For the Love of All Things Dairy (Kugel!)

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I have been wracking my brain, trying to invent a reason to share my Ultimate Dairy Kugel recipe with you, and this week I actually have a pretty good one.  It is Shavuot, a Jewish holiday that is lesser known to some people(we have a lot of those).  I don’t really understand why we don’t talk more about it, because it definitely tops my list of favorite holidays due to the custom of consuming delicious dairy-laden foods such as Blintzes, cheesecakes, and such. The holiday actually commemorates the giving of the Torah at Mt. Sinai and the counting of weeks from Passover until that event. Shavuot means “Weeks”, and there are some interesting ideas about why we eat dairy, but let’s just say it is “Tradition, tradition!” And sing it in your loudest ‘Fiddler on the Roof’ voice while baking my favorite food in the world.

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enjoy the ultimate dairy kugel

Seriously, this would be a side dish to my last meal on Earth if possible. It is kind of like an upside down cheesecake but with buttered noodles in it. There are non-dairy versions, savory versions, matzah versions for Passover, but none hold a candle to the dairy kind (in my humble opinion). This is the best one I have ever made. I have tweaked a few other recipes to create this one. It is very forgiving- you can take out the raisins, you can take out the pineapple, you can do a cornflake crust on top if you wish, but please don’t go fat free dairy on me! It is a special treat, especially cold for breakfast the next day! Enjoy.

Lauren’s Shavuot Ultimate Dairy Kugel

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

First, boil the noodles according to the package directions. Drain and coat with 1/2 stick of butter.  Pour it all into a 9×13 inch baking dish.

Butter Noodles
Buttery noodle goodness

This is optional, but I like to soak my raisins a bit in hot liquid (water, rum, bourbon, or in this case I used the pineapple juice that I drained from the crushed pineapple).

Next, in a blender, combine the cottage cheese and the cream cheese (room temperature, please). If you have a vitamix or a large blender, feel free to add the sour cream, eggs, sugar, and vanilla. If you have a small blender, add the rest by hand, whisking or blending to get a smooth texture.

Ultimate Dairy Kugel mixture in a blender
This is the whole shebang in my Vitamix- best invention ever!

Then mix the drained pineapple, drained soaked raisins, and the cream cheese mixture into the noodles, straight into the pan. Stir everything around gently to evenly distribute the good stuff.

ultimate dairy kugel before cooking
Almost there, baby!

To make the crumb topping, just mix the graham cracker crumbs, sugar, cinnamon, and melted butter until it resembles sand.

ultimate dairy kugel topping

Then, just sprinkle the goodness on top of the kugel.  This is a large amount of crumb topping, because I like it that way.  You can cut the amount in half if you wish.

ultimate dairy kugel before the oven

Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes, then lower the temperature to 325 degrees and bake for an additional 35-45 minutes or until golden brown on top and firm to the touch.

ultimate dairy kugel all cooked

Let cool for at least 30 minutes. I love this slightly warm, at room temperature or cold in the morning for breakfast- Don’t judge.

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