Long ago I developed my go-to savory strata. Over the years I’ve attempted sweet ones, but they were never quite as winning the savory strata. No more. Finally I’ve developed French Toast Strata with Strawberry Sauce that rivals its savory cousin.
Sweet stratas are notoriously rich. One of my goals in developing this strata was nudging it from naughty to nice. In fact I was able to cut back on the butter, sugar, and rich dairy and still deliver strata worthy of a celebration.
Most sweet strata recipes call for one to two sticks of butter (and that’s before you add in the sugar and cream). This recipe calls for just six tablespoons, and I feature it in the crumble topping. Instead of the usual half-and-half/ heavy cream-based custard, I use equally rich but less caloric evaporated milk
Many recipes call for sugar in both the custard and the topping. I’ve found that if the sugar sits on the surface it’s more prominent and you need less, so I limited the sugar to the crumble topping, and it tastes plenty sweet. Instead of dousing the strata with straight syrup, I serve up lightly sweetened fresh strawberry sauce.
Add in a ham–I just bought mine yesterday–and mixed green salad, you’ve got an Easter meal that everyone–kids included–will love.
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- ½ cup dark brown sugar
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ cup slivered almonds
- 6 tablespoons butter, melted but not hot
- 1 loaf (about 1 pound) crusty French bread
- 2 cans (12 ounces each) evaporated milk
- 9 large eggs
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 4 cups sliced strawberries
- 6 tablespoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch dissolved in 1 tablespoon of water
- Mix flour, sugar, cinnamon, almonds, and butter with hands in a medium bowl, pressing together to form large clumps; set aside.
- Arrange bread in a 13- by 9-inch baking dish so that they slightly overlap. Whisk together milk, eggs, and vanilla. Pour mixture over bread and let stand, weighting the bread so that it absorbs the custard, at least 20 minutes or overnight.
- When ready to bake, adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Sprinkle casserole with crumble topping. Bake until golden and set, about 45 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, bring berries, sugar, zest, and ½ cup water to boil in a small Dutch oven or large saucepan. When mixture starts to simmer, whisk in cornstarch mixture. Continue to simmer until mixture thickens to sauce consistency.
- Cut casserole into portions and serve with sauce alongside.
Cookin' Canuck says
Stratas are always such a treat, but so hard on the waistline. So, I love that you lightened this up. How perfect for Easter morning!
Kim H. says
Your directions do not include when to add the topping. I assume right before baking? The recipe sounds delicious.
Samantha Angela says
This looks divine!
Pam Anderson says
Thanks for the good catch, Kim. Yes, crumble topping is sprinkled on right before you bake, and I’ve added it to the recipe.
Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar says
Mmm what a perfect way to start the day!
Denise Siracusa says
The same recipe is posted on the AARP website and it is missing the step for the crumbled topping.
Hi Pam! Is the bread to be cubed or sliced? It’s not specified in the ingredient list and the directions say “Arrange bread in a 13- by 9-inch baking dish so that they slightly overlap.”
Also in the unlikely event that there might be leftovers, can they be frozen and then reheated in the microwave?
Pam Anderson says
Hi Rita, The bread is sliced, and yes, you can definitely reheat this strata in the microwave. Enjoy!