Ubiquitous in Jerusalem, Yerushalmi kugel is sweet from caramelized noodles and spicy from a generous amount of black pepper. Yerushalmi is sliced like pie, which yields a great ratio of crusty outsides to soft, custardy innards. My recipe is an adaptation of one from The World of Jewish Cooking. —Rivka
- Serves 12
vermicelli noodles, broken in half
clarified butter or oil, but butter is better!
freshly cracked pepper
eggs, beaten slightly
- Preheat oven to 350°. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, and cook noodles about 1 minute less than package recommends, until just this side of tender; rinse and drain.
- In a heavy skillet, combine clarified butter or oil and sugar over medium heat. Stir just until dissolved, then continue cooking but avoid stirring; swirl the pan to move the ingredients around. Cook until sugar is very dark but not burnt, about 10 minutes. Don't shorten this step: you really want the sugar to darken as much as possible without burning. When it's done, remove it from the heat.
- Immediately add noodles and stir to evenly coat noodles with caramel mixture. Season with salt and pepper -- feel free to start with less pepper, and taste and adjust seasoning; I like my kugel pretty spicy. Let noodles rest 10-15 minutes, until still warm but not hot. Add eggs and stir to combine.
- Grease 8-inch pie dishes, and split the mixture between the dishes. Bake 50 minutes-1 hour, until kugels are fully browned on the top and cooked through. Serve warm.