Author Notes: 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
pound vermicelli noodles, broken in half
cup clarified butter or oil, but butter is better!
tablespoon 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.