Posts tagged ‘pineapple’

July 5, 2011

Happy 4th Of Jell-y!

Proud American that I am, I decided that one Patriotic dessert wasn’t enough to celebrate Independence Day this year. In addition to the Red, White, & Blue Bombe Glacée I made for this weekend’s festivities, I prepared another colorful cake to help set the celebratory tone. I couldn’t resist another opportunity to use the refreshing flavor trio of the beloved Bomb Pop (cherry, lime, blue raspberry) in one more treat. Inspired by Sprinkle Bakes‘ lovely “Crown Jewel Cake,” I decided to revamp her cheerful version of the retro “Broken Glass Cake” by using the flavors of the Bomb Pop and the shapes and colors of our flag.

Sweet cherry sponge cake hugs a fluffy lime cream filling, speckled with playful bursts of blue raspberry and cherry Jello stars. The seemingly odd mixture of tart-sweet flavors and jiggly-smooth textures comes together in a harmonious, silky bite.

My favorite part about this cake is the exciting element of surprise that comes with cutting into it.  With different shapes and sizes of red and blue stars, no two slices are alike.  Each cut into the cake brings about an excitement comparable to the incredible National fireworks show… there’s no telling what pretty star pattern will be uncovered next.

Starry Stained Glass Cake

Inspired by: Bomb Pops & Sprinkle Bakes’ “Crown Jewel Cake

Adapted from Heather Baird’s Crown Jewel Cake,” SprinkleBakes

Cherry Joconde Sponge Cake

1¼ cups almond flour

1/3 cup plus 1½ tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 cup confectioner’s sugar

3 eggs

2 egg yolks

¾ teaspoon cherry extract

1-1½ teaspoons red gel food coloring

4 egg whites

¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon superfine sugar

2½ tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

–recipe yield: one 11½ x 17½ sheet cake to be fit as a shell into one 8-inch round cake pan

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Line an 8-inch round springform cake pan with parchment paper and set aside.  Prepare an 11½ x 17½ sheet cake pan by buttering it, lining it in parchment paper, and buttering the paper.  In a food processor, pulse together the almond flour, all-purpose flour and confectioner’s sugar to remove any lumps and to further grind down the almonds.  In a large bowl, beat the whole eggs until frothy, and then gradually add in the combined dry ingredients from the food processor while continuing to beat and scraping down the sides of the bowl in between additions.  Beat in egg yolks and extract, and gradually add food coloring until desired color is reached.

In a separate bowl, whip egg whites until frothy.  Gradually add in superfine sugar while continuing to whip the mixture into a thick meringue.  Once sugar has been added and meringue has reached stiff peaks, fold it gently into the batter.  Pour in the cooled, melted butter, give it two or three more folds, and then pour the batter into the prepared sheet pan.  Tilt the pan to distribute the batter into an even layer and tap the bottom of the pan against the counter top to allow any air bubbles to escape.   Place pan into the oven to bake for 5-7 minutes, checking it frequently as it burns quickly and easily.

While cake is baking, lay out a clean pastry cloth or non-patterned tea towel next to a wire cooling rack.  Sprinkle the cloth with a few tablespoons of confectioner’s sugar, smoothing it out into an even layer with your hands.  Immediately upon removing it from the oven, turn out the hot cake onto the sugared pastry cloth.  Peel away and discard the parchment paper from the top of the cake.  Using the round cake pan as a guide, cut a long strip of the cake to fit inside around the pan, making up the cake edges.  If the strip doesn’t cover all the way around the inside of the pan, a shorter strip may be sliced, added and pressed in to fill the gap.  Cut a circle from the sheet cake to make up the bottom of the cake and press it into the pan inside the cake edges.

Lime Cream Filling

3-ounce box blue raspberry gelatin
(ex. Berry Blue Jello)

3-ounce box cherry gelatin
(ex. Cherry Jello)

1¼ cups pineapple juice

¼ cup lime juice

1½ tablespoons powdered gelatin

¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons cold water

2 cups heavy whipping cream

¾ teaspoon vanilla extract

Prepare both packages of flavored gelatin as directed on box.  Once gelatin is completely set and chilled, it is ready to be sliced into shapes.  Using different sized star-shaped cookie cutters, slice set gelatin into very thick stars (see picture).  The thicker the stars are cut, the more likely they will appear in cake slices.  Set aside.

