orange cream strataServes 12

12 ounces cream cheese
1 1/2 teaspoons finely grated orange zest and 1/4 cup juice from a large orange
9 large eggs
3 cups half and half
2 tablespoons, plus another 2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup dried cranberries
12 to 13 slices cheap fluffy white bread, such as Wonder
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup orange marmalade

With a hand mixer, beat cream cheese and orange zest in a medium bowl, adding 1 egg at a time, to form a lumpy batter. Beat in half and half, sugar, and vanilla (Batter should still be lumpy).

Spray a 13-by 9-inch Pyrex or ceramic baking dish with vegetable cooking

spray. Line pan bottom with 6 slices of bread, fitting in additional bread, cut into strips, to form a tight fit which keeps the strata from puffing unevenly. Pour 1 cup of the egg mixture over the bread, then sprinkle with 1/2 cup of the cranberries. Make another layer with remaining bread (and strips, if necessary). Slowly pour remaining egg mixture over bread. Cover with plastic wrap, then lightly weight the casserole (or lightly press on it with your hand a few times) until bread has almost completely absorbed the milk mixture. Let stand 15 minutes. (Casserole can be refrigerated overnight.)

Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees. Before setting the casserole in the oven sprinkle with walnuts and remaining cranberries, lightly pressing them into the bread. Bake until casserole is firm and puffy, 35 to 40 minutes.
Meanwhile, warm marmalade and orange juice in a small saucepan.

Remove strata from oven, let stand for 8 to 10 minutes. Cut into 12 to 15 portions and serve immediately with orange sauce.