Strawberry Banana Strata

Posted on July 3, 2013

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I know. I know. It’s been awhile. Hopefully this recipe helps make up for that just a little.

I had strawberries, I had bread, and I needed a breakfast that would be awesome but leave me with most of my morning to do other things. Enter the strata. All the prep work happens the night before, so all you need to do in the morning is pop it in the oven. A strata is sort of a breakfasty bread pudding or a casseroley French toast. It’s perfect for days when you have house guests, or just feel like waking up to heat-and-serve deliciousness. This recipe is for a sweet fruity strata, but you could easily drop the fruit and spices and layer with cheese or bacon, or whatever suits your fancy really.

Ingredients:

  • 8oz Italian (or other chewy non-sandwich) bread
  • 3 cups milk (I used coconut)
  • 8 eggs
  • 1 pint strawberries
  • 1 large banana (you can use two if you loooove bananas)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • maple syrup, for topping

Get out a 2 quart casserole dish and lightly grease it. You can use a slightly larger one but the finished strata won’t be quite as poofy and impressive. I do not recommend using a smaller one, it will just be a giant mess. If your bread is unsliced, slice it. Divide the slices into two piles. Remove the green tops from your strawberries and slice them in half. Peel the banana(s) and slice. In a large mixing bowl combine eggs, milk, vanilla, spices, and salt. Whisk everything together until well combined. Lay half of your bread in the bottom of the casserole in one layer. Don’t be afraid to tear a slice or two into pieces to fill in the corners. Lay out half the strawberries and bananas on top of the bread in a single layer. Repeat with the remaining bread and fruit. Now get out a plate, large Tupperware, or cakesaver and place the casserole in/on it. You want something with raised edges because this next bit is going to be messy. Slowly pour the egg and milk mixture into the casserole. It looks like it won’t fit but most of it will. Just go slow or your batter will just pour out of the sides. A little of it will anyway, but that’s why you put it in a container before you started pouring. Now, put the lid on your container or lightly cover the casserole. Put the whole thing in the fridge and leave it sit overnight.

Get up and turn your oven to 350. While it’s preheating get out your maple syrup and set it on the counter. This way (assuming you normally keep it in the fridge) it will have time to come to room temperature while the strata bakes. Then get out the oldest, ugliest cookie sheet you own, just make sure it has raised edges, because stratas like to ooze while they bake. Take the casserole out of whatever container you have it in and place it uncovered on the cookie sheet. Now put the whole thing in the oven and go have some coffee, tea, or a shower. Or make other delicious things. You’ve got time, it has to bake for an hour and a half. Try not to peek too much, it will be fine on it’s own. When the strata is golden brown and all puffed up pull it out and set it on the stove-top. It might be hard, but try to wait ten minutes before you start serving. It will hold together much better. Top each portion with maple syrup and enjoy the custardy goodness.

This dish will feed four really hungry people even if you don’t serve anything else. It will serve six or more if you have other items at your awesome breakfast.

The casserole will be pretty full even before you add the liquids.

The casserole will be pretty full even before you add the liquids.

Mix your liquids thoroughly for a really creamy finished dish.

Mix your liquids thoroughly for a really creamy finished dish.

The casserole will now be ridiculously full. Be very careful when transferring to the fridge.

The casserole will now be ridiculously full. Be very careful when transferring to the fridge.

In the morning the bread will have absorbed most of the liquid.

In the morning the bread will have absorbed most of the liquid.

The finished strata will rise a couple of inches above the edge of your casserole.

The finished strata will rise a couple of inches above the edge of your casserole.

Yum.

Yum.

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Posted in: Cooking, Recipes