For the first 20 years of my life, there was only one sort of lokshen kugel (noodle pudding) and this was it. My Mum made the best version of it, naturally, and we enjoyed it pretty often as part of our Shabbat meals. Because these meals were invariably meaty, the kugel in question was always parev – that is, made with neither meat nor milk ingredients, so it can be eaten with both.
So imagine my astonishment when at the age of 21 I discovered that there IS another sort of lokshen kugel! And it’s not parev! This gorgeous, sweet, custardy, noodly pudding was served up by the flatmate of a friend, while I was living in Jerusalem. According to what’s written in my recipe notebook (every 21-year old has a recipe notebook, no?) the original recipe is from “Jessica’s Aunt Ruthie” – whoever she might be…
Anyway, 20 years of indoctrination means that as delicious as this sweet cheese lokshen kugel is, I tend still to favour the other, parve kind. This one is saved for special occasions, most notably Shavuot, when sweet, cheesy, dairy, custardy puddings are pretty much compulsory. This is, in my opinion, much easier to make than a cheesecake, but dangerously also lighter and more easily devourable. 1 slice of cheesecake is pretty much my limit, but I could happily polish off this entire kugel in a sitting. Uh-oh.
This kugel recipe does vary quite considerably from the one Jessica’s Aunt Ruthie provided. I’ve increased the ratio of noodles to custard (although I think it could still stand a few more noodles, to be honest), subbed yogurt for soured cream, and added flavouring in the shape of vanilla and nutmeg. The original recipe also called for raisins or sultanas, but I’ve gone with blueberries, which explode into juicy mouthfuls of sweet-tart yumminess that perfectly complement the cheesy custard.
The other big change I made was to scale down by a factor of 3! This still makes enough for 4-6 servings. If you need kugel for a crowd, feel free to multiply back up.
You can serve the blueberry & sweet cheese lokshen kugel warm or at room temperature, but don’t be tempted to serve it straight from the oven – the custard needs a little time to firm up fully once it comes out.
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- 75g wide noodles such as tagliatelle
- 1 tsp butter (to grease the baking dish)
- 75g cottage cheese
- 75ml natural yogurt
- 125ml milk
- 20g golden caster sugar
- 1 egg
- 2-3 drops vanilla
- 50g blueberries
- Fresh nutmeg (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 180C.
- Cook the noodles in boiling water according to the instructions on the packet - mine took 8 minutes.
- Grease a 25cm diameter baking dish with butter and set aside.
- Whisk together the cottage cheese, yogurt, milk, sugar, egg and vanilla.
- When the noodles are cooked, drain well and rinse in cold water to prevent them sticking together. Shake off as much water as possible, pat dry with kitchen towels, then stir into the cheese mixture with the blueberries.
- Pour into the prepared dish, and grate a little fresh nutmeg on the top if desired.
- Bake at 180C for around 40 minutes, until the custard is set and the top is browning.
- Remove from the oven and allow to stand for at least 10 minutes before serving. Serve warm or cold.