Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Carrot Kugel

(Amended 4-5-07)

4 eggs, separated
½ cup sugar
1 cup tightly packed grated carrots
¼ cup shredded peeled apple
¼ cup sweet red wine
2 tablespoons lemon juice
½ teaspoon grated lemon rind
1/3 cup potato starch
grease for the casserole

In a large mixing bowl, beat the egg yolks with the sugar until light. Add the grated carrots, shredded apple, wine, lemon juice and rind, and the potato starch. Blend well. In another bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff; fold them into the yolk mixture. Turn into a well-greased 1½-quart casserole. Bake for 35 minutes in a preheated 375o F oven or until nicely puffed and set. Serve hot or cold. Serves 6.

The Complete Passover Cookbook, Frances R. AvRutick, New York: Jonathan David Publishers, Inc. (1981).

My friend Barrett has been providing his delicious carrot kugel for the Seder we host for the past several years, but this year, with him in South Africa and us in Clearwater to be with my folks, Barrett would not be bringing his kugel to our Seder. Fortunately, Barrett is a kind soul, and e-mailed the recipe (shown above). What with the 22-person Seder the following night, that meant doing a triple batch. In the hands of an experienced baker, this recipe wouldn't be anything special, but with Kathy committed to making her amazing matzo balls, Mom and I attacked it.

First we needed to overcome the fact that potato starch wasn't available at either of the supermarkets near where the folks lived. We substituted potato pancake mix, as potato starch is the second ingredient in the mix (behind potatoes). Grating carrots was done in the blender, but the baby carrots on top didn't get grated, so after a few rounds of putting a few carrots in a time, I decided to put more in, pushing the ones on top down with a wooden spoon. Consequently, we had a dash of wood chip in our version. Neither Mom nor I know how to separate egg yolks, so Kathy stepped in, and got us our egg whites. Unfortunately, she hadn't read the recipe, and assumed that we didn't also need the egg yolks, and so dumped them. To the store she went for more eggs. While she was out, sans cell phone, we took the one lemon that Dad had bought and discovered it didn't produce enough rind or juice. Upon Kathy's return, she repeated the egg separation process, and we added the sugar to the whites. Mom had trouble getting the mixture to the right consistency, so Kathy proceeded to mix it, accidentally spilling a good chunk of it right around the time I realized that the sugar should have been mixed in with the yolks rather than the whites.

After all that, we shrugged, said we did the best we could, or even if not, we weren't up for throwing everything out and starting from scratch. Into the oven the kugel went, we handled the baking time without incident, and it was served to great acclaim at the Seder. Sadly, we could only provide a semblance of the recipe to the folks who asked for it.

I know there's a moral we should have gotten from this experience, but I'm having trouble figuring out what it is. Regardless, Happy Passover.