In a small saucepan, combine pineapple and lime juice.  Sprinkle powdered gelatin into the juice and let it sit for 2-3 minutes, or until the gelatin has completely dissolved.  Once dissolved, place the saucepan over medium-low heat for another 2-3 minutes, or until the mixture has melted into a smooth liquid.  Remove the saucepan from the heat and stir in the cold water.  Pour the mixture into a small bowl and set it on the counter top to cool slightly for about 5 minutes.  Place it into the refrigerator for another 5 minutes to allow it to cool completely, but remain in liquid form (not set up into a gelatin).  In a large bowl, whip cold cream into soft peaks.  Pour in the vanilla extract and continue to whip until it has reached stiff peaks.  Whisk cooled gelatin mixture well into whipped vanilla cream.

Assembly

Add a few spoon-fulls of the lime cream filling into the pan containing the prepared, pressed sponge cake shell.  Place a few flavored gelatin stars into the pan on top of the filling.  Add more filling, followed by more stars, and continue until desired amount of gelatin stars have been added, leaving enough filling for a final, thick layer of filling to cover the stars and top off the cake.  Gently spread the top layer of filling into a smooth mound.  Cover cake with plastic wrap and allow it to set up in the refrigerator for at least 8 hours.

If desired, decorate set, firm cake with colored candies and/or a half batch of Best Vanilla Buttercream piped from a pastry or plastic zip-top bag fitted with a large star tip.  If using colored candies, do not place the candies directly on the surface of the filling, as the color will bleed though the white gelatin cream.

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June 23, 2011

Pineapple… Frozen, Torched, Grilled, & Honey Ice Cream Filled

My mom and I recently visited a small downtown thrift shop filled with hundreds of  little treasures, including a very wide selection of vintage kitchen supplies.  I somehow even got my hands on a beautiful embroidered apron from the 1940’s that I’m in love with, despite the fact that I can’t bring myself to wear it while baking and risk dirtying it.  My mom generously treated me to quite a few goodies after our hunt through the baking supply section.  Among the many retro tools and trinkets I ended up taking home was an Anne Willan cookbook, costing Mama Lew a whopping 99¢.

Leafing through the pages of my new French cookbook, there was one recipe that immediately caught my eye.  It was a frozen dessert topped with a browned meringue, a play on a Baked Alaska, except with a hollow pineapple shell taking the place of the cake layer.  The finished product made for a very dramatic presentation, one that may even be considered a slight bit tacky (Anne Willan is a legend, and the book is from 1980…  so, we’ll give her a break).  For whatever reason, I felt very compelled to recreate this dish.  And that’s exactly what I did.

While Anne filled her pineapple shell with pineapple sherbet, I chose to go with a “Honey-Pineapple Semifreddo,” inspired by the increasingly popular summertime treat of grilled pineapple drizzled with honey.  I decided to grill and glaze the pineapple pieces in the dessert, which added a caramelized sweetness to the final product.  I assembled the dessert in Anne’s extravagant pineapple boat, and also did my own version in a smaller pineapple “bowl,” which turned out to be a little easier to handle and serve out of, and less messy.  Both the bowl and the boat turned out very delicious and super cute… the type of thing that looks like lot of work went into it.  In all honesty, the most difficult part of this dessert was trying to figure out what to call it.
I brainstormed lots of ideas, including “Baked Hawaii” (instead of Alaska), or anything else suggesting a tropical honeymoon.  I bounced a few off Whitney, who admitted that every time I brought up “the pineapple,” all she could think about was Doody calling Frenchy a “beautiful blonde pineapple,” in her favorite childhood movie, Grease.  I loved the Grease reference!  I also loved the fact that she called it her favorite childhood movie.  I, too, loved the movie as a kid, but my mom decided maybe it wasn’t the best childhood movie after my sassy 8-year-old self starting saying things like “Eat your heart out,” and asking what a “hickey from Kinicky” was.  Anyway, as the dish came from a French cookbook published right around the time of the premier of the movie, and the “beautiful blonde pineapple” reference was describing French-y, I decided it was a perfect fit.

