Recipe by Dan Pashman

Tangy Labne Noodle Kugel with Persimmon Relish

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Dairy Dairy
Easy Easy
12 Servings
1 Hour, 45 Minutes

Combining savory and sweet can be wonderful, but it requires a commitment to contrast. Cottage cheese and sour cream are too mild to elicit oohs and aahs on their own, leaving the middling sweetness of most kugels with no counterweight.

Inspired by a labne appetizer with persimmon mostarda at one of my favorite New York restaurants, chef Ayesha Nurdjaja’s Shuka, I had an idea: replace the cottage cheese in kugel with labne, the tangy, thick, strained yogurt that’s used across the Middle East. Then drizzle the whole thing with a dreamy fruit relish, to provide the dish’s traditional sweetness while ensuring there is no chance my kugel comes out dry.

I love it. Instead of vaguely savory with slightly sweet, you have salty tang mashed up with syrupy goodness. And there’s great textural variation, with the crispy bits of browned surface noodles and the creamy, custardy interior. The contrasting elements of this kugel take strong stands in your mouth, setting off fireworks of sensation that may give bagels and lox a run for its money.

For the first time in my life, I’m excited to eat kugel.



  • 16 ounces (2 cups) plain whole-milk labne or Greek yogurt

  • 1 cup buttermilk [Ed: Or, if you can’t find buttermilk, add 1 tablespoon vinegar to a measuring cup and add milk until the liquid reaches the 1-cup line. Let sit for 5 minutes to curdle.]

  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice or Gefen Lemon Juice


  • 1 and 1/2 pounds ripe but firm Fuyu persimmons (4 to  6 persimmons; or other fruit, see note)

  • 2 tablespoons Gefen Honey

  • 1 tablespoon finely grated fresh ginger

  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons unsalted butter

  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice or Gefen Lemon Juice

  • 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard


Prepare the Kugel


Bring four quarts of water and two tablespoons of the salt to a boil in a large pot. If baking right away, place an oven rack in the middle position and heat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Coat the bottom and sides of a 9-by 13-inch baking dish with one tablespoon of the oil and set aside. Add the noodles to the boiling water and cook for three minutes less than the low end of the package instructions, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking. Drain and let cool for at least five minutes.


Meanwhile, in a very large bowl, combine the eggs, sour cream, labne, buttermilk, remaining four tablespoons (1/4 cup) of oil, the lemon juice, and the remaining two and a half teaspoons of salt and use an immersion blender to puree the mixture until completely smooth. (Alternatively, blend the ingredients in a blender or food processor and transfer to a very large bowl. You can also whisk vigorously by hand, but the other options yield silkier results.)


Add the noodles to the bowl with the custard mixture and stir well to coat. (It will be very loose and soupy at this point.) Transfer to the prepared dish, scraping out the bowl, and spread into an even layer. (At this point the kugel can sit, covered, at room temperature for up to two hours or be refrigerated for up to 12 hours. If refrigerating, allow the kugel to sit on the counter for one hour to take the chill off before baking, and note that it may take longer to cook.)


Bake until slightly puffed and a paring knife or toothpick inserted near the center of the kugel comes out mostly dry with a few curds or streaks of dairy, 40 to 50 minutes. (The center of the kugel should register 160 to 165 degrees Fahrenheit.) Leaving the kugel on the middle rack, heat the broiler to high and broil until the pieces of pasta sticking up are golden brown, two to four minutes (watch closely while broiling to prevent burning). Let cool for at least 20 minutes before slicing and serving.


Some egg noodles are sold in one-pound (16-ounce) packages, but they’re often sold in 12-ounce packages. I don’t know why, but it’s annoying. While some kugel recipes call for 12 ounces, I think 16 ounces is better because it means more pasta will pile up above the liquid line in the baking pan, and those are the bits of pasta that will turn crispy golden brown in the oven. If all the pasta is submerged, you don’t get that. And if you reduce the amount of liquid, the kugel will lose height and be more prone to drying out. So you really want 16 ounces of pasta, and if it means you have to buy two 12-ounce packages, you’ll find a use for the extra eight ounces. Egg noodles cook very quickly, so you can drop them raw into any soup or stew and they’ll be ready almost instantly.

Prepare the Persimmon Relish


While the kugel bakes, make the relish : Peel the persimmons, removing the leaves and any tough pieces around the stem and core, then chop the flesh into half-inch pieces (you should have about two cups).


In a medium saucepan, combine 3/4 cup water, the persimmons, honey, ginger, butter, salt, and pepper and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Simmer, stirring and adjusting the heat as necessary to prevent scorching, until the liquid has thickened and become syrupy and the persimmons are tender but still hold their shape, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the lemon juice and mustard. Serve warm with the kugel. (The relish can be made up to three days in advance; just warm it in a pan or microwave before serving. The relish yields two cups.)


Fuyu persimmons can be replaced with a similar variety of persimmon known as Sharon fruit, but don’t use Hachiya persimmons (the taller oblong ones shaped more like Red Delicious apples), which are very astringent and take forever to ripen. You can also replace the persimmons with stone fruit like peaches, plums, apricots, mangoes, or cherries, or berries, apples, pears, or even dried fruit, but you may need to make some adjustments. If using dried fruit, you’ll need more water; tart fruit may need more honey and less lemon juice; and pay attention to the visual cues in the recipe more than the actual time: a softer fruit like apples may not need the full 15 to 20 minutes to soften. The good news is, this recipe is very forgiving and you can taste and adjust as you go.


From the book ANYTHING’S PASTABLE by Dan Pashman. Copyright 2024 by Dan Pashman. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers.

Photography by Dan Liberti

Recipe developed with Nathalie Christian

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Tangy Labne Noodle Kugel with Persimmon Relish

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