(Stuffed) French Toast Strata
- 1 pound of stale white, French or raisin-bread, cut into cubes
- 8 ounce package cream cheese, cubed and at room temperature
- 8 eggs
- 2 cups half and half
½ cup milk 6 tablespoons butter, melted 1/4 cup maple syrup 1 teaspoon grated cinnamon
1 teaspoon grated nutmeg 1 teaspoon lemon zest
Optional Fruit Filling:
2 cups diced apples ¾ cup dried cherries
Cut bread into cubes (About 12 cups bread cubes)
Grease a 13×9 inch baking pan with butter.
To Assemble: In the prepared pan place half of the bread cubes. Top with the apples and dried cherries if using, and then the remaining bread cubes.
With a blender or stand mixer, mix together the cream cheese, eggs, milk, melted butter, maple syrup, cinnamon, nutmeg and lemon zest until well combined. Pour the egg mixture evenly over bread and fruit. Using a spatula, slightly press layers down to moisten all the bread.
Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. Remove plastic wrap and bake in a pre-heated 325°F oven for 40-45 minutes or until the center appears to be set and the custard is golden. Let stand for 10 minutes.
Note: May add other fruits such as pears, blueberries, peaches etc.