Friday, April 1, 2011

Aunt Ruth's Sweet Noodle Pudding (Apple Kugel)

You'll hear cries of joy, any way you slice it.
The last time I made my Aunt Ruth’s sweet noodle pudding was for my nephew William’s bris. Today is his 22nd birthday, and this year he graduates from college with a degree in architecture. My, how time flies without foreskin.

Some people might call this apple kugel, but my Aunt Ruth called it noodle pudding. I call it Jewish noodle nirvana. A lot of kugel recipes have sour cream, cottage cheese or cream cheese, but this one doesn't have anything that makes it cloyingly rich. Aunt Ruth has been gone over 25 years, and I still have her original handwritten recipe in pencil on a little piece of frayed note paper. I was afraid it might not live up to my memory since my palate, like William, has come a long way in 22 years. But the minute my lips kissed those warm noodles canoodling the sweet, cinnamon-laced apples, tender raisins and toasty walnuts, my taste buds got all vaklempt. One bite was an instant family reunion. That pudding was exactly the way I remembered it.

We always ate the noodle pudding for dessert and had the leftovers for breakfast either hot or cold, but some people serve it as a side dish. It freezes well too, so you can pre-slice it and have it on hand at a moment's notice—because you never know when you'll need to bring a nosh to a circumcision. My dad used to love to tell the story of how after William's bris, the mohel stood at the refreshment table drinking a can of Slice. And to this day, William likes to say, "I hope you washed the knife before you cut the kugel." Any way you slice this noodle pudding, you’ll hear cries of joy. Happy birthday, William!

Recipe (Adapted from Ruth Slavin)

1 lb package broad noodles

4 oz (1 stick) salted butter *

½ of a 15 oz. box of raisins (I mixed some golden ones in)

¾ cup brown sugar

1 tsp cinnamon

3 medium Red Delicious apples, peeled and diced

1 cup walnut pieces

2 capfuls of almond extract (from 1.7 oz. bottle)

4 eggs

2 cups whole milk

Boil and strain noodles (make sure not to overcook). Place in a large mixing bowl with a stick of butter. Let melt and mix. Add raisins, brown sugar, cinnamon, diced apples, nuts and almond extract and mix.

In a separate bowl, beat eggs. Then pour into noodle mixture and mix well. Pour noodle mixture into a buttered 9x13 pan.

Pour the milk over the entire pudding, cover with foil, and place in the refrigerator for about four hours.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Bake for at least one hour or a little longer, but don’t let it dry out. Let cool slightly and serve warm, cut in squares (it's easier to cut it in squares when it's cold).

* When you use salted butter, the recipe doesn't need additional salt.

Serves about 12

Related Links:

The Bubbie Brigade and the Circle of Life

When Your Memory Serves You Incorrectly


  1. Your writing is the cream on the kugel so to speak! Enjoyed this Auntie Ruth specialty and would love now to know more about this woman. Next post, maybe?

  2. lol. . Such a great post. Fabulous The recipe as well.

  3. I loved my Grandmother's Kugel...haven't made it in years..

    Thanks for the inspiration!

  4. Bold and witty. Great post as usual. Hope all is wonderful your way.

  5. I never thought I'd read a recipe where the phrase "how time flies without foreskin" would be used!

  6. Hahaha-- how time flies without foreskin!! You had me laughing hysterically (still smiling)... Even though I grew up always eating at my Jewish friends' homes, I've never had kugel-- I think that needs to change soon!

  7. I believe I have had this Jewish nirvana straight from your lovely hands... yes? GREG

  8. thanks for the giggle twice... i love the comment you made on my blog and your writing always makes me smile. just as i was asking isn't this kugel, you said it!

  9. It's so sweet when a great recipe is rooted in family history. Glad the kugel lived up to your memories of it :)

  10. hi Adair,I`m a Mexican Jew but my mother came from Lithuania and I use to eat a lot of sweets, the Kugel I make it is without milk and it has a lot of dried mixed fruits that I cook for one min. before mixing them with the eggs, sugar, cinnamon, lime juice and i mix butter with corn oil, instead of 4 eggs i put 6 eggs and no almond extract, almost everything the same as yours. Give a taste !!!
    If you would like the recipe, it has no measurements it is home made antique way.

  11. Hi Zarkin! Your way sounds interesting. My grandmother was from Lithuania. Do you live in Mexico?

  12. Did the mohel travel with his own cans of SLICE?