Rum & Raisin Cranberry Kugelby Tori Avey December 4, 2017
“Lokshen” is the Yiddish word for noodle; a “lokshen kugel” is a kugel made from noodles. The three main components of a kugel are eggs, fat and starch. Lokshen kugel always includes some type of noodle, usually egg noodles. Beyond that, there seem to be endless variations on the lokshen kugel theme. They can be made savory or sweet, topped or untopped, dairy or parve, and mixed with dried fruit, nuts or seasonings. Sweet dairy lokshen kugels tend to be the most popular in the U.S.— and for good reason! They are easy and affordable to throw together with just a few ingredients. Kugels are filling and comforting, and they go with a variety of entree dishes. They can easily be transported, making kugel a good choice for parties and family get-togethers. Most importantly, a well-made kugel is very, very tasty.
Last year, when the holidays came around, I wanted to create a grown-up kugel with seasonal flavors. This Rum Raisin Cranberry version fits the bill perfectly. A
blog reader named Nancy is responsible for the rum idea. She wrote that she often plumps her raisins in
rum before adding them to her kugel, and I was instantly inspired. Nancy soaks her raisin in rum overnight, but I am a bit too impatient for that, so I simmered both raisins and dried cranberries in hot rum on the stovetop. The alcohol cooks out and leaves behind a lovely rum essence, giving this kugel a rich flavor and a wonderful seasonal quality. I added brown sugar, autumn spices and chopped walnuts to “warm up” the flavor. It turned out scrumptious, perfect for a holiday celebration!
This kugel would be great for Hanukkah or as an addition to a holiday potluck. It’s definitely got an autumn/winter holiday vibe. I love kugels for holiday celebrations because they are so easy to make, easy to transport, and always a big crowd pleaser. Of course, you can always treat yourself and make this kugel just because!
3/4 cup raisins
3/4 cup dried sweetened cranberries
1 1/4 cup dark rum
12 oz. wide egg noodles
6 large eggs
2 cups sour cream
1 cup ricotta
1 cup cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. cinnamon1/4 tsp. cloves
1/4 tsp. allspice
1/4 tsp. salt
3/4 cups chopped walnuts (optional- leave out for nut allergies)
Nonstick cooking oil spray
Cinnamon and sugar for dusting, or the topping of your choice
You will also need: Food processor or blender, 9×13 baking dish
Total Time: 90 minutes
Kosher Key: Dairy
Place a rack in the middle of your oven and preheat to 350 degrees F. On the stovetop, place the raisins and cranberries in a small pot and cover with rum. Simmer the mixture over medium-low heat for about 20 minutes until the fruit has plumped and all of the liquid is absorbed. Keep an eye on it to make sure it doesn’t burn. Remove from heat and reserve.
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil. Add the noodles to the pot, bring back to a boil, and let the noodles cook till tender (not overly soft) for about 5 minutes. Drain, rinse briefly with cold water, and return to pot.
In a food processor or blender mix together the eggs, sour cream, ricotta, cream cheese, sugar, brown sugar, melted butter, vanilla, spices and salt.
Pour the blended egg mixture over the cooked noodles in the pot and stir. Add the rum raisins, cranberries, and walnuts, and stir into the noodles until well combined.
Spray a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Pour the noodle mixture into the dish. Top the kugel by sprinkling generously with sugar and lightly with cinnamon. Alternatively, use your favorite kugel topping (streusel, crushed graham crackers, cornflakes, etc.). I like this kugel with a graham cracker topping, but many prefer the crunchy texture that forms when the noodles bake and brown on top. Either way works!
Bake about 60 minutes, turning once halfway through, until the center is set and the tips of the noodles turn golden brown. Remove from the oven. Let rest for 15-20 minutes before slicing. For a cleaner slice, let the kugel cool to room temperature before cutting.
Serve warm or cold. If not serving the same day, keep refrigerated. Note: to reduce fat you can use low-fat dairy, but do not sub nonfat dairy. The flavor will suffer. I prefer full fat ingredients, which have less fillers in them– plus they taste better!