I have an upfront disclaimer about this kugel: I have no idea what kugel tastes like.
All I know about kugel is this: I saw Ina Garten make it on the Food Network one day, and I wanted to eat it. Kugel is a Jewish casserole that can be sweet or savory, typically made with egg noodles and eggs. Ina made a sweet kugel, full of cheese and sugar. I will take any opportunity I can get to mix a little sweet into dinner, so the idea of a sweet kugel casserole holds a huge appeal for me. Both cheese and sugar for dinner? I think that gets a hell yes. This is my extent of knowledge and forethought about this dish.
I took a general inspiration from my vague memories of Ina’s television segment, figuring out this combination by trial and error. A kugel typically uses egg noodles, and while you can too, I am just not a huge fan. I much prefer a chewier pasta or grain. This time I used barley as my base and loved it. Barley adds extra chewiness and nuttiness to the casserole that I love. For the sweetness I included apples and currants, two of my favorites. With a dash of almond extract, this is a great savory but sweet casserole. While I am not 100% certain this kugel is completely authentic, I can vouch for its tastiness. And it’s a perfect winter dish: a warm casserole, with a little sweetness.
PS: 25 days until the big day, 1 weeks until my vacation starts! I am so looking forward to enjoying this long break with lots of holiday cheer. Mom better get her shopping shoes and elastic pants on.