Return to boiling, stirring to dissolve all sugar. Add noodles and cook, uncovered, for about 10 minutes, until almost all water is absorbed and evaporated. Remove from heat.
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Beat 5 eggs just until blended. Add a few hot noodles from the pan to the eggs, stirring to warm slightly. Slowly pour eggs into remaining noodles, stirring to coat. Pour into a 9- to 10-inch round baking pan or springform pan (grease if it is not nonstick). Smooth or arrange the top so it is pleasing, and will bake evenly. (If you want to go all-out, arrange a few noodles at a time in a swirl or "hummingbird nests" pattern. But don't allow them to stick up too much, as they will get too brown before the center of the cake is quite done.)
- Bake at 350°F for 50 to 60 minutes or until golden (cake will form a crust as it bakes). Cool slightly, then top with cilantro, parsley, or your choice of garnishes. Serve either warm or cool, for dessert or with additions, as an easy lunch or supper.
Never add water to hot oil, or it may splatter and cause a huge and instant grease fire. Always cool oil before adding water.
Garnishes, Toppings, and Additions
Peppers or chilies
© 2019 Joilene Rasmussen