Blueberry strata

Bent Creek Lodge

Prepare a day ahead; this recipe must chill overnight in the refrigerator.

1 loaf French bread, cut into 1-inch cubes
12 ounces cream cheese or Neufchatel cheese (for less fat), cut in 1/2-inch cubes
1 ½ cups blueberries
8 large eggs
1/3 cup maple syrup
1 cup milk
1 cup half-and-half
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon nutmeg

Lightly coat a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with pan spray. Cover the bottom with half of the bread cubes, then scatter the cream cheese and blueberries on top. Add the remaining bread cubes.

Whisk together eggs, maple syrup, milk, half-and-half, cinnamon and nutmeg, then pour over the bread. Press bread down lightly to soak. Cover with foil, and chill overnight.

In the morning, allow the dish to come to room temperature for 30 minutes before baking. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Cover the strata, then bake it for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and bake another 30 minutes until set. Let it sit covered in a warm place for 10 minutes before cutting. Serve with warm maple syrup on the side.

Note from the chef:
This is by far the most requested recipe from the Lodge. I am sure it has graced Christmas morning breakfast tables all over the country. It is great for a crowd and since it is assembled the night before you are not racing around on the morning of your big breakfast.We also like to prepare individual 8-ounce, round ramekins of the strata. The round shape with smooth, uncut edges looks nice.

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About Gina Smith
Gina Smith is the Mountain Xpress Food section editor and writer. She can be reached at gsmith@mountainx.com.

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