This decadent cream cheese-based kugel is dotted with jam and topped with crunchy, cinnamon-y cornflakes.
This kugel is way over the top, in the best way possible. It's ridiculously creamy-sweet with a crunchy top. Sweet kugels are completely out of my personal culinary lineage, but this one endeared itself immediately and has been summarily adopted. You might be tempted to ratchet down the cheese, or the butter, or the sugar, but just don't. As my grandma used to say (always with the caveat, "but it's better in Yiddish"): If you're going to eat pig, let the fat roll down your beard.
You can go your own way with the jam, but the cornflakes are mandatory here. They don't have to be Kellogg's brand with the rooster on the box; I usually use Trader Joe's organic. But crunchy cornflakes there must be.
Making the kugel
Kugel, true to its folksy nature, is easy to make. First, you boil the noodles. (easy). Then you'll beat the butter and cream cheese and eggs and sugar together, a bit of vanilla, since we're in the 21st century so why not. This sweet cheesiness will serve to bind together the noodles, forming a rich, custardy filling. Once everything is good and creamed, you'll fold in the noodles and smooth the mixture into a large baking pan (like a 9"x13" / 23x33 cm).
Next up: jam. You want to dot the jam periodically over the noodles in the baking dish. The larger purpose here is to create pockets of molten fruit to delight and surprise as it's bitten into.
And then: the mandatory cornflakes topping. I know, it's annoying to drag out the food processor to crush the cereal. But how will you ever marry the creaminess of the kugel to the crunchiness of the cornflakes if you don't get out the food processor? Okay? Okay. So, you want to crush the cereal so that it's coarsely crushed, with bigger bits still in it; you don't want a fine crumb here. After that, combine the crumbs with some more butter and sugar, for good measure, plus cinnamon, because cinnamon. Sprinkle on top of everything and bake away.
You can serve this kugel still warm, at room temperature, or cold from the fridge. It's good every which way. If you're confused by the dessert-like nature of this kugel, it's typically not served as dessert. Because the idea of eating a separate course of sweets after a full meal is culturally determined. (Yes, I just broke into historian killjoy mode, but in this case, I'm the bearer of good news.) Have this as part of a spread with bagels and salads and cheese and fish or whenever you very well please. It's tradition.
Need more kugel in your life?
- Creamy Parve Noodle Kugel - this is indeed the parve kugel you've been searching for.
- Apple Noodle Kugel with Toasted Fresh Bread Crumbs - the most autumnal of kugels, but good enough to make all year round.
- Classic Sweet Dairy Noodle Kugel.
Cream Cheese and Jam Kugel with Cornflakes Topping (dairy)
- Food processor, for crushing cornflakes
- 8 oz ½ package egg noodles, medium or wide - 225 g
- ½ cup 1 stick butter, softened
- 8 oz 1 brick cream cheese, softened - 225 g
- ¾ cup sugar
- 4 eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 cups milk
- ¼ cup berry or apricot jam
- 1 ½ cups cornflakes cereal - coarsely crushed
- 2 Tbsp butter - melted
- 1 Tbsp sugar
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- Heat the oven to 350 F. Grease a large rectangular (9"x13") baking dish.
Cook the noodles:
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil, and cook the noodles according to package directions until just beginning to soften. Drain and set aside.
Prepare the sweet cheese mixture:
- In a large bowl, beat together the butter, cream cheese, and sugar until smooth.
- Add the eggs and vanilla extract, beating until well combined.
- Pour in the milk, and beat until smooth.
- Stir the drained noodles into the egg mixture. Pour into the prepared pan, and smooth the top with a spatula. Using a spoon or cookie scoop, dot the top of the kugel with jam.
Make the topping:
- Coarsely crush the cornflakes by pulsing in a food processor.
- In a small bowl, combine the crushed cereal, melted butter, sugar, and cinnamon. Stir to combine. Sprinkle the topping evenly over the kugel.
- Bake the kugel for 1 hour 15 minutes, until the kugel is puffed, set in the center, and golden on top. Serve warm or cold.