Move over Erik Estrada

I love a good strata, not to be confused with Erik Estrada. A layered casserole dish similar to quiche or frittata, strata can be a meal for breakfast or dinner. One of the first stratas I ever made stole my heart. It was a Mother’s Day Special at a restaurant where I worked and the strata was a mixed berry, mascarpone cheese version that I’ve dreamed of making again ever since.

Try this Four Berry and Mascarpone Cheese Strata with homemade maple whipped cream next weekend. Disclaimer: you’ll need a hand mixer to make the whip cream. Prepare this recipe the night before and let it sit in the refrigerator overnight; that way the bread really soaks up the egg and cream mixture. In the morning, you can just pop it in the oven and relax over coffee while breakfast takes care of itself.

You will need:

  • 6 eggs
  • 6 cups of whole grain crusty bread, torn-up into pieces
  • 1 ½ cups of milk
  • 1 ½ cups of maple syrup
  • 2 teaspoons of vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • 4 ounces of mascarpone cheese (cream cheese will work and cheese is optional)
  • 8 ounces of mixed berries, fresh or frozen (I used more like 2 cups of blueberries, raspberries, strawberries and blackberries)

For the whipped cream topping, you’ll need:

  • 1 cup of heavy cream
  • ¼ cup of maple syrup

Beat together the eggs, milk, vanilla, cinnamon and maple syrup. Tear up the bread into bite sized pieces. In a casserole or soufflé dish, or a Dutch oven, mix together the bread and berries. Evenly distribute quarter-sized dollops of mascarpone cheese throughout the bread and berry mixture. Pour the egg mixture over it. Cover it and stick it in the fridge overnight.

In the morning, preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Cover the strata and put it in the oven for 35 minutes. Take off the cover and cook it for another 15 minutes.

When the strata is almost ready, use a hand mixer to whip the 1 cup of heavy cream and ¼ cup of maple syrup in a bowl until the cream thickens enough to make small peaks when you remove the mixer. If you beat it for too long, it will turn to butter.


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