Inexplicably, the most popular post on my food blog is an apple matzo farfel kugel recipe from 2013. I like to think it’s popular because of its in-depth analysis of what works and doesn’t work in a kugel recipe and of course, the recipe itself. But to be honest, it’s probably because of a dearth of good, moist, flavorful kugel recipes online for Passover. Inspired by a comment on my 2013 post from a reader, I’ve developed another variation, apricot apple matzo farfel kugel, to give you yet another tasty option. Phyllis said:
“LOVED THE KUGEL RECIPE. LOVE YOUR SITE. WILL SEND YOU A SWEET FRUIT KUGEL RECIPE THAT I FOUND 40 YEARS AGO IN GOOD HOUSEKEEPING. IT IS A DAIRY KUGEL SO IT IS NOT KOSHER FOR A MEAT DINNER IF YOUR STRICKLY KOSHER BUT IT IS DELICIOUS. THE RECIPE REALLY DOESN’T LIST ALL THE INGREDIENTS SO YOU HAVE TO READ THE ENTIRE RECIPE. I AM SO HAPPY I FOUND YOUR WEBSITE. PHYLLIS”
A Reader Shares a 40-year-old Recipe
Inspired by Phyllis’ 4o year old Good Housekeeping recipe, especially her notations on it, I developed this new recipe using what I hope is the best of my 2013 version and hers. Phyllis’ version of the Good Housekeeping recipe substitutes dried apricots for the dates (I love dates but the apricots add a lovely tartness that really zings up the kugel). Plus it uses a crunchy matzo nut topping. This nutty crisp-like layer adds terrific texture as a counterpoint to the moist and soft interior.
Lightened-up Apricot Apple Matzo Farfel Kugel
I chose to keep this kugel non-dairy except for butter. For anyone keeping kosher, stick with your butter-substitute of choice. In addition, I always feel that Passover meals tend to be very egg and matzo heavy. So I attempted to keep the eggs at a minimum (4) and used applesauce and some flaxseed meal to augment moisture and to bind it together, subbing for what would have been an additional 4 eggs. These two substitution suggestions are frequently used for vegan baking (no eggs). These two changes worked beautifully – the applesauce added moisture and flavor and the flaxseed added nutrition and held the kugel together perfectly. If you have no issue with more eggs, absolutely use more. But I would strongly suggest at least using the applesauce in place of two of the eggs for the moisture and flavor.
So without further delay – here is the reader-inspired Apricot Apple Matzo Farfel Kugel with a Nutty Matzo Crunch Topping. And thank you so much Phyllis for the inspiration!
- ½ cup of raisins (regular or golden)
- ½ cup of dried apricots, chopped
- ½ cup of hot water or red wine or orange juice or apple juice
- 4 cups matzo farfel (5-6 boards of matzo) (set aside ⅓ cup for matzo crunch topping)
- 4 eggs or 6 eggs
- ⅓ cup sugar
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon nutmeg
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 stick of margarine or butter, divided - (2 solid for crisping up matzo farfel (step 3); 4 tblsps melted for kugel (step 5), 2 tblsp melted for crunch topping (step 6) )
- 3 medium or 2 large apples, peeled, cored, and sliced
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice or ½ a lemon for squeezing
- ½ cup of unsweetened applesauce
- 2 tablespoons ground flax seed mixed with 4 tablespoons of water (or just use 2 extra eggs)
- ⅓ cup matzo farfel (set aside from above 4 cups)
- 2 tablespoons of melted butter or margarine (listed above)
- ½ cup finely chopped walnuts or pecans
- ½ teaspoon of cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon of sugar
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease a 9 X 13 baking dish.
- Instead of buying pre-made farfel, simply place the matzo boards in a ziploc bag and use your rolling pin to break them up into little pieces. 2 boards will yield about 1 cup of farfel.
- Beat 2 of the eggs and mix with the farfel and a teaspoon of the salt. Heat a skillet to medium low, add the two tablespoons of butter (you can skip the butter here if you want) then add the egg farfel mixture, mixing frequently to be sure the pieces brown and separate. You can walk away from these while they cook but return frequently to mix and separate the farfel. Once the egg is set, pieces are mostly separate and a little darker, set the farfel aside while you prepare the apples and wet ingredients.
- Peel, core, and thinly slice the apples - sprinkle with a bit of lemon juice to keep them from browning.
- In a medium bowl, beat the remaining 2 eggs with the sugar, 1 teaspoon of salt, 1 teaspoon of cinnamon, ½ teaspoon of nutmeg, and 4 tablespoons of the melted and cooled butter or margarine. Add in the applesauce, flaxseed mixture, toasted farfel mixture, and the dried fruit and it's soaking liquid. Mix until well combined.
- In a small bowl combine all the matzo crunch topping ingredients and mix well.
- In your greased baking dish, layer ½ the apple slices and sprinkle with a dusting of cinnamon if you'd like (optional), then add the matzo farfel mixture and then top with the remaining apples. Then sprinkle with the matzo nut crunch topping.
- Bake for approximately 40 minutes. (should get crunchy on the top and see it bubbly on the inside). You can make it ahead but be sure to reheat in the oven so the crunch returns to the topping!