Although my maternal grandmother was never labeled “a great cook,” she did make a fabulous noodle pudding and it’s the only one I make for my family. Actually, this noodle pudding is so good that my family craves it, thus I make it, at other times during the year. (And, as you can see by the picture, I often double it!) If you’ve never had noodle pudding, it’s a very soothing side dish that’s as comfortable when served as an accompaniment to a simple roast chicken, as it is when ringing in a sweet New Year. I know my Nana would be so proud to know that her only great recipe was being applauded and embraced by you and your family. For me, this dish is more than delicious. It represents a cherished part of my childhood memories. For the most uniform slices, after cooking, it’s best to allow the assembled noodle mixture to chill, overnight, before baking and always let the cooked pudding settle for a full ten minutes, before cutting it into squares.
- Boiling water, to cook the noodles
- About 1 1/2 tablespoons melted unsalted butter, for brushing, plus 1 stick (1/2 cup) melted butter, for the noodle pudding
- Salt, as needed, for the cooking water
- 1 pound (16 ounces) commercially dried, wide egg noodles
- 1 pound container creamy cottage cheese
- 1 pound container sour cream
- 1 cup mixed, light and dark raisins
- 3 extra-large eggs, lightly beaten
- 1 1/2 cups milk or half and half
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
To set up
Fill an 8-quart pot with cold water and bring it to a rapid boil, over high heat. Use a pastry brush to apply some melted butter to the inside of a 9 x 13-inch (preferably glass) baking dish and set the dish aside.
To assemble the noodle pudding
Melt the remaining stick of butter, over medium heat, and remove it from the stove. Add some salt to the boiling water and cook the noodles, according to directions on the package, undercooking slightly. Drain the noodles well and put them into a large mixing bowl. Add the melted butter, along with the cottage cheese, sour cream and raisins, to the bowl of noodles, and fold together well. Pour this mixture into the buttered baking dish, spreading it out evenly. Cover the dish well and refrigerate it for a minimum of 4 hours, preferably overnight and up to 2 days.
To assemble the custard topping
Combine the lightly beaten eggs with the milk or half and half, sugar and vanilla. One hour before you plan to bake, remove the baking dish from the refrigerator and, after removing the cover, pour the custard over the noodle layer and leave the dish out, at a comfortable room temperature, uncovered.
Preheat the oven to 375oF. Bake the noodle pudding for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until the topping is set and golden brown. Remove the pudding from the oven and let it settle, for 10 minutes, before cutting it into squares and serving hot.
Timing is Everything
The noodle pudding can be assembled, but not baked, up to two days ahead and kept refrigerated, well covered.
The custard can be assembled early in the day and kept refrigerated, well covered, until you apply it to the top of the dish.