It’s summertime in Charlottesville, Virginia, and here at Foxfield Inn the berries are bountiful. We recently acquired a whopping 40 pounds of fresh blueberries, so it’s no secret that they will be the star in many of our breakfasts this summer and all year round. Today, we wanted to share one of our favorite recipes to showcase this summer superstar–in a blueberry strata.
Strata means “layers,” and that’s exactly what this breakfast feast is! In our version, layers of bread and fruit are held together with a gooey custard and baked until fluffy. To make it even more decadent we look at texture: each soft and chewy bite of bready fruit should be paired with something silky and something with a little crunch, so we garnish each serving with a smooth blueberry sauce and a little almond crumble.
Blueberry Strata Yield: 10-12 servings
3 loaves French baguettes (whole wheat is preferable)
4 oz. cream cheese
2 cups blueberries
8 large eggs
2 1/2 cups skim (fat-free) milk
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract (optional)
1/2 cup sugar
Blueberry Sauce (see below)
Almond Crumble (see below)
Generously spray a 9×13″ baking pan with cooking spray. Cut half of the baguettes into small cubes and put in pan. Cut cream cheese into small dice or slices* and sprinkle over top of bread cubes. Top with all the blueberries. Cut remaining bread into small cubes and put on top of the blueberries. Gently push down on top of bread in pan with clean hands.
*The cream cheese slices nicely if slightly thawed from frozen.
In a separate bowl, combine eggs, milk, vanilla and almond extracts, and sugar. Beat until eggs are fully incorporated into the milk and sugar is dissolved. Pour over bread cubes in pan. Push gently on bread so that all is exposed to the custard mixture.
Generously spray a piece of aluminum foil with cooking spray*. Cover pan, and refrigerate 8 hours or overnight. Make the blueberry sauce and almond crumble (see below); these can also be stored overnight in the refrigerator.
*Trust me, you’ll be thankful you sprayed it later on.
Take pan out of refrigerator 30 minutes before baking. Preheat oven to 375°F. Place pan with foil cover in oven and bake 30 minutes. Remove foil. Return to oven and bake 30 minutes more. Remove from oven and let sit 10 minutes before cutting into squares for serving.
1 cup blueberries
1/4 cup water
sugar, to taste
Combine blueberries and water in small saucepan. Cook over medium heat until blueberries begin to burst. Add more water, if necessary. Taste and adjust with sugar until desired sweetness level is reached (amount of sugar to use varies depending on how sweet the blueberries are). Strain through a sieve or run through a food mill for smoother texture. Spoon a small amount of sauce over each piece of strata for serving.
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup butter, cold
1 cup sliced almonds
Melt brown sugar and butter in medium pan over medium heat. Stir in sliced almonds. When almonds are slightly brown, remove from heat. Sprinkle some on top of each strata serving.
With such a lengthy inactive prep time, this dish gives the cook plenty of time to concentrate on other things like brewing the coffee, browning the sausage, or finishing off the lemon mousse for dessert, making it the perfect thing to serve to a crowd. Leave a comment to tell us how you liked it, or what kind of strata you would love to taste. Maybe blueberry strata will be on the menu when you next stay with us at Foxfield Inn!