My family is a little competitive. When, at Rosh Hashanah dinner, my cousin Jordyn announced that she had just been chosen field hockey captain for her high school team--the fourth cousin to hold such an illustrious position--all eyes turned to her little sister Randi. The pressure was on. Randi had exactly three years to secure her captainship, or you could just tell that Rosh Hashanah dinner 2013 was going to be very tense until we found out that our brood had given birth to five field hockey champions.
So when I unwrapped my just-made noodle kugel on the counter next to a very similar-looking noodle kugel, you can imagine the adrenaline rush I felt and the fan-like cheers that rose up around the kitchen. Turns out, due to a lapse in communication, I had no idea Aunt Cindy was making kugel, and Aunt Cindy had heard not a peep that I was too. When Aunt Cindy and Uncle Michael put out the dinner buffet, Aunt Cindy grabbed the "Cara" and "Cindy" place cards from the table to identify whose kugel was whose.
In fact, we would have only had one dish of noodle pudding--Aunt Cindy's--if it hadn't been for the always-hungry twitterverse. A few weeks ago, I was going on about my favorite potato kugel, when twitter friend One Tough Cookie chimed in. She had a noodle kugel that I just had to make. Though I'd already been volunteered to bring an apple cake, when Gail of One Tough Cookie sent me the recipe, I couldn't resist. I did of course tweak it a little bit, omitting the cornflakes and replacing them with a cinnamon, sugar, and butter topping that gave the top of the kugel a beautiful brown crispiness.
--Cara Eisenpress of Big Girls, Small Kitchen
1 pound broad egg noodles
8 ounces cream cheese, room temp
1 stick unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
7 large eggs
1 pint (2 cups) sour cream
For the topping:
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
Generously butter a 9X13-inch pan that looks nice enough to be set on the table. Cook the noodles in highly salted water according to package directions, stopping after the minimum cooking time, about 8 minutes. Drain the noodles.
While the noodles are cooking, combine the butter, cream cheese, and sugar and beat with a stand or handheld mixture and beat until smooth. Add the remaining ingredients and beat again, until smooth and lightened. As soon as you've drained them, add the hot noodles to this mixture and stir to combine. Spread it into the prepared pan, and cover with plastic wrap. Let sit at least 1 hour on the counter, or refrigerate overnight.
When you're ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350°F. Combine the cinnamon and the sugar in a small bowl. Dot the kugel with small pieces of the softened butter and sprinkle with the cinnamon sugar.
Bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour, until the kugel is set and the top is quite golden. Be careful not to burn the top of the kugel, and turn down the temperature 50 degrees if it seems to be getting too brown. Let sit for 30 minutes before cutting and serving. Serve warm or room temperature.