Apple & Fennel Noodle Kugel

Photo: Liz Rueven

Photo: Liz Rueven

Melissa Roberts

Noodle kugel usually finds itself alongside the bagels at a Yom Kippur break fast. Kugel, sweetened with fruit and sugar, symbolizes a wish for a sweet year ahead. There are many variations on this theme and the following recipe provides tradition with a twist on the familiar.

A cottage cheese and sour cream base is blended with eggs, sugar, vanilla and lemon zest into a smooth custard, an extra step, but one that lends a creamy base. Next, the kugel is studded with plump golden raisins and apple, a combination with hints of the fall season ahead.

But there’s more. Because apples pair well with fennel, the sugar is whizzed with fennel seed, lacing the kugel with a faint licorice flavor.

Apple & Fennel Noodle Kugel

8-10 servings

Apple & Fennel Noodle Kugel

Dairy noodle kugel (pudding) is a satisfying addition to any brunch buffet. But it is most often associated with a celebratory break-the-fast meal. Decadently creamy and filling, this kugel points to Autumn with the inclusion of apples and fennel.

This recipe was contributed by Melissa Roberts.

This kugel is dairy.


  • 2 Golden Delicious apples (1 lb total)
  • ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seed
  • 12 ounces dried egg noodles
  • ¾ cup golden raisins
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided, plus more for greasing dish
  • 1 (1 lb) container sour cream
  • 1 (1 lb) container small curd cottage cheese (4% fat)
  • 1 cup 2% or whole milk
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 ½ teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
  • ¾ teaspoon salt


  1. Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 350F.
  2. Generously grease a 3 ½ quart shallow (2 inch deep) baking dish with some butter.
  3. Peel apples, halve, and core. Cut each half into thirds, then thinly slice crosswise.
  4. Combine sugar and fennel seed in a food processor. Run machine until fennel breaks down (it won’t be finely ground, but break most of the fennel into pieces and infuse the sugar). Measure out 2 tablespoons and set aside. Leave remaining sugar in machine.
  5. Bring a 5 to 6 quart pot of water to a boil.
  6. Measure out 1 cup boiling water and combine with raisins. Let steep.
  7. Add 1 tablespoon of salt to pot, then cook noodles until al dente. Drain in a colander, then return to warm pot and add 3 tablespoons of the butter, tossing until noodles are coated.
  8. Combine sour cream, cottage cheese, milk eggs, vanilla, zest and salt in food processor with fennel sugar.
  9. Process until smooth.
  10. Add to pot with noodles.
  11. Drain raisins (discard water), then stir in sour cream mixture , raisins, and apples with noodles until combined.
  12. Transfer to buttered dish. Dot top with remaining 2 tablespoons butter and sprinkle with reserved fennel sugar.
  13. Cover dish with foil and bake until kugel is beginning to set but still slightly jiggly in center, 45 minutes to 1 hour hour.
  14. Remove foil and continue to bake until top is golden brown, 10 to 15 minutes more. Let stand 15 minutes before serving.

Kugelettes Are More Fun

photo: Amy Krtizer

photo: Amy Krtizer

We don’t think it’s possible or even imaginable to make it through Passover without a few kugels on the holiday table.

And why not?

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Caramelized Onion and Poppy Seed Kugel

Quick! Name three quintessentially Jewish foods.  Don’t think too much about it.

I bet that kugel is on your short list.

Even the most health conscious cooks will likely whip up a luscious, highly caloric noodle pudding at some point in the next month as Jews everywhere, celebrate four holidays over five short weeks.  This rapid-fire succession of holidays requires lots of planning and some easy recipes that are guaranteed to please a crowd.

Kugel is a versatile and variable concept. Depending on the region your family hails from, or the place you currently live, your kugel may be creamy and cheese laden, savory with  fresh herbs and veggies, or stacked with potato and onion layers simply seasoned with salt and pepper. Add thinly sliced firm apples or slightly under ripe pears from the orchard?

Why not? Continue reading