This is what I am making for New Year’s breakfast/brunch. It is fabulously decadent without being terrible for you. You need to like the taste of rum, because even after an hour in the oven, there will be a strong rum taste. I love the smell of this baking in the house, and as per my usual, it takes just a few quick minutes to throw together (plus the time needed to soak the cherries). You’ll want to put this together the day before you plan to serve it.
Dried Cherry Rum Strata (serves 6-8)
- 1 cup dark rum
- 1 cup dried sweetened cherries
- 10 eggs, lightly beaten
- 3 cups whole milk
- 3 tablespoons of sugar
- 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 large loaf Challah (or two small loaves) cut into 1-inch cubes (crust still on)
Place the dried cherries in a small bowl with the rum. Allow the cherries to soak for a minimum of one hour. They will be better if you let them soak for 2-3 hours.
Butter a 9×12 baking dish.
Place the cubed challah in the bottom of the baking dish until it forms a full layer. Using a slotted spoon remove the cherries from the rum. Sprinkle the cherries over the challah cubes.
In a small bowl mix together the sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg. Sprinkle half of the cinnamon sugar mixture over the challah cubes and the cherries. Layer the remaining challah cubes on top until your baking dish is full.
In a separate mixing bowl mix together the eggs, milk and the remaining rum that the cherries had been soaking in. Pour the egg, milk, and rum mixture over the challah. Gently press the bread cubes into the liquid. Sprinkle the second half of the cinnamon sugar mixture over the top.
Place the baking dish in the fridge and chill overnight.
The next morning pre-heat the over to 375 degrees. Take the baking dish out of the fridge 30 minutes before you plan to bake it. Bake at 375 for 50-60 minutes until the strata has cooked through. It should be puffed up and browned lightly on top. Check the strata after it cooks for 45 minutes. If the top is browning more than you would like, place a sheet of tin foil LOOSELY on top and allow the strata to continue cooking until it is completely cooked through. Serve immediately with a hot cup of coffee and the New York Times.