La Bearded Lady
Maple & Cranberry French Toast Strata
Served with Warm Maple Syrup, Dusted Powdered Sugar, & Fresh Blackberries
The gays do Sunday brunch best during Pride season! Take a moment and enjoy the rainbow, LGBTQ+ community! 🏳️🌈 These are trying times, but all the more reason to stay strong together.
I miss hugs most of all during these uncertain times. I hope this recipe wraps you in a warm embrace and we get to enjoy brunching with our loved ones again in the not so distant future.
½ large French loaf, cut into ½ inch cubes
4 eggs, room temperature
1 cup unsweetened almond milk, room temperature
2 tbsp maple syrup, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp nutmeg
¼ tsp clove
¼ tsp sea salt
Zest of 1 lemon
4 oz neufchâtel cheese, room temperature & cubed
½ cup walnuts, chopped & divided
½ cup dried cranberries, divided
2 tbsp brown sugar
Generously grease a 9x9 baking pan or a few small casserole dishes with cooking spray. Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk the eggs together until light and yellow. Add the milk, maple syrup, vanilla extract, cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, salt, and lemon zest to the bowl and mix until well combined. Set aside.
Add a single layer of cubed bread to the baking pan or casserole dishes to cover the bottom. Add the cubed neufchatel cheese, distributing evenly over the bread layer. Next, layer in a ¼ cup each of walnuts and cranberries. Layer the remaining bread on top followed by the remaining walnuts and cranberries.
Carefully transfer the egg mixture to a liquid measuring cup with a lip and pour into the pan/dishes, making sure to coat the bread evenly. Gently press down on the soaked bread to soak up as much of the egg mixture as possible. Lastly, sprinkle the brown sugar evenly over the top. Cover with saran wrap and refrigerate overnight.
Remove from the refrigerator and allow it to come to room temperature. Heat oven to 375°F. Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until the bread on top just begins to brown. Leave the strata in a few minutes longer if you desire the bread on top to be deeper golden brown and crunchier.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool for about 10 minutes before serving. Drizzle with warm maple syrup, lightly dust with powdered sugar, and top with a small handful of fresh blackberries.