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Yerushalmi Kugel

Yerushalmi kugel, also known as Jerusalem kugel, is a classic Israeli Shabbos dish. It is noodle pudding made with caramelized sugar and seasoned with black pepper, making it both sweet and spicy.

A slice of Yerusalmi kugel on a plate

Yerushalmi kugel is a very popular Israeli Shabbos dish.

This noodle kugel originated in Jerusalem in the late 19th century, but nowadays you can find it anywhere in the country.

It is not uncommon to see it sold Friday mornings in Israeli bakeries along side rugelach, babka, and other goodies.

Like other kugels, Yerushalmi kugel is typically served Shabbos or holiday mornings at kiddushes.

It’s often found on family tables and I’ve never been to an Israeli community kiddush where there weren’t plates of it.

To be honest, I am not much of a kugel fan, but I love Yerushalmi kugel!

It has been my favorite kiddush food since I was a child; and now as an adult, it takes all my willpower to only eat one or two pieces.

I just love the caramel sweetness and the spiciness brought by the pepper.

What are other kugels I can serve with this?

Potato is the next most popular in Israel, but I am partial to my mom’s broccoli kugel.

Can I use other noodles?

Yes. It is becoming increasingly popular to make these with spaghetti.

Understanding Sugar

Sugar may seem very basic if you’ve baked before, but I’ve been asked about it before, so I’m explaining.

There are many different types of sugar, including white sugar, brown sugar, vanilla sugar, powdered sugar, turbinado sugar, and demerara sugar.

When a recipe – any recipe, not just mine – says “sugar” without specifying anything else, it is regular white sugar.

White Sugar

White sugar (sometimes called granulated sugar, table sugar, or white granulated sugar) is made of either beet sugar or cane sugar, which has undergone a refining process.

It is the easiest to find and most commonly used.

Brown Sugar

Brown sugar is white sugar with molasses added to it.

It is commonly used in chocolate chip cookie recipes, and it’s rare for a recipe that calls for brown sugar not to also call for white sugar as well.

When a recipe calls for “brown sugar” but doesn’t specify what type (light or dark), it is referring to light brown sugar.

In my recipes, you can use whatever type of brown sugar you have on hand whether it is dark brown sugar, light brown sugar, or demerara sugar – which is very common in Israel.

Just keep in mind that the flavor and color will be slightly different depending on what you choose to use.

Turbinado Sugar

Turbinado sugar is better known as “raw sugar”. But, despite this name, the sugar is not really “raw.”

Instead, it’s partially refined sugar that retains some of the original molasses.

The term “raw sugar” may also give off the impression that it is somehow healthier.

In reality, turbinado sugar is nutritionally similar to white sugar.

Demerara Sugar

Demerara sugar is very popular in Israel and is especially delicious in tea but is also used for baking.

Unlike white sugar, demerara sugar undergoes minimal processing and retains some vitamins and mineral.

However, it is still not much healthier than white sugar.

Vanilla Sugar

Vanilla sugar is not very common in the States. However, it is common in Israel and parts of Europe.

This is sugar that sat for an extended period of time with vanilla beans, giving it a vanilla flavor.

Caster Sugar

This type of sugar is common in the United Kingdom.

It has a finer grain than white (granulated) sugar and larger than powdered sugar.

Caster sugar is often called for in recipes for delicate baked goods like meringues, souffles, and sponge cakes.

You can use a 1:1 conversion rate between caster sugar and white (granulated) sugar.

Powdered sugar

Powdered sugar, sometimes known as confectioners’ sugar, is a sugar with a powdered texture.

This sugar is rarely, if ever, used for baking. Instead, it is used for dusting desserts and making frosting and icings.

In some countries, you can also find powdered vanilla sugar. It is made the exact same way regular vanilla sugar is made. However, the sugar used is powdered instead of granulated.

Vanilla Extract vs Vanilla sugar

In my recipes, I don’t specify what kind of vanilla to use.

The reason for this is that in the States, vanilla extract is exclusively used. Meanwhile in Israel, along with many European countries, vanilla sugar is common.

In most, if not all recipes, both vanilla extract and vanilla sugar can be used.

In recipes where vanilla sugar can be used instead of extract, you can replace them 1:1.

How to Store

Let cool completely. Wrap with plastic wrap or foil, or place in an airtight container or resealable plastic bag. Refrigerate for 3 to 5 days.

TROUBLESHOOTING

WHY IS IT TAKING LONGER THAN DESCRIBED TO BAKE?

Over time, the thermostat on ovens gets a little off, causing some ovens to run hot and others to run cool.  This is why recipes tend to say things like “10 to 15 minutes or until golden brown.”  So, if it takes you longer than expected that’s fine, don’t worry about it. Just keep baking until ready.

WHY DID MY RECIPE COME OUT TOO DRY?

Just like some ovens run cool, others run hot.  If your oven runs hot, bake these at a lower temperature.  Ideally, you should get an oven thermometer to know what temperature you’re really baking at.

Recipe Tip:

Do not use cool or mushy noodles, it will make this recipe much harder to make.

Yield: 8 servings

Yerushalmi Kugel

A slice of Yerusalmi kugel on a plate

This authentic Israeli Yerushalmi Kugel, like the average Israeli, both sweet and spicy.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound egg noodles, short and thin, (1/2 kilogram)*
  • 1/4 cup oil (60 milliliters)
  • 1 ½ cup white sugar (300 grams)
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 to 3 teaspoons black pepper

Instructions

  1. Cook noodles as directed on the package. Strain the water.
  2. Heat the oil in a heavy bottom pan over a medium high flame. When hot, add 1 cup of sugar and stir continuously until fully caramelized.
  3. Slowly add the noodles to the caramel a spoonful at a time, mixing each one in as you go.
  4. Mix in eggs, the remaining 1/2 cup sugar, salt, and black pepper. Mix well.
  5. Preheat oven to 350°F or 175°C. Pour into a round or rectangular pan,
  6. Bake for about 2 hours or until brown.

Notes

*if you don't have have these noodles you can make it with spaghetti which seems to be an increasingly popular choice in Israel

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

8

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 230Total Fat: 11gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 109mgSodium: 832mgCarbohydrates: 28gFiber: 1gSugar: 13gProtein: 6g

Did you make this recipe?

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Friday 7th of February 2020

i love this recipe!!!! i use 11/2 tsp pepper and its perfect thank you!!!

ElissaBeth

Friday 7th of February 2020

Happy to hear it! Thanks for sharing ☺️

Minna Lederberger

Sunday 8th of September 2019

I wouldn't change it. True Yerushalmi kugel needs the pepper and I often use 2 TBSP. Pepper I find that most recipes have too little. It's refreshing to find one that has the correct amoutn.

ElissaBeth

Monday 9th of September 2019

Thank you Minna :)

Sue

Wednesday 22nd of May 2019

Hi, Tried this kugel as I was really looking forward to it since it seemed simple and who doesn't love that?! But I believe there is a mistake in the ingredients. 1-3 Tablespoon pepper??? I only put one Tablespoom in and it was so peppery, unfortunately I had to throw it out. I will definitely try again with less pepper.

ElissaBeth

Wednesday 22nd of May 2019

Hi Sue. I'm sorry that you found it too peppery. As explained in the post itself, this is a very sweet and peppery recipe. A good Jerusalem kugel has a lot of pepper. Since it's a Middle Eastern dish my guess is that it's made for people who can handle a high level spiciness. However, based on your experience I am changing it from tablespoons to teaspoons :) Thanks for the feedback!

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