Cabbage Pudding (Kugel)

Inscribing itself into the Cabbage Chronicles is the challenge I made for myself : find a way to use cabbage in dessert… Not quite dessert really, since kugel us technically served as a side dish for the main plate. But it’s sweet. So you could eat it as a snack, of for dessert, if you wanted to. Personally, I eat it with my supper. Or instead of supper.

Regardless, Mom – here it is. The recipe worked and you now have yet another way to use your COVID-cabbage and limited palate of ingredients. It’s loosely based of Fania Lewando’s Spinach Pudding, from the Vilna Vegetarian Cookbook. Like hers, this is a soufflé-like pudding that’s impressively puffy straight out of the oven and then flattens into moist and dense yumminess as it cools. Unlike hers, this one has no added sugar, no eggs and features cabbage rather than spinach. This makes the colour a fair bit more appealing and the finished dish far friendlier to vegans. It also avoids the trouble of separating eggs and making meringue.

Enough talk. More kugel. And most importantly, more cabbage.

Yield: a 5”x9” pan, about 4 servings (Mom, chances are you’ll want to double the recipe and make it in an 8”x8” pan)

What you need:

  • 8 oz (1/2 lb) very well cooked cabbage (steamed), about 2 packed cups
  • 1 large apple, about 6 oz (Granny Smith preferred, but use what you have)
  • 6 tablespoons raisins (or chopped apricots if you want it less sweet; or dates if you like it sweeter)
  • 7 tablespoons water, divided (or use apple juice if you want a sweeter dish)
  • 2 tablespoons Bob’s Red Mill egg replacer (powder)
  • 1/2 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup almonds
  • 1/2 teaspooon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

What you do:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F and have at ready a 5”x9” baking dish. I didn’t grease mine and it came out of the pan fine when serving, but feel free to grease and flour it if desired.
  2. In a small food processor, pulse the rolled oats and almonds to a fine meal. Transfer to a mixing bowl and whisk in the baking powder and salt. Mix in the raisins and set aside.
  3. Grate the apple onto a plate or into a small bowl and set aside.
  4. Now add the cabbage and 2 tablespoons of the water to the food processor (no need to wash it). Process until you have a smooth purée. This is where you’ll be happy that cabbage is REALLY well cooked. Add the remaining water (5 tablespoons) and egg replacer and process until the mixture is even throughout.
  5. Pour the wet cabbage mixture into the dry ingredients and mix quickly with a fork to form a smooth batter. Fold in the grated apple.
  6. Spread the batter evenly into the prepared pan.
  7. Bake for 45-55 minutes until puffy and golden. If you want to impress, bring it straight to the table from the oven before the puff falls!
  8. Let set 10-15 minutes and serve hot and soft-style with a spoon. Or let cool and cut into squares to serve at room temperature as shown.

Variations:

  • Make this richer, with a touch of bitter, by using walnuts or pecans instead of the almonds. Just make sure not to over-work them in the food processor as they go to butter pretty quickly! (Warning, it won’t puff up as much either.)
  • Feel free to add the zest of a lemon to the dry ingredients and 1/4 teaspoon lemon extract to the wet ingredients if you go for that kind of thing. You could even add a daring dash of sour by replacing some of the water with lemon juice…
  • Or if you want extra-almond, add 1/4 teaspoon of almond extract to the wet ingredients.
  • For more of a colourful and savory kugel, (don’t get me wrong, it’ll still taste sweet) replace the grated apple with grated carrot or beet.

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