No raisins required
Credit: Photo by Crystal Cartier via Getty Images

There are people who speak with deep passion on the merits of breakfast pasta. I am one of them. While I’m more likely to twirl leftover fettuccine bolognese around a fork straight from the fridge than to put together a pan of carbonara, I will make a breakfast kugel from scratch any weekend morning. Sweet kugel, an Ashkenazi Jewish egg-noodle-based baked casserole typically served on Shabbat (though I’ve encountered it pretty regularly at non Shabbat-related family gatherings,) is textured yet creamy and delicately seasoned with warm spices like cinnamon and clove. While the kugels I ate growing up were typically permeated with raisins, I hate raisins in baked goods, so I opt for chopped dates and dried apricots. Feel free to get busy with dried cranberries or sour cherries, or try raisins (golden are actually pretty good in this) if you’re a fan.

Cook 12 ounces of wide egg noodles according to the directions on the package. Drain the pasta and toss it into a large bowl with a small knob of butter.

Preheat the oven to 350ºF and grease a 9 by 13-inch glass or ceramic baking dish with butter.

Dice ½ cup pitted deglet noor dates (or ¼ cup medjool dates) and ½ cup dried apricots. Place the fruit in a small heatproof bowl and cover with boiling water. Set aside.

Drop 6 ounces ricotta cheese, 2 ounces cottage cheese, and 6 ounces of softened cream cheese, 2 eggs, ⅓ cup granulated sugar, 3 tablespoons brown sugar, ½ teaspoon allspice, and a pinch of kosher salt into a blender and puree until well-combined.

Pour the cheese mixture into the bowl with the pasta along with the soaked dates and apricots. Fold the mixture together, then pour it into the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle the top of the kugel with turbinado sugar and drop it in the oven.

Bake the kugel for 30 minutes, then turn it around in the oven to ensure it bakes evenly. Add ¼ cup chopped walnuts or pecans to the topping if you’d like, then bake for another 30-35 minutes, or until the top is brown and the kugel jiggles just slightly when gently shaken.

Serve breakfast kugel as it, or with a few handfuls of whatever fruit is in season (or in your fridge).