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Kugel Yerushalmi - problems with caramelizing sugar

  • m
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I made kugel yerushalmi, a noodle pudding, for Rosh Hashanah.

The recipe calls for heating oil in a saucepan over low heat, adding sugar, stirring until dissolved and then not stirring and allowing to cook until dark brown.

I heated the oil, added the sugar and stirred and stirred and stirred. It never dissolved and remained visibly grainy. It did eventually start to brown properly, but instead of having what I think I was supposed to have, a brown liquid made of oil and carmelized sugar, I ended up with oil with hard clumps of carmelized sugar.

I made the rest of the recipe by adding cooked noodles, salt, pepper and lightly beaten eggs and turning into a dish and baking. The clumps of sugar must have melted and dispersed somewhat, because the end result did not have discernible clumps of sugar and it tasted pretty good, but I suspect that if things had worked the way I think they were supposed to, it would have been even better: not quite so oily and with a well dispersed and perhaps more prominent cooked sugar flavor.

Any thoughts on getting the sugar to dissolve? Slightly higher heat? Bar sugar instead of regular granulated?

Thanks.

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  1. Each time I see a person with a sugar problem I have to ask, as many of you know, are you using pure cane sugar? If the package does not say "Pure Cane" or 100% Cane you have beet sugar and it is not going to work as well. Caramel is especially a problem. Caramel was where I first became aware of the problem. Bypass the bargain sugar and go for the good stuff.

    1. I made this as well from the the recipe that appeared in the NY Times recently.

      I heated the pan (a large All-Clad stainless) on medium heat and then added the sugar and the oil at the same time and stirred and stirred and stirred. In about 20 minutes or so, the sugar had dissolved. I don't have any idea what kind of sugar I used -- it was just whatever was in my cabinet, nothing special.

      I gotta say, I hated this thing. I'm not sure exactly what it was supposed to be like, and a bunch of people at dinner seemed to like it, but I thought it was awful (and I'm not picky!).

      Dinner was at my sister's place that night and as soon as I got home, I threw the recipe in the garbage.

      1 Reply
      1. re: valerie

        Thanks for the technique. I'll try it that way next time.

        Sorry you didn't like it. The idea is the contrast between the dark, sweet flavor of the caramelized sugar and the heat of the pepper. I didn't try the NYT recipe, so I don't know how its proportions work out. I do think the appeal of the dish is specific to people who like hot and sweet together, which definitely isn't everyone.

      2. b
        babette feasts

        Maybe caramelize the sugar first and then add the oil?