Monday, April 21, 2008

Fun Playing with Passover Puddings

My mother always made two puddings, or kugels, for Passover. One is sweet. The recipe comes from a cookbook called "Elegant Essen, " which was put out by the East Northport Jewish Center in 1973 as so many churches, synagogues, and civic groups put out cookbooks - by collecting recipes from their members. This recipe is entitled "Pudding - Sweet and Delicious" and is attributed to Eunice Zarett.

The dish consists of 1# Matzo Farfel, which you can see in the pot behind the farfel package, margarine (which is the only box of the stuff I buy all year - and this year, Kosher for Passover stick margarine was nowhere to be found, for reasons explained here), 7 eggs, 1 cup sugar, 1 can apricots in juice or sugar (no corn syrup!), salt, cinnamon (Vietnamese and intense, from Heather's Heat & Flavor), hot water and about 1 cup of cold water.

Start by pouring hot tap water over the farfel. The recipe says to drain it, and mom always drained it pretty promptly. One year, when I was making this, I forgot to drain the farfel. When I finally remembered and looked into the pot - it had absorbed all of the water! I made the pudding anyway, and learned that allowing the farfel to become saturated increases the "puddingness" of the kugel - so I now deliberately leave it for a while before draining (if there is anything left to drain).

Seven Blue Eggs Ready For Beating

Not Margarine Melting

Since there was no KP margarine available anyway, I decided to try a product from the Mustard Seed Market that had no hydrogenated oil, trans fats, or artificial ingredients. It had soybean oil and corn for flavor, so it was not even close to Pasaidich, but I decided to try it anyway. And it was good.

I beat together the eggs, margarine, sugar, salt, cinnamon, and the juice from the can of apricots.

The diced apricots went into the drained farfel, and the egg mixture was then added. The recipe calls for 1.5 cups cold water to also be added here, but since there was still some water left in the farfel after draining, I only used 1 cup.

This was poured into a prepared dish, topped with sprinkled cinnamon and baked.

Sorry - no photos of the hot pudding when served - it just didn't happen! But here is what it looks like - it is delicious to eat hot or cold!

The second pudding is the traditional Potato Kugel. If you look on the internet or Jewish cooking books and magazines, you'll find numerous variations on this dish. But I cannot bring myself to mess with it, it is so perfect as mom made it! Well . . . almost. We do add some hot chile (which my mother, who doesn't like any hot spice, would not approve of!), and we use a better prep method (mom used a blender and we use a food processor) - but this is still mom's kugel.

For 5# of potato (a "double" kugel) - 4 eggs, potato starch, kosher salt, ground pepper and about 4 garden Tabasco peppers from the freezer take a whirl in the Cuisinart.

The potatoes, and some onions, are peeled and grated using the cheese grating wheel of the food processor (or the smallest holes on a box grater, if you don't like having knuckles):

The grated veggies are combined with the egg mixture, and matzo meal is added a TB or so at a time, until the mixture feels right. It is then poured into a prepared casserole and baked. Again, we didn't get a picture "right out of the oven," but this should give you the idea:

No wonder my mom always called Passover Kugel Week! What a glorious way to play with your food, and then have leftovers!

1 comment:

  1. Your sweet kugel this year was IMHO the best you've ever made it. I was going to say that sedar at your house is the one time of year I knowingly eat margerine/hydrogenated fat but after reading this blog entry I have learned that the new product you used is non-hydrogenated. That's great! Would you say that you like this product better than the margerine that you usually use (other than it not being KP)?