Kugel is a traditional Jewish dessert. The word is Yiddish for ball and this dish is related to the German Gugelhupf. It’s rather casserole-like which also makes me fond of it. I first tried Kugel a few years back and really liked it. It kind of reminds me of a sweet macaroni and cheese. I hesitate to say that because that’s just not appealing to most people.
Last week, one of my co-workers brought me some. It was made with cream cheese and it was delish! You can make it with sour cream, cream cheese, cottage cheese or some combination. I had a recipe from Smitten Kitchen that calls for cottage cheese. I made it last weekend. It just happened to be my husband’s birthday weekend. He didn’t want a cake (or any other dessert for his birthday) so I decided to try out my Kugel recipe. I described it to my husband and son as a noodle dessert. That sounds a little weird. My co-worker said I should sell it as “like cheesecake.” That would have been better.
Anyway, things were going along well. Until I added the cottage cheese. I was wondering if I should use an electric mixer to de-curd it. Cottage cheese is so, well, cottage cheesy. I didn’t use a mixer. I thought, maybe the cottage cheese will melt into a smooth consistency in the baking process and not remain recognizable as cottage cheese. Wrong-o.
The Kugel came out of the oven after about an hour. I immediately had a bowl and really liked it. It was sitting on top of the stove.
I told my husband, “Try some Kugel.” He went into the kitchen and said, “Is that cottage cheese?” I said, “Maybe.”
My husband hates cottage cheese. So how was I going to get him to try a noodle dessert filled with cottage cheese? There was just no way. He refused to try it.
An hour later I said, “Please try a tiny bite of Kugel. It’s your birthday Kugel!” He said, “No.” About an hour after that I got a funny idea. I found a birthday candle, inserted it in the middle the Kugel, and lit it. I carried the birthday Kugel out to my husband, who was sitting in the living room, singing happy birthday. I was cracking up. Even he laughed. I tried to hand it to him and asked if I could take his picture with his birthday Kugel. He said, “No. I’m not going to even look like I’m on board with this.”
And that, my dears, is the story of the birthday Kugel.