I'm always on the lookout for different breakfast and brunch ideas. I like to serve this easy make-ahead casserole when we have out-of-town guests. —Jill Middleton, Baldwinsville, New York
- 1 loaf (1 pound) cinnamon bread, cubed
- 1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, cubed
- 8 eggs, lightly beaten
- 2-1/2 cups 2% milk
- 6 tablespoons butter, melted
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- CIDER SYRUP:
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 4 teaspoons cornstarch
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 cup apple cider
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons butter
- Arrange half of the bread cubes in a greased 13-in. x 9-in. baking dish. Layer with cream cheese and remaining bread. In a blender, combine the eggs, milk, butter and maple syrup; cover and process until smooth. Pour over bread. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
- Remove from the refrigerator 30 minutes before baking. Bake, uncovered, at 350° for 35-40 minutes or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.
- For syrup, in a small saucepan, combine the sugar, cornstarch and cinnamon. Gradually whisk in cider and lemon juice. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Stir in butter until melted. Serve warm with strata. Yield: 8 servings (1 cup syrup).
Originally published as French Toast Strata in Taste of Home's Holiday & Celebrations Cookbook Annual 2001, p162
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