Cranberries and pecans baked into a fluffy French toast casserole will brighten any day. The dried cranberries will absorb some of the orange-flavored liquid during soaking, giving them an added flavor dimension. Use chopped fresh or frozen cranberries in place of the dried cranberries, if you prefer. Leftovers make a great afternoon snack.
Reprinted from Gluten-Free Breakfast, Brunch, & Beyond, by Linda J. Amendt 2013 with permission from The Taunton Press
|Non-stick cooking spray, for the pan||1 1/2 cups whole milk|
|8 Cups cubed day-old gluten-free bread||2/3 cup freshly squeezed orange juice|
|1 2/3 cups dried cranberries||1 1/2 tablespoons finely grated orange zest|
|1 cup chopped pecans||1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract|
|8 large eggs||maple syrup, for serving (optional)|
|3 tablespoons granulated sugar|
Grease a 13 x 9 x 2-inch baking pan with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.
In a large bowl, combine the bread, dried cranberries, and pecans and toss until evenly blended. Spread evenly in the bottom of the prepared pan.
In a large bowl, using a wire whisk, beat the eggs until foamy. Add the sugar and beat until well combined. Gradually whisk in the milk until well blended, then stir in the orange juice, orange zest, and vanilla extract. Pour the custard evenly over the top of the bread mixture. Gently press the bread cubes into the custard. Cover the pan with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
Remove the pan from the refrigerator and let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, position a rack in the middle of the oven and heat the oven to 350°F.
Bake the strata, uncovered, until the top is puffed and golden brown and a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out with a few moist crumbs, 35 to 45 minutes. If the top starts to brown too quickly, cover loosely with a piece of foil. Remove the pan from the oven and place on a wire rack. Let cool for 5 minutes before serving while hot.
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