This uniquely-flavored savory kugel, of caramelized noodles spiced with black pepper, was brought to the city of Jerusalem by Eastern European Hasidic Jews in the eighteenth century. Thus the kugel is called Kugel Yerushalmi, which means Jerusalem Kugel. Kugel Yerushalmi is traditionally eaten after Sabbath morning prayer services - either for kiddish or lunch - along with cholent and pickles.
Miri's Recipe Testing Notes:
The original recipe called for 2/3 cup oil, 1 tablespoon of salt, and 3/4 teaspoon pepper. The quantities have been tweaked in the updated recipe for a more balanced flavor, and a less oily kugel.
In the original recipe, the noodles were boiled in a relatively small quantity of water, along with the salt and pepper, and meant to absorb the water, a la rice. Since this method can be finicky, and weakens the distinctive pepper flavor, it has been adjusted for more foolproof results.
If you opt for capellini (angel hair pasta) instead of egg noodles, break the noodles into thirds or quarters before adding them to the boiling water. The shorter lengths will be easier to manage when you are mixing in the caramelized sugar.
Updated by Miri Rotkovitz
- 1 pound (400 grams) fine egg noodles or capellini
- 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon neutral flavored oil, such as sunflower or canola
- 1 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 1/2 teaspoons fine sea or kosher salt
- 4 large eggs
- Lightly grease a tube pan or 9 x 9 x 2-inch baking pan with oil or non-stick cooking spray. Preheat the oven to 350 Fahrenheit (180 Celsius).
- In a large pot, bring water to a boil. Add the noodles and cook according to the package directions, taking care not to over cook. Drain, return to the pot, and stir in 1 tablespoon of oil to prevent the noodles from sticking. Set aside.
- Your careful attention (be careful not to burn yourself) and patience (don't leave this unattended) is needed to make the caramel. Place the oil and sugar in a light-colored (so you can see the color of the melting sugar), heavy-bottomed saucepan. Heat on medium heat, stirring with a wooden spoon. Slowly the sugar will start to turn yellowish-brown and combine with the oil. If the sugar turns dark brown too quickly, turn the heat down. Stir until a bubbly, liquid caramel has formed. Then immediately pour caramel over cooked noodles and continue stirring until thoroughly blended.
- Let cool for a few minutes. Then add eggs one at a time, mixing after each addition.
- Pour into prepared pan. Bake for 1 to 1 1/2 hours in the preheated oven until nicely browned.
- When done, remove immediately from pan. This kugel can be served hot, warm or cold.