• Potato pudding (Kūgelis) (Baltic by Simon Bajada)

This is the ultimate comfort food and an iconic Lithuanian dish.

Serves
6

Preparation

40min

Cooking

1hr
30min

Skill level

Easy
By
No votes yet
Yum

Very similar to the Ashkenazi Jewish dish kugel, from which it is almost certainly derived, it is also typically made from potato. It is important that you use particularly starchy ones here – if you can’t find any, then add some cornflour (cornstarch) to the mix as it’s important that everything binds together well.

The perfect potato pudding is soft and fluffy, though many home cooks hold their own opinion on whether you should strain off the liquid when  grating the potatoes, which gives a drier result, or keep the liquid, resulting in a moister dish. Both are good, it is simply a matter of taste. Commonly served with apple or lingonberry preserves, this also tastes delicious reheated.

Ingredients

  • 140 g (5 oz) smoked bacon, diced
  • 75 ml (2½ fl oz) full-cream (whole) milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 150 g (5½ oz) onions
  • 800 g (1 lb 12 oz) starchy potatoes (such as coliban, desiree or russet), peeled
  • 1 tsp salt
  • large pinch of white pepper
  • 25 g (1 oz) butter

To serve

  • apple or lingonberry jam
  • sour cream
  • salted cucumber salad

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.

Instructions

1. In a frying pan over a medium heat, sauté the bacon until it is just brown. Pour in the milk (being sure not to drain off the bacon fat) and remove from the heat.

2. Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F).

3. Whisk the eggs in a large bowl. Set aside. Using a box grater or a food processor fitted with the fine grater attachment, grate the onions and potatoes (this will be a lot of work manually, so if you have a machine, use it!). Add the grated vegetables to the bowl with the whisked eggs and stir to combine, then pour over the bacon and milk mixture and mix everything together well. Season with the salt and white pepper.

4. Melt the butter in a cast-iron frying pan or rub it over a roasting tin to evenly coat the bottom and sides. Pour the pudding mixture into the pan or tin and bake in the oven for 1¼ hours, or until lightly golden. Serve with apple or lingonberry jam, sour cream and salad.

 

Recipe and photography from Baltic by Simon Bajada (Hardie Grant, RRP $50)