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Overnight Strawberry Ricotta Breakfast Strata

Cheyanne
This strawberry ricotta breakfast strata can be prepped the night before so it is easy enough for a busy morning, but still elegant enough for a special brunch.
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 1 hr
Total Time 1 hr 20 mins
Course Breakfast
Servings 8 servings

Ingredients
  

  • 1 TBS Unsalted Butter
  • 1 Loaf Brioche – cut into ¾’’ cubes about 1 pound
  • 3 Cups Milk
  • 10 Large Eggs
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 1 tsp Orange Zest about ½ an orange
  • 1 Cup Ricotta Cheese
  • 1 12 ounce Jar Bonne Maman Strawberry Preserves
  • Kosher Salt
  • 1/3 Cup Sliced Almonds
  • 3 TBS Cream can substitute whole milk or half-and-half
  • Optional Garnish: Fresh Mint Leaves Slices of Strawberries, Powdered Sugar

Instructions
 

  • Grease an 8x11’’, or 9x13’’ baking dish with butter. Place half of the bread cubes in the prepared baking dish, arranging them to cover the bottom of the dish. Set aside.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the milk, eggs, vanilla extract, orange zest and ¼ teaspoon salt.
  • Slowly, and evenly, pour half of the egg-milk mixture over the bread in the baking dish. Spoon half (1/2 cup) of the ricotta over the soaked bread, dolloping the ricotta by the spoonful evenly over the bread. Repeat with half (1/2 cup) of the preserves. Arrange the remaining bread cubes evenly over top. Slowly pour the remaining egg-milk mixture over the bread. Spoon the remaining ricotta and jam evenly over the top.* For best results, cover the strata tightly with aluminum foil and refrigerate overnight.*
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. If you have refrigerated the strata, remove it from the fridge and let the strata sit on the counter while the oven preheats to remove the chill. Uncover the strata, brush with cream and sprinkle the almonds on top.
  • Bake, UNCOVERED, for 55 minutes – 1 hour, or until the strata is puffed, browned and the center is set (it shouldn’t jiggle when shaken)*. Remove from oven and set aside to cool for 10 minutes before serving.
  • Garnish with fresh mint, strawberries and powdered sugar if using. Cut into squares and serve. Enjoy!

Notes

1. While I recommend brioche bread for this strata, you can use any bread you would like. For the most luxurious, rich mouthfeel I suggest a buttery yeast bread similar to brioche, such as challah. But potato bread or Hawaiian rolls would work too.
2. You need stale, day old bread for this strata. Fresh brioche bread will completely disintegrate into the egg and milk mixture. However, if all you have is fresh bread, do NOT worry! You can just toast the bread to get the same results as stale bread. Place the cubes of bread on a sheet pan and toast them in a 250 degree F oven for 5-10 minutes, or until the cubes are just barely starting to crisp on the outside.
3. If you don’t care for ricotta, you can easily substitute goat cheese in an equal amount.
4. If you want a pretty design on top of your strata, you can use a butter knife to gently swirl through the ricotta and preserves to create a pattern.
5. For the BEST flavor and results, refrigerate the strata, covered tightly, overnight. Giving the bread time to really soak up the egg mixture makes a world of difference. Nevertheless, you can bake it the same day if needed. Just make sure you let the strata sit on the counter for at least 30 minutes to soak up some of the flavor while the oven preheats.
6. If the top of the strata is browned to your liking before the center is set, tent the top of the baking dish lightly with aluminum foil during the last 10-15 minutes of cooking.