Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Waffling Leftovers: Noodle Kugel

I did not grow up with noodle kugel.  I didn't even know it existed.  A major downside of growing up in a small rural town with zero diversity.  This makes me sad, as, it turns out, I really enjoy it.

The first noodle kugel I ever had was from Wise Sons, a cold sweet version, served with seasonal jam.  I ordered it because I was fascinated by the idea, and I knew it sounded like something I would like: I love casseroles, puddings, bread puddings, and things with crispy tops.  Since then, I've had several savory versions too, such as spinach noodle kugel, and parmesan sour cream potato kugel topped with tomato sauce.

I still find all variations fascinating, and I never quite know what to make of them.  Savory versions seem like they could be side dishes or mains.  Sweet ones seem equally suited for breakfast or dessert.  Should I eat it warm, or cold, or either?  What about extra toppings?  I always want to drizzle some maple syrup on sweet versions at breakfast.  Am I really eating sweet mac and cheese?  I wish I had more exposure to these items growing up!
Breakfast Noodle Kugel Transformation.
This recent adventure was with a sweet breakfast kugel.  I had extra, and you know me, if there is any chance of crispy bits enhancing something, my mind immediately jumps to waffling it (if you don't know what I'm talking about, go start with my master post).

So, Leftover Noodle Kugel: Will it Waffle?  Sure.
The Original: Blueberry Cream Cheese Kugel.
The original was absolutely delicious sweet noodle kugel, served at my office for breakfast.

It was creamy inside, with sour cream, cream cheese, and cottage cheese mixed together to create pockets of slightly tart cheesiness.  It was perfectly moist and custardy inside, but had crispy bits on top from sliced almonds and noodles themselves.  Studded throughout with juicy blueberries.  Accented with lemon zest and vanilla for a bit of extra complexity in the flavor.  Dusted with powdered sugar and topped off with fresh blueberries.

It was very, very good, and served in giant slices.  I polished one off in an instant, alongside a few other breakfast items.  I realized that one slice was bigger than I needed even, but I wanted more.  I took a second slice.  I started in on it.  And then my stomach caught up with me.

But, I certainly did not throw it out.
Cold Leftovers.
Into the fridge my leftovers went.

I tried a few bites cold, and it was perfectly tasty.  I'm sure it would have been fine simply reheated in the toaster oven too.  But I saw an opportunity to experiment, and I couldn't resist.

Inspired by the crispy bits on top that I liked, I schemed to get more crispy bits, by waffling it, of course.
Mid-Way Cooking.
So into the waffle iron a chunk went.

Simple setup, 350 degrees.  No extra crusting or work done, although I think this would have lent itself nicely to crusting with some cornflakes, or a sugar coating to caramelize on the outside.

It cooked easily, no drama.  I held form well, extracted easily, made no mess, didn't burnt.
Waffled Blueberry Cream Cheese Kugel.
The result was basically what you'd expect.  Crispy noodle edges, all around.  Still fairly custardy inside.

I topped it with a dollop of whipped cream because I couldn't resist, and then returned to add some powdered sugar and cinnamon too, but what I really wanted was a drizzle of maple syrup.  Next time ...

I don't see it as a radical improvement on traditional reheating, or even eating cold, but overall, it was absolutely fine, and if you like crispy bits on your kugel, you'll like this.
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