Adapted from The Artisan Jewish Deli At Home
by Michael C. Zusman and Nick Zukin
Andrews McMeel Publishing 2013
Michael got a little misty-eyed the first time he tasted our spot-on version of his family's heritage baked noodle, egg, and dairy casserole. Previously, the "recipe" existed only in vague text fragments and the taste memories handed down to Michael's mother and aunt from his beloved (and long-departed) maternal grandmother, Rose Fertig (whom Michael nicknamed "Mammy" when he was a toddler). Michael recounts: "Mammy grew up in a Yiddish-speaking home in Portland before she married my grandfather, a lawyer. To be honest, she wasn't a great cook, but all us grandkids and now our kids adore this dish. My mom or aunt still makes it, by popular demand, for every family gathering, which is good since it serves a small army." Keegal and kugel are variant names for the same range of sweet or savory dishes made with a noodle or other starch base. The different pronunciations relate back to the different regions of Eastern Europe where the dish was made.
3-½ tablespoons kosher salt
18 ounces wide egg noodles (about 1 ½ packages)
½ cup (1 stick) plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed
3 cups small-curd cottage cheese
3 cups sour cream
6 large eggs, beaten
½ teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray a 9 by 13-inch glass baking dish with cooking spray and set aside.
Fill a large pot with about 5 quarts water, add 2 tablespoons of the salt, and bring it to a boil. Add the egg noodles and cook until they are nearly tender but still undercooked, about 5 minutes. Drain the noodles in a colander, shaking out the excess water. Transfer them back to the dry pot. Add ½ cup of the butter and stir to melt. Allow the noodles to cool slightly, about 5 minutes.
Stir in the cottage cheese and sour cream. Add the eggs, pepper, and the remaining 1-½ tablespoons of salt and stir to thoroughly combine. Pour the noodle mixture into the baking dish and spread it out into an even layer. Dot the top of the keegal with the remaining 2 tablespoons butter. Bake until the keegal is set in the center and lightly browned on top and around the edges, 45 to 55 minutes. Allow the keegal to cool for about 10 minutes before cutting and serving.
Store any leftover keegal, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. To reheat, add a drizzle of milk or a few dots of butter to the top of the keegal and bake it at 350°F, covered, until heated through. (The cooking time will depend on the quantity being reheated.)
Serves 12 to 16
Recipe: kosher, dairy, side dish