The “Beautiful, (Honey-)Blonde Pineapple”

Inspired by: Grilled Pineapple, Baked Alaska, “Ananas en Surprise”

Adapted from Anne Willan’s “Ananas en Surprise,” LaVarenne’s Basic French Cookery

Honey-Pineapple Semifreddo

Adapted from “Honey Semifreddo,” Tasty Palettes

20 ounces crushed pineapple, plus juice

3 tablespoons brown sugar

1 tablespoon unsalted butter, cold

zest and juice of two lemons

pinch of salt

1 egg, plus 6 egg yolks

1½ tablespoons cornstarch

1¼ cups heavy whipping cream

1/3 cup honey

–recipe yield: about 8-10 servings

In a small, heavy bottomed saucepan, combine crushed pineapple, juice, brown sugar, ½ tablespoon butter, zest and juice of one lemon and salt.  Whisk ingredients together over medium-low heat and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and, stirring occasionally, allow mixture to simmer for 10-12 minutes, or until liquid has reduced by half and pineapple is caramelized.  Remove from heat and pour mixture over mesh strainer, reserving all the liquid and replacing it back into the saucepan, along with about 2 or 3 tablespoons of the strained crushed pineapple shreds.  Discard the excess dry crushed pineapple.  In a small bowl, whisk together 2 of the egg yolks and the cornstarch.  While whisking, pour in a few tablespoons of the hot pineapple juice mixture into the yolk mixture, slowly warming the yolks without cooking them.  When yolks are brought up to temperature, pour them into the saucepan containing the pineapple juice mixture.  Heat mixture over medium-low heat while constantly whisking or stirring with a wooden spoon.  When mixture has thickened (about 2-4 minutes), remove saucepan from heat and stir in juice and zest of remaining lemon, along with the remaining ½ tablespoon cold butter.  Once butter has dissolved, transfer pineapple mixture to a small bowl and continue to stir until cooled.   Once the mixture has cooled, cover the bowl with plastic wrap, allowing the plastic wrap to sag into the bowl and cover the entire surface of the mixture so that it doesn’t develop a skin.  Allow mixture to set up in the refrigerator for 15-20 minutes.

Line the inside of a 9×5 inch large loaf pan with plastic wrap In a large, chilled glass bowl, beat the heavy cream until it just reaches stiff peaks.  Place the bowl in the freezer and allow it to chill while preparing the rest of the ice cream.  Prepare a double boiler fitted with a very large glass bowl.  Combine the remaining 4 egg yolks, the whole egg, and the honey in the large bowl of the double boiler over medium-low heat and beat the mixture for 8-10 minutes, or until pale yellow and tripled in volume.  Remove bowl from heat and continue to beat on high to cool and thicken the mixture.  Once the thick yolk-honey has cooled to lukewarm, fold it into the chilled whipping cream until there are no colored streaks visible in the mixture.  Gently pour the ice cream base into the lined loaf pan and place it in the freezer to set.  Once the ice cream has been been freezing for about an hour, remove the pineapple-honey mixture from the refrigerator.  Discard the plastic wrap and stir the set custard to loosen it up.  Remove the loaf pan containing the semi-frozen ice cream from the freezer and dollop pineapple custard in heaping tablespoons onto the ice cream.  When all of the custard has been dotted onto the cream, insert the tip of a butter knife into the cream and run it through the cream a few times to cut and swirl the custard into the cream, creating a marbleized effect.  Replace the loaf pan back into the freeze allow swirled ice cream to set up and freeze overnight.

Rum Scented Meringue

This meringue shouldn’t be prepared until about 20 minutes before serving time.  The rum extract adds a nice depth of flavor to the meringue, but can easily be replaced by vanilla extract.

4 egg whites

pinch of salt

½ teaspoon cream of tartar

½-¾ cup superfine sugar

1 teaspoon rum extract

Prepare a double boiler fitted with a large glass bowl over medium-low heat.  Using an electric mixer, mix egg whites and salt until slightly foamy.  Add in cream of tartar and continue to beat until soft peaks have been achieved.  Gradually add tablespoon after tablespoon of superfine sugar, continuing to beat on medium speed.  Continue to beat mixture for 7-8 minutes.  Remove bowl from heat and mix in the rum extract.  When the meringue has been brought to stiff peaks, the meringue is ready.

Assembly

To prepare the pineapple shell, the pineapple must be sliced and hollowed.  For a bowl-shaped shell, simply slice across the width of the pineapple below the leaves, leaving only the bottom portion to be hollowed out.  For a boat-shaped shell, slice across the entire length of the pineapple (my cookbook sliced through the leaves as well in order to make two boats with the halves, I chose to make one boat and leave the leaves in tact for a prettier presentation).  Using a sharp paring knife, slice around the inner perimeter of the halved pineapple (boat or bowl).  Cut the inner portion into cubes and, using a spoon or the knife, remove the cubes.  Scrape the inside of the hollowed pineapple to smooth out the inner-surface.  Place the hollowed bowl or boat shell(s) into the freezer to chill.  Any leftover pineapple should be cored and sliced.

