This Overnight Strawberry & Ricotta Breakfast Strata is easy enough for breakfast, brunch or dinner, yet elegant enough for Mother’s Day entertaining. Jam packed with buttery brioche bread, fluffy eggs, creamy ricotta and sweet strawberry preserves, this strata is sweet and savory breakfast perfection!
Slowly, and evenly, pour half of the egg-milk mixture (about 2 1/2 cups) over the bread in the baking dish. Spoon half (1/2 cup) of the ricotta over the soaked bread, dolloping the ricotta by the spoonful evenly over the bread. Repeat with half (1/2 cup) of the preserves. Arrange the remaining bread cubes evenly over top. Slowly pour the remaining egg-milk mixture over the bread. Spoon the remaining ricotta and jam evenly over the top.* For best results, cover the strata tightly with aluminum foil and refrigerate overnight.*
Bake, UNCOVERED, for 55 minutes – 1 hour 15 minutes, or until the strata is puffed, browned and the center is set (it shouldn’t jiggle when shaken)*. Remove from oven and set aside to cool for 10 minutes before serving.
1. While I recommend brioche bread for this strata, you can use any bread you would like. For the most luxurious, rich mouthfeel I suggest a buttery yeast bread similar to brioche, such as challah. But potato bread or Hawaiian rolls would work too.
2. You need stale, day old bread for this strata. Fresh brioche bread will completely disintegrate into the egg and milk mixture. However, if all you have is fresh bread, do NOT worry! You can just toast the bread to get the same results as stale bread. Place the cubes of bread on a sheet pan and toast them in a 250 degree F oven for 5-10 minutes, or until the cubes are just barely starting to crisp on the outside.
3. If you don’t care for ricotta, you can easily substitute goat cheese in an equal amount.
4. If you want a pretty design on top of your strata, you can use a butter knife to gently swirl through the ricotta and preserves to create a pattern.
5. For the BEST flavor and results, refrigerate the strata, covered tightly, overnight. Giving the bread time to really soak up the egg mixture makes a world of difference. Nevertheless, you can bake it the same day if needed. Just make sure you let the strata sit on the counter for at least 30 minutes to soak up some of the flavor while the oven preheats.
6. If the top of the strata is browned to your liking before the center is set, tent the top of the baking dish lightly with aluminum foil during the last 10-15 minutes of cooking.