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.

Red Wine & Tomato Brisket with a Twist

Photo: Liz Rueven

Photo: Liz Rueven

Melissa Roberts

A platter of braised brisket is the centerpiece of many Jewish holiday meals. Here is a recipe that’s basic enough to accompany various side dishes, yet different enough to add something new to the table. The sauce is a combination of heady allspice and cinnamon, wine and tomato, braised with the beef into a rich succulent sauce. Continue reading

Cod Provencal & Dreams of Warmer Days

photo: Liz Rueven

photo: Liz Rueven

Contributed by Melissa Roberts

By now, winter feels endless. Had enough heavy stews and soups already? Even when stuck in winter’s grip, you can bring the warmth of sunnier climes to the table with this one dish fish entree that combines the flavors of Provence. Continue reading

Easy Entertaining with Kale Phyllo Pie


New Year’s eve is often a potluck affair with our gang. What are you whipping up for the celebration?

I turned to my good friend, Melissa Roberts, for suggestions. I wanted a savory and impressive dish to share with friends at brunch or supper alongside an elegant flute of bubbly. She suggested this delectable Kale Phyllo Pie;  I’m right on it.   Continue reading

Elegant and Easy Salmon en Papillote


I’m not interested in fooling our dinner guests into thinking I’ve slaved for days to cook for them. But I am interested in easy techniques that yield delicious results and even a little drama on the plate.

I should have learned this easy technique for cooking fish eons ago. The truth is that I  didn’t learn it until I took a cooking class in my hometown in CT a few weeks back   The theme was Deceptively Easy Recipes for Entertaining.
Continue reading

Hamantaschen High and Low (For You and the Kiddos)

adults and kids chillin' together

Lots of laughter, wild costumes, and of course, the re-telling of the Purim victory tale, are all part of the Purim celebration. The hamantaschen, triangular cookies filled with jam, are always a key component.

And while I’ve seen these favorite cookies in bakeries at other times of the year, nothing signals Purim more delightfully than the tradition of baking these sweet treats in your own kitchen. Continue reading

Solving the Frying Issue: As Easy As Latke Gratin

celery root potato latke gratin (1)

contributed by Melissa Roberts

In case you haven’t heard, Hanukkah and Thanksgiving fall on the same day this year. It’s a big deal because the holidays last converged in the 1880′s and it won’t happen again for thousands of years.  Reason to celebrate Thanksgivukkah, for sure!

For some, the idea of frying latkes while preparing a Thanksgiving feast isn’t an intimidating thought. For most of us mortals, however, the thought of standing and frying at the stove isn’t a welcome notion. (And for mortals like myself, frying but once a year is enough!) There is a solution to the frying “issue.” Continue reading

Roasted Butternut-Sage Waffles


contributed by Melissa Roberts

Squash and sage are quintessential flavors of fall, particularly a northeastern autumn. Here they are featured in a waffle that, drenched with maple syrup, fits in easily on the breakfast table. Continue reading

Corn Souffle Bids Farewell to Summer

Corn Souffle

Written and photographed by Melissa Roberts

September is a month with an identity crisis. What can we depend on weather wise? Each day is a new surprise. A crisp snap of autumn one moment, the next, temps climb into the 90s. And when a holiday comes around (Sukkot, so soon?), how do we plan accordingly? Luckily, mid September continues to bring late summer’s harvest of tomatoes, corn, and fresh herbs. Continue reading

Keeping it Chill (ed) for this Holiday


Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year,  is coming SUPER early this year. So early, that it would be wise to keep a good part of your menu cool since the weather will likely be steamy hot. I’m focused on chilled sides, even if I my family insists on my  traditional, braised  brisket as the main.

Continue reading