This is one of my favorite noodle kugels ever! Cooked fresh & dried cranberries are combined with toasted pecans & brown sugar, then swirled into creamy lowcal cheesecake-egg noodle mixture, then topped with a crunchy, buttery cornflake-brown sugar streusel. The flavors epitomize Fall, & the texture is better than cheesecake! You will be in Heaven! Serve this noodle kugel for Brunch, as a vegetarian main dish with a savory salad, for Thanksgiving…it’s perfect for Tailgating! Serve this dish warm, room temperature or cold…it’s delicious all three ways!
Cranberry Pecan Cheesecake Noodle Kugel with Cornflake Streusel
Author: Lisa Newsome
Recipe type: Vegetarian dish/brunch/sweet side dish/Jewish holiday food
3 cups fresh or frozen cranberries
1 cup light cranberry juice
1 cup dried cranberries
1½ cups brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 sticks Smart Balance butter
1½ cup pecan pieces
1-12 ounce bag wide egg noodles
2 cups nonfat sour cream
2 cups cottage or nonfat ricotta cheese
16 ounces lite cream cheese, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla paste
nonstick cooking spray
4 cups cornflakes
½ cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 stick unsalted butter
Pour the cranberries & cranberry juice into a saucepan (a). Bring the cranberries to a boil over medium-high heat. Once the cranberries begin to "pop", reduce the heat to low, & simmer for 10-15 minutes (b). Mix in the dried cranberries, & allow to simmer for an additional 5 minutes. Add the brown sugar, cinnamon & 1 stick of butter, mixing until the sugar has dissolved & the butter has melted.
Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 300º. Spread the pecans on a baking sheet and toast until the pecans become fragrant & toasted, about 10 minutes (a). Add to the cranberry-brown sugar mixture (b). You can also make this a day or two ahead of time.
In a food processor or blender, add the sour cream & cottage/ricotta cheese. Blend until smooth. Add the cream cheese, one at a time, blending till smooth. Break the eggs, one a time, mixing for a few seconds until the mixture is again smooth. Add the vanilla paste & blend for a few seconds more.
In a 2-quart saucepan, bring salted water to a boil. Pour in the entire bag of egg noodles, reduce the heat slightly & cook the noodles until tender, about 10 minutes. Drain the noodles, return to the saucepan, and add the second stick of butter, stirring to coat the noodles. The butter will melt in the hot noodles.
Pour the cheese mixture over the noodles, mixing well until thoroughly combined.
Add the cranberry-pecan mixture, again mixing until thoroughly combined.
Preheat your oven to 350º. Spray a 4-quart casserole with nonstick cooking spray. Pour the noodle kugel into the casserole dish, being sure to smooth the top...you are almost done!
In a medium-size bowl, add the cornflakes, then simply "crush" the cornflakes with your hands. Add the brown sugar & cinnamon, mixing well to combine.
Melt the stick of butter in the microwave for 30-45 seconds, just until melted. Pour the butter over the cornflake mixture, tossing well. Sprinkle the cornflake streusel over the top of the noodle kugel. Place on a baking sheet, and place in the oven. Bake for 1 hour.
When the noodle kugel is done, the the streusel will be golden brown & crispy. Allow to sit at room temperature until ready to serve....enjoy!
...if using a butter substitute, try Earth Balance vegan buttery sticks...delicious... ...Vitamix® is a great blender......I cannot say enough good things about it... ...I really like a deep casserole dish for this recipe...locally, Carolyn Todd's carries the Calaisio line, beautifully handwoven pieces, including casserole serving holders for Pyrex dishes......you will never been embarrassed again at a potluck......everyone will want to know where you purchased that great-looking serving dish......Calaisio is super-durable & heat-resistant......online merchants who carry an extensive inventory of Calaisio include The Polished Plate...this really is a party kugel...I have served this many times for smaller groups of guests, and you truly will have leftovers, which you will love the next day for breakfast...this is delicious cold, but I really prefer making it the day that I am going to serve it, as noodle kugel is always best straight out of the oven...to me, anyway...