Sweet Kugel With Bechamel & Pumpkin Spice Recipe

Featuring Cointreau, bacon and just enough brown sugar

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It's always a good time for a baked pasta dish—especially one spiked with Cointreau, bacon and brown sugar. Kugel, a Jewish casserole that can be either sweet or savory, is particularly delicious on a cold winter night (read: Hannukah). This version comes from notable Israeli-born chef Alon Shaya, whose use of pumpkin pie spice makes the dish even cozier than it was before. It's just a taste of what you'll find in his eponymous cookbook, one of the best cookbooks to hit shelves this year.

Recipe from Shaya: An Odessey of Food, My Journey Back to Israel by Alon Shaya

Pumpkin Spice Kugel
3 from 38 ratings
Get the recipe for pumpkin spice kugel, a sweet pasta casserole dish popular in Jewish cuisine, from Israeli-born chef Alon Shaya.
Prep Time
Cook Time
to 10 servings
Total time: 2 hours, 20 minutes
  • 12 tablespoons (1½ sticks) unsalted butter, divided, plus more for the pan
  • 2 yellow onions, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
  • Zest of 1 orange
  • ½ cup orange juice
  • ¼ cup Cointreau
  • 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons Morton kosher salt, divided
  • 1½ teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 3 tablespoons plus 1 cup all-purpose flour, divided
  • 2 cups milk
  • ¼ cup honey
  • 10 ounces bacon, finely chopped
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • ⅓ cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 4 quarts water, plus more for a water bath
  • 1 pound dry fusilli noodles
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar, plus more for dusting
  • 1½ cups sour cream
  1. Heat the oven to 350°F with a rack in the bottom. Pull out a 13-by-9-inch baking dish or a 2-to-3-quart casserole dish as well as a larger, deep roasting pan that will hold it; set them both aside for later.
  2. To make the orange béchamel: Combine 8 tablespoons of the butter in a saucepan with the onions and ginger over medium-low heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are soft and translucent but no color has formed, 15 minutes or so. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the orange zest and juice, Cointreau, 2 teaspoons of the salt, and the pumpkin pie spice. Return it to medium-low heat and simmer for 5 minutes or so, until most of the liquid has reduced.
  3. Use a whisk to gradually incorporate 3 tablespoons of the flour, then whisk in the milk and honey. Bring the sauce to a simmer and continue to cook for 10 minutes, whisking frequently to ensure that it doesn't stick to the bottom of the pan. Remove from the heat and cool completely.
  4. Fry the bacon in a skillet over medium heat, stirring frequently. After about 10 minutes, when the fat has rendered and the bacon is golden and crisp around the edges, stir in the pecans and toast them in the bacon's fat for another 2 minutes or so. Take the pan off the heat and add the brown sugar and remaining 4 tablespoons butter. Stir until all the butter melts and set aside. Once it's cooled to room temperature, carefully stir in the remaining flour until it's thoroughly combined.
  5. In a large pot, combine the water with the remaining 2 tablespoons salt and bring to a boil over high heat. Cook the pasta until it's fully tender (softer than al dente) but not falling apart, 10 or 11 minutes. Strain and reserve.
  6. With a handheld mixer or a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, beat the whole eggs, yolks, and granulated sugar together on high speed for about 5 minutes, pausing occasionally to scrape the sides of the bowl. You're looking for the mixture to be pale and thick; when you lift the beater, it should fall in ribbons and not drip. Mix in the sour cream until it's fully incorporated, then do the same with the orange béchamel. Fold in the cooked pasta by hand.
  7. Grease the casserole dish with butter and coat the inside with a thin, even layer of granulated sugar, shaking out any excess. Pour in the noodles and evenly spread the bacon and pecan mixture over the top. Set this dish into the larger roasting pan and pour hot water all around it so comes about halfway up the sides. Bake for about 1 hour, until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean and dry. Kugel can be served warm from the oven, at room temperature, or straight out of the fridge, and it will keep for a couple of days.
Calories per Serving 766
Total Fat 44.2 g
Saturated Fat 18.9 g
Trans Fat 0.6 g
Cholesterol 155.4 mg
Total Carbohydrates 74.1 g
Dietary Fiber 3.7 g
Total Sugars 26.7 g
Sodium 1,560.5 mg
Protein 17.0 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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