Oh, baby. I made this gluten-free strata the other day, and it was so decadent and delicious that I nearly passed out from pleasure. It’s a fragrant custard of blueberries and bread, nestled between two layers of crisp, cinnamon-scented streusel. Need a make-ahead casserole for Sunday brunch? This strata is for you.
Note: If you are not on a gluten-free diet (I eat wheat, but the Silver Fox does not), go ahead and tear up a crusty sourdough boule or a French baguette for the bread component. A 16-ounce loaf will do. For the streusel, use regular old-fashioned rolled oats instead of the gluten-free kind.
Let’s make this blueberry bliss!
And by the way, I hope you have an attractive 9×13 baking dish. Mine, made of clear glass, is rather utilitarian-looking.
But as Donald Rumsfeld never said, “You go to bake with the equipment you have, not the equipment you want.”
Tough bunnies, Donald. I want the bayberry-blue baking dish you see pictured above. And after I finish writing this recipe, I intend to order it.
And when you are ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350°F.
Sprinkle the remaining streusel over the strata, and bake until the custard puffs and the streusel turns golden. The dish is done when a knife inserted in the center of the casserole comes out fairly (not completely) clean — 45 minutes to 1 hour. In my low-end gas oven, the dish baked to moist and marvelous perfection in 50 minutes.
True Confession: I ate half of this strata all by myself. And then, to preserve what little dignity I had left, I wrapped up the other half and foisted it onto Brenda Johnson, my taste-tester. Hopefully, Brenda’s willpower is stronger than mine.
Here’s a copy-and-paste version of the above:
Blueberry Streusel Strata (GF)
Kevin Lee Jacobs (www.kevinleejacobs.com)
Ingredients for 8 servings
For the streusel:
2 cups gluten-free oats*
1 cup dark brown sugar, packed
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
A pinch of salt
1 stick cold unsalted butter, diced
For the filling:
1 16-ounce loaf tapioca bread, roughly torn*
1 pint fresh blueberries
8 large eggs
2 1/2 cups half and half OR 2 cups half and half plus 1/2 cup whole milk
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
*If you are not concerned about gluten, you can substitute regular “old-fashioned” oats for the gluten-free oats, and a crusty sourdough boule or French baguette for the tapioca bread
The streusel — Put the oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, and diced butter in a medium bowl. Cut the butter into the dry ingredients with a pastry-blender until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. (To save time, you can pulse the ingredients in a food processor.) Scatter half the streusel in the bottom of a greased 9×13 baking dish. Put the remaining streusel in a plastic bag, and refrigerate until baking-time.
The filling — Put the torn bread in the streusel-lined baking dish, and top with the blueberries. Crack the eggs into a large bowl, and beat them well with a wire whisk. Then whisk in the half-and-half, sugar, and vanilla. Pour this custard over the berries and bread.
Chilling the strata — Cover the baking dish with plastic wrap. Chill in the fridge for several hours or over night.
Baking the strata — Center the oven rack, and preheat the oven to 350°F. Sprinkle the remaining streusel over the strata. Bake in the preheated oven until puffed and golden, or when a knife inserted in the center comes out almost (not completely) clean — 45 minutes to 1 hour.
Serve hot or warm. Delicious with mimosas for brunch.
Think you’ll give this recipe a go? You can let me know by leaving a comment.
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