Eating dairy foods instead of meat to celebrate the holiday is the most prevalent Shavuot food association. My friends call this “killer kugel.” Joan Nathan ran this recipe in her New York Times column one year, and, as a result, I received many e-mails thanking me for sharing this recipe. I joke that this is a poor excuse for a cheesecake. Rich, creamy, and utterly delicious, a kugel in a 13 × 9-inch baking pan should serve 25 people. However, one reader said she made two kugels for 15 people and almost all of it was gone!
- Cook the noodles according to package directions. Drain and place in a 4-quart bowl.
- Combine the cream cheese and butter in a processor work bowl and blend until smooth. Scrape down the sides of the work bowl. Add the sugar and process until well combined. Add the sour cream, vanilla, and eggs and process until well mixed. Pour into the 4-quart bowl with the noodles.
- Stir the fruits in by hand, and pour the mixture into a buttered 13 × 9-inch baking dish. The mixture will almost overflow. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
- When ready to bake, uncover and place in a preheated 350°F oven and bake for 50 minutes.
- Combine the walnuts with the sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle on top of the kugel. Dot with the 2 tablespoons of butter and bake for 15 minutes more. Serve warm or at room temperature. This could be made totally in advance, but it won’t be as light.
- Large noodles will be more visible in this kugel but will provide a more cheesecake-like consistency in some areas. Medium noodles will be distributed more uniformly. Either way this is delicious.
- The easiest way to dot butter is to freeze a stick of butter and then grate it over the top of your casserole.
- Refrigerating the mixture overnight allows the butter and cream cheese to solidify around the eggs and sour cream. This creates a mixture that will trap the air and puff up better when baked.
- If you don’t want to use nuts, try crushing cocoa crisp cereal, sprinkling it on top of the kugel, and then dotting it with butter. The original recipe, given to me over forty years ago, used this topping, but I can’t teach it or I would lose my credibility!