This creamy sweet potato-based kugel, which comes topped with a pecan crumble, is representative of how Jewish communities in the American South incorporated local ingredients and flavors into traditional Ashkenazi dishes.
Reprinted with permission from The Jewish Cookbook, by Leah Koenig (Phaidon Press, 2019).
For the kugel:
- 3 pounds sweet potatoes (about 3 medium)
- 1 large Granny Smith apple, peeled and grated on the large holes of a box grater
- 2 Tbsp light brown sugar
- 3 eggs, lightly beaten
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp finely grated orange zest
- 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
For the topping:
- 4 Tbsp unsalted butter or coconut oil, melted
- 1 1/2 cups pecans, roughly chopped
- 1/2 packed cup light brown sugar
- 3 Tbsp all-purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Prick the sweet potatoes in several places with a fork and place on a large, rimmed baking sheet. Roast until the flesh can be easily pierced with a knife, about 1 hour. Remove from oven, cut in half to facilitate cooling, and let cool to the touch. Scoop flesh into a large bowl, discarding the skin, and mash well with a potato masher. (This step can be completed up to a day in advance.)
- Lower oven temperature to 350 degrees F and grease a 9-inch square baking pan. Combine mashed sweet potato, apple, brown sugar, eggs, flour, orange zest, salt, and pepper in a bowl and mix well. Spread mixture into the prepared baking pan.
- Stir together the melted butter, pecans, brown sugar, flour, and salt in a medium bowl. Sprinkle evenly over the kugel. Bake, uncovered, until kugel sets and lightly browns around the edges, 35 to 40 minutes.