SPRING IS HERE! For some reason I associated Spring with berries and pies – the kinds you would see on the cover of Southern Living Magazine. Berry pies. Cherry Pies. Strawberry pies. Rhubarb pies. Strawberry – Rhubarb pies. It doesn’t matter. It if looks pretty, I’ll try it. Unfortunately, when it comes to baking a pie, I am a seasoned failure in this area. My solution when I’m craving a homemade berry pie? A berry strata by Giada DiLaurentis, which combines two of my favorite ingredients: bread and berries. It’s a simple, no fuss recipe and it tastes fantastic. It manages to taste gooey and rich while retaining the sweet full fruit flavor from the berries.
Anther reason I love this recipe is because you can make it hours ahead of time and then bake it when you are ready. Recently, I went to my first barbecue of the season and I decided to make this strata. I made it almost exactly according to this recipe except I used 1% milk (that is all I had on hand and it saved a few calories). I used a country-style farm bread from Wegmans and cut it into 1 inch pieces. I may have used more than 4 pieces but I did not use the whole loaf. I probably should have coated the bread more evenly in the mixture and was a little disappointed with myself about it but no one else seemed to mind. I let it refrigerate for about four hours and then I baked it on location at the barbecue. The result was a big hit! I hope you will enjoy it as much as we all did!
by Giada DiLaurentis
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 3 tablespoons honey
- 4 large eggs
- 1/2 cup whole milk ricotta
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1/4 cup orange juice
- 4 slices of bread, torn into 1-inch pieces (about 4 cups)
- 1 (10-ounce) bag frozen mixed berries, thawed and drained
Melt the butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Turn off the heat, add the honey, and stir to combine.
Meanwhile, in a large bowl combine the eggs, ricotta, and sugar. Using a fork, mix to combine and beat the eggs. Add the milk, orange juice, butter and honey mixture, and bread. Stir to combine. Gently fold in the berries.
Place the ingredients in a 10-inch round (2-quart) baking dish. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours and up to 12 hours.Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Bake the strata until golden on top and baked through, about 40 minutes. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving. Spoon into dishes and serve.
(Strata before baking)