My tried-and-tested family recipe for a delicious traditional lokshen pudding – sweet, spicy, studded with dried fruits, and with a wonderful apple filling.
Lokshen pudding, also known as lokshen kugel, is an extremely traditional Ashkenazi Jewish food. It appeared on my family’s Shabbat table almost every week when I was a child. It’s a sweet dessert made with noodles – lokshen in Yiddish – and it can also contain dried fruit, spice, and even a creamy custard in its dairy incarnation.
Childhood memories – lokshen pudding
Almost every Friday of my childhood I would watch my Mum as she made lokshen pudding. Melting the margarine, mixing in the sugar, fruit and egg, then measuring out some cooked lokshen from a batch which was destined both for the kugel, and for the chicken soup.
Mum would carefully spread half the lokshen pudding mixture into the dish, add a layer of stewed apple, then spoon the rest of the lokshen on the top.
Into the oven it went, and ready in time for Friday night dinner. If we were lucky we’d be allowed to have a scoop on the plate with our main course!
From generation to generation…
A while ago I decided to treat my daughter Kipper to the delights of a lokshen pudding, so I phoned my Mum for advice.
I just want to make a small one, just one egg, how much lokshen should I use? I asked.
“Oh, I don’t know,” said Mum. “Maybe 2 or 3 ounces?”
Er, OK. How much sugar?
“A couple of ounces? I’m really not sure,” said Mum.
We carried on like this until she finally said, “You know I just use the lokshen pudding recipe from Evelyn Rose, don’t you…?”
All my life I’d never seen her refer to a recipe for lokshen pudding! She measured and mixed, week in, week out, TO HER OWN SPECIAL RECIPE! Learning that it had come out of a book, albeit one I treasure myself, was DEVASTATING.
“The fruit in the middle though, that’s me,” said Mum. “I don’t know anyone else who does that.”
Which was, I suppose, some consolation.
Lokshen pudding – tried and trusted
So, I duly pulled my trusty Evelyn Rose from the bookshelf and looked up the lokshen kugel recipe. There it was. I didn’t make it exactly like she says, and I suspect my Mum didn’t really follow the recipe too closely either.
I used less sugar, more dried fruit, more spice, and my Mum’s layer of delicious apple in the middle. The lokshen pudding turned out just as I remembered!
Classic lokshen pudding – ingredients
One of the great things about lokshen pudding is the simplicity of its ingredients. To make a crispy-topped, golden, fruity and spicy lokshen pud yourself, all you will need is:
- Lokshen – obviously! I like to use fine noodles (angel hair or vermicelli) but you could use broad ones (tagliatelle) if you prefer.
- Margarine – I suppose technically you could use butter, but I’ve never ever made this dairy. Growing up it was always served with/after meat and old habits die hard.
- Sugar – use more or less, depending on how sweet you prefer your kugel.
- Dried fruit – I use a mixture of raisins, sultanas (golden raisins) and dried cranberries but you can use any of these alone or in combination. Chopped dates, chopped dried apricots, and even the occasional halved or quartered glace cherry is good too.
- Mixed spice – this is a sweet spice blend that’s popular in the UK, and is similar to pumpkin pie spice or apple pie spice. You can use whichever sweet spice blend you like.
- Bramley apples – or other cooking apples. You want apples that will ‘fall’ into puree when cooked, and not retain their shape. You could also use readymade stewed apple or apple sauce instead.
Memories of lokshen pudding – 2021
Tragically, my Mum passed away in Spring 2021 from covid-19. However recipes like this one helps to keep her wonderful memory alive.
I hope you’ll find this delicious lokshen pudding as comforting as I do. And I hope you’ll be inspired to capture your own classic family recipes and appreciate them!
Makes one parve lokshen kugel. Serves 4.
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Classic lokshen pudding with apple
- 500 g bramley apples (approx 2 apples)
- 130 g fine lokshen or vermicelli noodles
- 25 g margarine
- 50 g caster sugar
- 50 g dried fruit – I used a mix of raisins, sultanas & dried cranberries
- ¼-½ teaspoon mixed spice (apple pie spice or pumpkin pie spice in the USA)
- 1 egg
- Peel and core the apples. Cut into pieces and place in a microwavable bowl. Cover and cook on high for 4-5 minutes until they have ‘fallen’ into mush. (Alternatively, cook in a saucepan on the stove.)
- Cook the lokshen in boiling water according to the packet directions. Drain well.
- Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F).Melt the margarine and allow to cool slightly (I usually put the bowl in the oven as it warms up).
- Mix in the sugar, dried fruit and spice. Add the egg and mix well, then mix in the lokshen and stir to thoroughly combine.
- Put half the lokshen mixture in the bottom of a baking dish and spread it out. Spoon the apples on top and spread into an even layer. Finally, add the remaining lokshen and cover the apple layer.
- Bake at 180°C (350°F) for 45minutes or until cooked through and golden on top. Allow to cool slightly before serving.
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