Sunday, September 13, 2015

Honey Roasted Fig and Walnut Noodle Kugel

honey roasted FIG & WALNUT noodle kugel // a jewish fall casserole

It's been a bit over 6 months since my last post, so I figured that the new year would be a good excuse to try this out again.  I've completely forgotten all my HTML coding tricks, and haven't touched a real camera or edited photos in forever, but copying and pasting should do for now.

Lucky for me I have a long weekend off work for Rosh Hashanah, so with a bit of extra time on my hands I tried out another new spin on sweet noodle kugel.  Check out previous years' Pumpkin Spice Noodle Kugel or Apple Spice Noodle Kugel if you want some other fun twists.  Since my Aunt Bean's original noodle kugel recipe is very sweet and cheesy, adding honey-roasted figs and walnuts seemed like a pretty fitting way to add a new twist for 5776.  Of course, goat cheese is a classic fig/walnut/honey combination, but the dish is simply rich enough already with two cheeses and egg custard.  But go ahead and give it a whirl if you love goat cheese.

As with previous years, I'll warn you once again that the base recipe (everything minus the figs & walnuts) of this kugel is already pretty non-traditional.  It's very sweet and cheesy, and could easily be mistaken for a dessert casserole.  Of course, the point is to ring in a sweet new year.  Basically, it will ruin all other kugels you may be more accustomed to since it is so amazing.

The last 6 months have been busy ones, but I'll spare you all the stories about summer travels and new school years for some later posts (hopefully).  I'm looking forward to trying and sharing lots of Colombian dishes!  

Main Ingredients:
(makes a 3 qt, or 9.25x13.25" glass baking dish)
  • 1 lb. extra wide egg noodles
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • pinch of allspice
  • pinch of ground cloves
  • 1/2 lb. butter, melted
  • 1 cup milk
  • 8 oz. cream cheese
  • 1 lb. sliced American cheese

Honey Roasted Figs & Walnuts:
  • 20 ripe fresh whole purple figs
  • 1.5 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/2-3/4 cup chopped walnuts
  • 4 tbsp. honey
  • 2 tbsp. butter

Graham Cracker Topping:
  • 2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 4 tbsp. butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/8 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. vanilla
  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil & cook the egg noodles until al dente.  When done, drain well and set aside to cool a bit.
  2. While the noodles cook, trim the stems off the figs, toss in olive oil with walnuts, and place on a lined baking sheet.  Arrange stem side up, cut a cross in each nearly to the bottom, drizzle with honey, and top each with a small piece of butter.  Bake at 425 degrees for 15-20 minutes until they fully open and the walnuts are caramelized.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, sour cream, granulated sugar, vanilla, and spices together until smooth.  Then whisk in the melted butter and milk to finish the custard filling.  When the noodles are cool enough to add without cooking the egg, do so, and set aside.   
  4. In a smaller bowl, mix the graham cracker topping ingredients together with a fork to form a loose meal.
  5. Butter the surface of your baking dish and turn the heat in the oven down to 350 degrees.
  6. Layer the kugel in the following order: half the noodle/custard mixture, evenly spaced dots of cream cheese, half the figs & walnuts, a layer of American cheese, and 1/3 of the graham cracker topping.  Repeat for a second layer using the remaining noodles, cream cheese, figs & walnuts, American cheese, and a thick layer of graham cracker topping.  Press to fit it all in there nice and compact.
  7. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 35-45 minutes, or until crust is golden brown and cracking.
  8. When done, cool completely to set the custard (even better if you can refrigerate it overnight).  Reheat in the oven just prior to serving.  

For the visual learners:

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