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Faith Kramer
Past President, Hadassah Oakland Ruach Chapter

Jammy Poppyseed Kugel – a Perfect Dessert for Purim

Jammy Poppyseed Kugel photo courtesy of the author.
Jammy Poppyseed Kugel photo courtesy of the author.
Photo courtesy of the author.

My Jammy Poppyseed Kugel is a dairy noodle casserole that is perfect for a Purim lunch or dessert. Like the Purim story, it has hidden layers.

As explained on Aish.com:
Purim’s miracles were intentionally hidden.
…The name of God is nowhere to be found explicitly in the Book of Esther. It is only alluded to, hidden, waiting to be found. God purposefully concealed His name to teach us that there are times that great miracles are camouflaged, waiting to be discovered.

The hidden layers of this kugel contain a just-rich-enough base of cream cheese and sour cream, dollops of sweet and tart plum and apricot jam, both in the middle and on top, and poppyseeds sprinkled throughout.

The kugel is also a good choice for Purim since traditional Purim foods often include poppyseeds or jam. The kugel’s hidden jam fillings also reflect the tradition of serving filled or stuffed foods on the holiday.

This recipe was inspired by a kugel that was served at a meeting of my Hadassah  Oakland Ruach chapter a long time ago. For years, I’ve thought about that kugel, which came from a traditional Polish recipe, and I’m so happy to be able to recreate its flavors with a Purim twist.

Jammy Poppyseed Kugel
Serves Nine

8 oz. uncooked, wide-cut egg noodles, pappardelle or similar
4 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted and divided
1 cup sour cream, room temperature
8 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
2 large eggs, beaten
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. vanilla
1 Tbsp. plus 1 tsp. poppy seeds
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. salt
1 cup plum or seedless raspberry jam (see notes)
3/4 cup apricot or peach jam (see notes)
1/4 cup chopped almonds
2 tsp. minced lemon zest
Sour cream or plain yogurt, optional

Place noodles in boiling, salted water. Cook according to package directions. Heat oven to 350 degrees. While noodles are cooking, prep pan and dairy base.

Brush a Tbsp. or so of the melted butter on the bottom and sides of an 8-inch by 8-inch baking dish. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the remaining melted butter and sour cream. Cut the cream cheese into 1-inch chunks. Mash into sour cream. Mix in sugar, eggs, lemon juice, vanilla, 1 Tbsp. poppy seeds, cinnamon and salt. Mix (mashing with fork if necessary) until almost smooth.

After noodles are cooked, drain and immediately add hot noodles to the dairy base. Stir well.

Stir each jam until smooth and easy to measure (add 1/2 tsp. of water if needed). Keep separate.

Add a third of the noodles to the prepared pan. Add a third of the jams by placing them in 3 rows. Start with the plum jam, placing 6 dollops (each about 1 Tbsp.) in 2 rows of 3 dollops each. Make sure they are evenly distributed, about 1 inch from the edges of the pan.

Place 3, 1-Tbsp. dollops of the apricot jam in the center of the pan. Add another third of the noodles. Evenly distribute 6 dollops (again, about 1 Tbsp. each) of apricot jam in the 2 outer rows.

Add 3, 1-Tbsp. dollops of the plum jam in the middle row. Add last layer of noodles and top with 2 rows of the plum jam and a center row of the apricot jam (same as with the first layer).

Place pan in middle of oven. Bake 30-40 minutes until noodles on top are golden brown and dairy base is bubbly and set. Let cool at least 20 minutes. Sprinkle with 1 tsp. poppy seeds, almonds and lemon zest before serving hot, warm or at room temperature. Cut into 9 pieces. Top each serving with sour cream, if desired.

Make it in advance: Do not garnish. Wrap airtight in baking pan. Refrigerate for up to 3 days or freeze for up to one month. Allow to come to room temperature. Cover baking dish with foil. Reheat in preheated 350-degree oven until heated through (about 20 minutes). Once warm, remove foil for a few minutes to crisp top, and add garnishes of poppy seeds, almonds and lemon zest.

Notes: Choose smooth jams, preserves or fruit spreads. Use at room temperature. Taste apricot jam before using and, if very tart, stir in 1/2 tsp. of sugar at a time to sweeten. If desired, the plum jam can be replaced by lekvar, the classic prune filling for hamantaschen. Use homemade or canned, available in many supermarkets in the baking and or kosher food section.

About the Author
Faith Kramer, a former president and current board member of the Hadassah Oakland Ruach Chapter, is a member of the Hadassah Writers' Circle. The California-based food writer is the author of “52 Shabbats: Friday Night Dinners Inspired by a Global Jewish Kitchen.” (The Collective Book Studio). She writes a twice-a-month recipe column for the J, Northern California’s Jewish News Source. See more about her cookbook, other writing, and recipes at faithkramer.com. She can be reached at faith@faithkramer.com
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