Before the eight days of Chanukah begins Tuesday night, I wanted to share a little holiday recipe inspiration that I am super proud of. Not an easy one to replicate without gluten, dairy, and egg. Until now! Don’t you just love that? Me too! I get excited when a recipe overcomes allergen restrictions and it tastes delicious. You know how hard that can be. While most of us know this recipe as kugel or noodle pudding, we knew it as babka.
Not sure how the name stuck for our ‘kugel’, maybe because “babka” is a Russian nickname for grandmother (my descent). The name is popular with another popular Eastern Europe food laden with chocolate or cinnamon – not sure how that yeasted dessert came to be known as “babka” but in our house, there was only one babka. Did I confuse you yet?
I’m not sure if I can be any good at explaining what babka is or what kugel is, or how this recipe came out so darn good without any need for gluten egg noodles, eggs, pounds of sugar, sour cream, cream cheese, or any other ingredient your Bubbe may have added in. All that doesn’t matter as long as it tastes good, right?
My late grandmothers’ was a favorite, I knew if I arrived at Grandma’s house early enough she would let me pick out the raisins from the cut squares. Thanks, Grandma. Despite not having any egg in here to bind the noodles and the noodles are gluten-free it holds together beautifully (even better the next day) and has a good dose of sweetness to the noodles. Rather than using chopped up apples, the applesauce works well for a few reasons: extra sweetness evenly throughout without the need for more sugar, pectin to help bind instead of eggs, and added creaminess. Added raisins, along with creamy coconut yogurt, then kissed with enough vanilla and spice this babka, kugel thing will make your heart sing Happy Chanukah!
If you can’t find quinoa pasta, simply use your favorite gluten-free pasta. Spaghetti works well too (actually how my late-grandmother made it) if shapes are not available. Oh, and in case your wondering, why does she use powdered sugar and not regular cane sugar? The tapioca starch in the powdered sugar is just enough to bind it together. Using cane sugar and tapioca starch separately gave it a slight gummy taste and was too sweet whereas powdered sugar brought the recipe together. If you use store-bought applesauce be sure to use chunky and drain any excess liquid, otherwise it may not hold together. If you choose to make your applesauce homemade this year, you can find my recipe in this post … http://fromjessicaskitchen.com/spiced-applesauce-bundt-cake-with-salted-caramel-glaze-gluten-free-grain-free-dairy-free-soy-free-vegan-paleo-friendly/ … makes a quart, enough for this recipe and plenty more for piling on the latkes. It is tangy and sweet all at once and really worth all the apple peeling. Scouts honor.
I know it’s been a while since I have posted a new recipe. All is good though! I’ve stepped away to give more attention to the other side of me: spiritual lightworker/mystic arts (not magic), something that I have done years ago and feel that I need to get back to since the universe has been nudging me. And since you are here for recipes, and the story can get long, I will leave it at that. But hey, anyone who is drawn to spirituality and wants to chat, feel free to email me – I would love to hear from you! Gosh, that sounds vague, but I didn’t want to come back with a post and not mention the long absence. A few months away in the blogging world is like an eternity… I have been taking photos and testing recipes and will be sharing those soon. 🙂 From my family to yours, Happy Chanukah!
- 1 pound quinoa pasta, preferably fusilli shaped
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- 1¼ cup powdered sugar, unsifted
- ⅔ cup raisins
- few splashes Apple liqueur such as Calvados or hot water
- 1½ cups (420 grams) applesauce, preferably homemade
- 1½ heaping cups (409 grams) unsweetened vanilla coconut yogurt (or another dairy-free yogurt)
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- 1½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- pinch of ground nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon raw turbinado sugar
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F *convection heat* with rack positioned in center of oven.
- Grease a 3-quart casserole baking dish.
- Bring a pot of water to a boil, add two generous pinches of kosher salt and the pasta to cook until al dente, about 7 minutes, stirring occasionally. Meanwhile, soak raisins in apple liqueur (or hot water), when plump, drain and set aside.
- When pasta is ready, drain the noodles and put in a medium bowl. Add coconut oil and powdered sugar, combine well. Add applesauce, coconut yogurt, pure vanilla extract, cinnamon, and nutmeg and blend well. Add in softened raisins, stir to combine again. Transfer kugel mixture into the greased baking dish. Sprinkle raw turbinado evenly across the kugel. Bake for 30-35 minutes. Let it sit for 30 minutes before slicing, otherwise, it may fall apart.
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