Cranberry Cardamom Strata

by Rachel on October 20, 2010

Morning Comfort Food.

I love feeding Strata to weekend visitors.  I can make the dish in advance and put it in the fridge overnight.  It is best served right out of the oven.  Leftovers will taste just fine but will be less light and fluffy and will look a bit deflated.  This strata is much like French Toast except you can make it ahead and it doesn’t require being fried in butter so it has much less fat.

Cranberry Cardamom Strata (serves 8-10)

  • 12-14 slices Brioche or Challah cut into 1-inch cubes
  • ¾ cup dried cranberries
  • 1 teaspoon cardamom
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 14 eggs
  • 3 cups of milk (I use 2% – whole milk will make it much more lush, and of course, more caloric)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • ½ cup Amaretto

You could easily cut this recipe in half and put it in a 9×9 pan instead.  I leave the crusts on the bread because I hate throwing them out.  The Strata will be a bit more elegant without the crusts.  If you compost, or have birds to feed, I’ll allow you to cut the crusts off – but if you’re just going to throw them out I may cry.

Lightly butter a 9×14-inch baking dish.

Spread half of the bread cubes evenly in the bottom of the pan.  Sprinkle the dried cranberries over the bread.  Mix the cardamom and sugar together in a small bowl. Sprinkle over the bread cubes. Sprinkle the remaining bread cubes into the pan.

In a mixing bowl beat the eggs.  Add the milk, vanilla, and Amaretto.  Mix well.  Pour the egg/milk/Amaretto mixture over the bread cubes.  Press the cubes gently down into the liquid.  Don’t SMASH them.  You’re just trying to encourage them to soak up the yummy liquid, not beat them into submission.  Place the pan in the fridge for a minimum of two hours, or overnight.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Remove the pan from the fridge 15-20 minutes before you are going to put it in the oven.  Bake at 350 degrees for 50-60 minutes until the strata is puffed and the eggs are solid (not runny).  If the top starts to get too brown before it is done, lay a piece of tin foil loosely over the top of the pan.  This will allow the strata to continue to cook but will keep the top from drying out too much.

Serve with maple syrup.  Total comfort food.

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