Kugel, as my Grandmother Florries would call it, is “one of the greats”—a time-honored, well-loved and respected recipe. Kugel in Israel is somewhat different from the kugel we eat here in the United States. In Israel, they are made so they can be eaten at a dairy or meat meal. The kugel I was raised on was filled with the creamiest of ingredients that could send you into a cloud. It’s a glorious casserole. (Kugel really means “casserole.”)

I am sharing with you my method for a classic custard kugel. I put mine into a springform pan and make it look like a cheesecake.

Because Shavuot comes in the month of May, I will be making a “May is for mangoes” kugel and a strawberry-fig kugel. Even though we will be using a base foundation for the kugel, the fruit you use will seep in and transform the flavor. Baked mangoes happen to be thrilling when resting on a custard sensation. Have fun with this. I did!

Kugel 2_edited
(Photo: Marjorie Druker)

Classic Custard Kugels With Fruit Varieties: May-Is-for-Mangoes and Strawberry-Fig


  • Classic custard kugel base:
  • 1 pound wide noodles, cooked
  • 2 sticks butter, melted
  • 8 ounces cream cheese
  • 16 ounces sour cream
  • 1 pound farmer cheese or ricotta cheese
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • May-is-for-mangoes topping:
  • 4-5 mangoes, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • Strawberry-fig topping:
  • 1 pound strawberries
  • Juice from 1 orange
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 10-12 fresh figs, halved


  1. Toss cooked noodles in the melted butter in a large bowl and set aside.
  2. Combine all the ingredients and add to the buttered noodles.
  3. Grease a springform pan and place your custard in it. Make sure it’s tight so it will not leak.
  4. Add your toppings.
  5. For May-is-for-mangoes kugel, top with mangoes and sprinkle with the sugar.
  6. For strawberry-fig kugel, make the strawberry topping: In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, add strawberries, squeeze an orange over them, then add the sugar and cornstarch. Stir constantly until it looks like pie filling, about 5-7 minutes. Place the figs on top of the kugel, then add the juicy strawberries.
  7. Place on a cookie sheet in a 350-degree oven and cook for 50 minutes. Let cool and refrigerate before removing and serving so that you get a solid noodle kugel.