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Challah kugel with dried cherries and almonds

Challah kugel with dried cherries and almonds
Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times

Imagine turning Tax Day into a holiday. That's what happened with Tu Bishvat, the 15th day of the Jewish month of Shvat, which is Thursday. During the time of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem, Tu Bishvat was the date for ... Read more

Total time: 2 hours | Serves 6
  • 6 ounces (4 thick slices or 1/4 of a 24-ounce challah) day-old or stale challah (egg bread)
  • 2 cups almond milk
  • 1/2 cup sugar, divided
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, divided
  • 1 large apple (about 1/2 pound), such as Fuji or Golden Delicious
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest (from about 1 lemon)
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup dried cherries, halved if large
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped almonds
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds
  • 2 tablespoons butter, cut in small bits

Step 1Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 6-cup baking dish.

Step 2Leave the top crust on the bread if you like it. Remove the remaining crust. Cut the bread in bite-size cubes and put them in a medium bowl; you should have about 4 1/2 cups.

Step 3In a small saucepan bring the almond milk to a simmer. Remove from heat and pour the hot milk over the bread. Stir to moisten all the pieces. Set aside until the bread absorbs most of the milk, about 7 minutes.

Step 4In a small bowl, mix 1 tablespoon sugar with one-half teaspoon cinnamon. Reserve this to use as the topping.

Step 5Peel and quarter the apple. Cut the core from each piece, and slice each piece crosswise into very thin slices; you will have about 1 1/2 cups.

Step 6Whisk the eggs with the remaining 7 tablespoons sugar in a medium bowl. Add the lemon zest, salt and remaining one-half teaspoon cinnamon and whisk to blend.

Step 7Mash the bread with a fork. Stir in the egg mixture; the batter may look separated, but it will come together later. Stir in the apple pieces, cherries and chopped almonds. Mix well.

Step 8Transfer the batter to the baking dish. Sprinkle it with the sliced almonds, then with the reserved cinnamon-sugar mixture. Scatter the butter pieces over the top.

Step 9Bake the kugel until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out dry, about 45 minutes. Cool for about 5 minutes before serving. Serve it hot or warm.

Note: If you like, serve each portion of the kugel with a spoonful of sour cream and a few dried cherries. Instead of using almond milk, you can prepare this kugel with milk or soy milk.


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