In a small bowl, whisk together the following ingredients:
3 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon honey
½ tablespoon lemon juice

Pour the glaze over the sliced pineapple pieces and toss until coated.  The pineapple can, at this point, be grilled (over medium-low heat for about 3-5 minutes, turning once) or used as is.  If choosing to grill the pineapple, be sure to brush the pieces with the leftover glaze afterward as well.  Sprinkle the glazed pineapple pieces into the chilled pineapple shell(s) in a even layer along the bottom.  Scoop the set, frozen semifreddo into each shell directly on top of the layer of pineapple pieces.  The shell should be completely filled by a mound of the scoops of semifreddo.  Place filled shell(s) back into the freezer and prepare the meringue.

Transfer meringue into a pastry or plastic zip-top bag, (fitted with a large star tip, if desired).  Remove filled pineapple shells from freezer and pipe meringue  onto the top of the shell, completely covering any semifreddo or sliced pineapple pieces.  Brown the top of the meringue-covered pineapple shell using a kitchen torch, or place the dessert in the oven directly under a preheated broiler for 6-8 minutes, or until desired golden brown color has been achieved.  Serve immediately.

To serve,  scoop directly through the meringue down to the bottom of the shell to include pineapple pieces, ice cream and meringue into each serving.  It will be messy!  Garnish with an extra slice of grilled and/or glazed pineapple and a drizzle of honey.

April 27, 2011

Pineapple Sunshine On Easter Sunday

Even as a little girl, I was always “in charge” of providing the dessert at family gatherings for every birthday or holiday.  And even though the desserts have gotten more and more complex and dramatic over the years, my family was just as proud of and impressed with my box-mix concoctions back then as they are of the more labor-intensive treats I serve now.  One cake I can specifically remember making numerous times, as it was a family favorite and repeatedly requested, was the “Pineapple Sunshine Cake.”  It was a simple recipe involving a box of yellow cake mix and a can of crushed pineapple, and it was my sugary-sweet masterpiece.

As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I was unable to make it out to spend this Easter with my family this past weekend.  However, I was able to spend Easter Sunday with my little local church family.  Every Sunday morning I help run a nursery at a church in Alexandria, Virginia.  The congregation is super warm and friendly, and those with children are a tiny but tight-knit and family-oriented group that I’ve truly grown to love.  I look forward to seeing them and their beautiful children every week and wanted to share with them a little treat that reminds me of holidays with my family.

I decided to revamp the overly-sweet recipe from my childhood and make something a little more special and gourmet.  I  incorporated some vanilla bean and citrus into the sweet pineapple to make a refreshing and tropical-tasting treat.  I started with a pineapple chiffon cake recipe as a base, made it a little less stiff and a lot more moist, filled it with my very own pineapple-lemon curd, and topped it off with a sweet citrus buttercream.  As it was Easter, I decorated some of the cakes with lemon jellybeans and some with buttercream roses for spring.  I was very pleased with how the cakes turned out and was even more pleased to be able to provide an Easter treat to the families that I spend my Sunday mornings with.

Pineapple-Citrus Curd Cupcakes

Inspired by: Pineapple Sunshine Cake

Pineapple & Vanilla Bean Cakes

Adapted from Diana Rattray’s “Pineapple Chiffon Cake,” Southern Food

8 egg whites, room temperature             1 ¼ cup granulated sugar

2 cups all purpose flour                           5 egg yolks

1 tablespoon baking powder                   2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste

½ teaspoon salt                                      1 teaspoon orange zest

¼ cup unsalted butter, softened             ½ cup pineapple juice*

¼ cup vegetable oil                                 ¼ cup crushed pineapple*

-recipe yield: about 24 cupcakes

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line cupcake pans with paper liners.    In a very large bowl, whip all egg whites to stiff peaks, starting on a lower speed at first and increasing mixer speed as the whites start to stiffen.  Set bowl aside.  In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, and salt.  Set aside.

In another large bowl, cream together the butter, oil, and sugar until the sugar has dissolved into the mixture and is no longer grainy, about 5 minutes.  Add egg yolks one at a time, beating well after each addition.  While continuing to beat, add in vanilla bean seeds or paste until the vanilla flecks have distributed throughout the mixture.  Mix in the pineapple juice until incorporated.  When mixture is homogeneous, stir in the crushed pineapple and the orange zest.

