Saturday, May 5, 2012

Blueberry Breakfast Strata


What do you get when you cross  bread pudding with french toast and throw in a cheese blintz?  If you add some blueberries, you get this Blueberry Breakfast Strata.  She wasn't the prettiest girl at the prom, but she had a good time.

An overload of both bread in the pantry and a freezer full of blueberries from last summer's bounty inspired me to find something to do with them.  Although I really didn't plan to use them together, it was a serendipitous marriage.

There are a couple few things I would do differently next time around -- and I think I can see the grandkids liking to wake up to this for breakfast:
  • I'd use whole cream cheese.  The neufchatel didn't melt as much as I wanted. 
  • I'll toss the frozen blueberries with both a little sugar and flour, because, believe it or not, it wasn't quite sweet enough for me.
  • I'll leave out the blueberries in the syrup topping.  (I love blueberries; I just think plain maple syrup would be better.  PP = personal preference.)
It was a good experiment nevertheless.  And I'm happy to have put the bread to good use, even though the birds may have liked it.  I'm writing the recipe as I did make it, not like I will when the grandkids come.  I can picture studding it with dried cranberries or maybe sprinkling some almonds on top and putting some almond extract in the custard.  Possibilities!

Blueberry Strata
adapted from Kraft Foods
makes 12 servings
8 cups firm (preferably stale) white bread, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
2 cups blueberries, fresh or frozen, divided
1 tablespoon flour
1 8-ounce package neufchatel cheese, cut into small cubes
8 eggs
2 1/2 cups milk
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 cup maple syrup, divided
1/4 cup packed brown sugar

Toss the blueberries with  the flour.  Spread half the bread cubes onto the bottom of a 13 x 9 baking dish that has been sprayed with cooking spray. Cover with 1 cup of the blueberries, scatter the cream cheese pieces and the remaining bread over all.

Whisk the eggs, milk and cinnamon together until blended.  Add 1/3 cup syrup and sugar.  Mix well and pour evenly over the bread.  Cover and refrigerate overnight.

When ready to bake, remove strata from fridge and preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Bake strata covered for 1/2 hour; then remove cover and bake for another 30 to 45 minutes or until center is set and top is slightly browned.

Bring remaining syrup and blueberries to boil in saucepan, stirring constantly, simmer on medium-low stirring constantly about 1 minutes, stirring constantly.  Serve over individual servings of strata.

40 comments:

  1. I'd like a serving right now with my morning coffee! Short of that, I'm glad to have it for my breakfast with blueberries file!!

    Best,
    Bonnie

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    1. I do love blueberries. Outside of blueberry pancakes and muffins, though, this was a first for me.

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  2. That's a breakfast I can TOTALLY support. Good tip with the maple syrup too...don't wanna overdue a good thing :)

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    1. A friend to whom I'd once given some of my blueberries told me she made bb pancakes, with not only blueberry syrup, but blueberry butter, too! That was gilding the lily!

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  3. This would be welcome right now instead of the the toast and jam I just had, mind you it was blackberry jam:D

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    1. Doesn't toast and jam rhyme with something? :)

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  4. Think I need to get out the blueberries - this is a grand way to begin the weekend. I love the combination but now that you've mentioned cheese blintz, I am realizing it's been decades since I had one. Must remedy. With blueberries.

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    1. I don't think I've had a cheese blintz since a church bazaar years ago. This dish just reminded me of them.

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  5. I just found your site on foodblogs.com so I thought I would stop by and take a peek. I just subscribed to your blog feed and can't wait to see what your next post will be!

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    1. Well, it's either going to be spinach pie or cucumber cups.

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  6. I have some blueberries in my freezer; this recipe sounds very good.
    Rita

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    1. It's nice to know that blueberries are supposed to be some kind of miracle fruit, but I love them anyway!

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  7. II think this sounds great but the changes you want make perfect sense. Regular Creme cheese tastes better IMO and so does maple syrup. I think brioche bread would make a difference as well. I love anything with brioche or challah best.

    That said I think your photo is a beauty and if you hadn't mentioned what you didn't like about this recipe no one would ever know. So thanks for the tip and recommendations.

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    1. Isn't that how recipes are created? Getting something good to start with and then making it your own? Sometimes it works; sometimes it doesn't. But it's fun trying. (I love anything with brioche or challah, too.)

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  8. Any baked good with dairy products and fruit gets my vote. This does make for one delicious breakfast. As with any recipe, there will be tweaks according to personal preference. However sometimes I would like to know the tweaks and do them first! Have a great day Rosemary!

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    1. Yeah, the tweaks are good to know. I know I've learned a lot from your tweaking, especially for a non-baker like me!

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  9. Another fantastic creation from you!

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    1. With the tweaks, this will be better next time 'round.

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  10. Oh my - I would wake up for this!!! every morning :)
    Mary oxo

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    1. I would love some kind of strata anyhow every day!

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  11. My sugar loving children would say "Give us maple syrup AND blueberry!" It looks like the kind of dish my family just loves.

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    1. The maple syrup alone on top was enough for me . . . but it needed something because the custard wasn't sweet enough for me.

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  12. Swap the blueberries for raspberries and ooh baby that sounds good!

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  13. Sounds fabulous! Can't wait to try it ;)

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  14. This is so fresh and would be a perfect breakfast brunch for my boys they love blueberries nice job!

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    1. I'm anxious to try it again . . . I liked Jen's suggesstion of raspberries. Wouldn't that be a nice combination?

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  15. This looks wonderful! I love baking with fruit and would love trying this recipe.

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  16. Wow, this really looks delicious!

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  17. Oh! I just made a blueberry bread pudding last evening for a friend in need of a gluten free dessert (yes, I used a loaf of whate GF bread) ... this strata would be an excellent breakfast brunch treat for him also! bookmarking this recipe so I can surprise himnext time we share a potluck brunch! Thanks, Rosemary!

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    1. I know I'll be making it again, but only with a couple additions and tweaks.

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  18. This looks yummy! Gorgeous flavors... I think I agree with the cream cheese too :) I will try it with your changes! Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Sometimes there's just no point in skimping on the good stuff.

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  19. Isn't it funny how the best tasting food isn't always the best looking! This sounds really delicious, Rosemary! I'm a sucker for anything with blueberries.

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    1. It wasn't very pretty (but neither am I -- in the mornings.)

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  20. I loved all your suggestions for next time around...I think this could easily become a weekend favorite here. Thank you for sharing with me, sweet friend, and for your kind words on my blog! I'm excited to be back around. Hugs and love from Austin!

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    1. Glad you're back to your good baking and writing, Monet. Let's hear more about Paris!

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