In small, alternating batches, sift in about 1/3 of the dry ingredients, fold, and then fold in about 1/3 of the stiffened egg whites.  Continue folding in the sifted dry ingredients alternating with the egg whites until all have been gently incorporated.  Distribute the batter into the pans, filling each of the cupcake papers almost completely full (about 5/6 full).  Rotating the pans halfway through the cooking time, bake the cakes for a total of about 20 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center of a cake comes out clean.  Allow cakes to cool in the pans for about 15 minutes, and then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.

*To ensure even measuring of crushed pineapple and pineapple juice, I like to first empty the contents of a can of crushed pineapple into a strainer over a small bowl to collect as much juice as possible.  Then, I place only the crushed pineapple into a food processor fitted with a steel blade and pulse the fruit a few times to break it down further.  The finer-ground pineapple helps to infuse the flavor throughout the entire cake and adds a lot of texture, but without weighing down the entire cake.  Next, I put the ground, crushed pineapple through the strainer one more time, extracting even more juice, leaving only the fluffy pulp of the pineapple.

Pineapple-Lemon Curd

Adapted from Marlene Sorosky’s “Lemon Curd,” Easy Entertaining

6 egg yolks

zest of ½ lemon

1 cup pineapple juice

¼ cup lemon juice (2 lemons)

½ cup sugar

2 ¼ tablespoons cornstarch

¼ teaspoon salt

¼ cup unsalted cold butter, cut into small pieces

-recipe yield: about 2 ½ cups

In a small, heavy bottomed saucepan, lightly break apart egg yolks with a small whisk.  While whisking, add in the zest, fruit juices, sugar, salt, and cornstarch.  Place saucepan over medium heat and, using a wooden spoon or rubber spatula, constantly stir mixture for 4-6 minutes, or until it thickens up to the point where it coats the spoon and holds its shape when you run your finger across the spoon.

At this point, immediately remove the saucepan from heat.  Constantly stirring, gradually mix in small pieces of butter, allowing each piece to dissolve into the curd before adding the next piece.  Once all the butter has been added and the mixture is smooth, transfer the curd to a small bowl and continue to stir until it has cooled.

Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, allowing the plastic wrap to sag into the bowl and cover the entire surface of the curd so that the curd doesn’t develop a skin.  Store cooled, covered pineapple-lemon curd in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

Sweet Citrus Buttercream

Adapted from Wilton’s “Lemon Buttercream Frosting”

½ cup unsalted butter, room temperature           1 teaspoon lemon zest

½ cup vegetable shortening                                 ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract

1 ½ tablespoons lemon juice                                4 cups (about 1 pound) confectioner’s sugar

1 tablespoon pineapple juice                                1 tablespoon heavy cream

In large bowl, cream together butter and shortening until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.  Drizzle in fruit juices and zest and beat well. Gradually add sugar, ½ cup at a time, beating on medium speed and scraping sides of bowl often. After sugar has been incorporated, continue to beat the mixture while drizzling in heavy cream. Beat at medium speed until homogeneous and fluffy. Keep icing covered with a damp cloth until ready to use and, if needed, re-whip before using.

Optional Ingredients for decorating:

Yellow food coloring, sprinkles, jelly beans, etc.

Assembly:

Once cupcakes are completely cooled, I use an apple corer to remove the inside of each of the cakes and a pastry bag to fill the cakes with the pineapple-lemon curd.  Fill the cakes with as much of the curd as desired, rip off the bottom half of the removed piece of cupcake, and replace the top over the curd.

The sweet citrus buttercream can be gently spread on the cakes with a small spatula or piped on with a pastry or plastic bag.  Decorate as desired.

April 26, 2011

Passover pumperKugel

Having the passion for food that I do, I’m always eager to try new things and learn about the traditional foods from different backgrounds.  I’m lucky enough to have been exposed to an array of exciting and delicious Jewish foods, as well as the history and stories behind each dish, thanks to Evan’s grandmother.  I look forward to each and every holiday with Evan’s wonderful family and I enjoy so much spending time visiting with them and sharing in their family traditions.

My favorite of the many delectable dishes I’ve had with Evan’s family is undoubtedly the kugel.  A kugel is a sweet, noodle pudding that is normally served as a side dish (but can very easily pass as an indulgent dessert) during Passover.  Other versions of kugel start with a potato or sweet potato base, but Evan’s grandma’s luscious concoction of egg noodles, pineapple, and golden raisins has me convinced that noodles are the way to go.  Although I might miss her incredible candied sweet potatoes, I could easily be satisfied with a Passover feast composed of a plate filled with only kugel.

I’ve experimented with a couple different recipes in the past, but the kugel that I created for this year’s Passover was my best effort yet.  I incorporated pineapple and golden raisins as a tribute to Evan’s grandmother’s version, and even threw in a few bites of creamy, baked sweet potato in order to have both of my favorite of her dishes represented in the meal.  I topped it with ground cinnamon, just as she does, along with a salty-sweet matzo crumble, my own little twist.  Evan agreed that the kugel was the best of my previous attempts and described it as being delicious and extra “dessert-y” (Me? Dessert? Big surprise).  It may not be the most glamorous dish but, kugel doesn’t need any fancy frills or even a holiday to be delicious.

Sweet Potato Noodle Kugel

Inspired by: ‘Grandma’ Millie’s “Pineapple-Raisin Kugel”

Adapted from Andrea Marks Carneiro & Roz Marks’ “Apple-Raisin Noodle Kugel,” The Modern Girl’s Guide To Cooking Like A Jewish Grandmother

1 sweet potato

¼ cup unsalted butter, melted, divided

2 tablespoons plus ½ teaspoon granulated sugar, divided

½ teaspoon salt

12 ounces chunk pineapple (in juice)             ¼ teaspoon black pepper

¼ cup golden raisins                                      3 eggs

6 ounces egg noodles                                    ¼ cup heavy cream

½ cup cream cheese                                      1 teaspoon vanilla extract

½ cup sour cream                                           2 teaspoons cinnamon, divided

½ cup ricotta cheese                                      -recipe yield: about 5-8 servings

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and line a sheet tray with tin foil.  Peel and dice the sweet potato and place in a medium bowl.  Toss the diced potatoes with 1 tablespoon of the melted butter, ½ teaspoon sugar, ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon black pepper until potatoes are evenly coated.  Arrange coated potatoes in an even layer onto the lined tray and bake for about 10 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender.  Set aside to cool and reduce oven heat to 325 degrees.  Butter the bottom and sides a 2 ½-quart souffle dish and set aside.

Pour into a saucepan about ½ cup or so of the extracted pineapple juice.  Heat the juice over low-medium heat for a few minutes until warmed through.  Turn off the heat and pour the hot juice into a small glass bowl or mug.  Add in the golden raisins and allow them to rehydrate and soak in the juice for about 10 minutes, until they have slightly plumped.  Strain the raisins, discarding the juice, and in a small bowl, toss them together with the cooled sweet potatoes.  Slice each of the pineapple chunks in half and toss them with the potato-raisin mixture as well.

Bring to boil a large pot of lightly salted water.  Add egg noodles to the boiling water and cook until just tender for about 6-8 minutes, or according to package instructions.  Drain noodles and set aside.

In a large bowl, beat together the cream cheese and the remaining granulated sugar until fluffy and creamed.  Beat in ricotta cheese and sour cream until smooth.  Add eggs one at a time, beating thoroughly after each addition. Whisk in heavy cream, vanilla and 1 teaspoon of the ground cinnamon.  Gently stir in the pineapple-potato mixture.  Pour in the cooked, drained noodles and drizzle in the remaining 2 tablespoons of melted butter. Toss the entire mixture together until noodles are well coated.  Pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish.

Mazto Crumble Topping

This crisp-like topping is completely optional, as the kugel is divine on it’s own.  The crumble gives it a little extra crunch and salty-sweetness that can help balance out the ultra-richness of the noodle-pudding.

¼ cup whole grain (as this dish is so health concious) matzo meal*

2 tablespoons brown sugar

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

½ teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, very cold and cut into small pieces

Empty all ingredients into food processor and pulse until texture is crumbly, adding a teaspoon of cold water if necessary.  Sprinkle the crumble into an even layer onto the kugel before baking, and top with another teaspoon of ground cinnamon.**  Bake kugel at 325 degrees for about 30-40 minutes, or until it has set and the top is golden.

Allow kugel to cool and set for at least 15-20 minutes.  Kugel can be enjoyed warm or cold (both are delish, but Evan and I prefer it cold) and should be covered and stored in the refrigerator.

*Although the matzo made the dish much more Passover-traditional, I only used it because I had some leftover from the matzo ball soup I’d prepared earlier in the week.  The matzo meal can easily be substituted for flour.

**If choosing to omit the crumble topping, sprinkle the top of the kugel with an extra generous teaspoon of ground cinnamon before baking.