This light and savory bread pudding may be assembled and refrigerated overnight before being baked. If you do so, allow 15 minutes of extra baking time, and keep the strata covered with the aluminum foil for the first 25 minutes in the oven. Use a semi-tart, crisp apple that is not very juicy, such as Granny Smith, Macoun, Empire or Winesap.
Servings: 8 - 10 brunch
- 3/4 pound crusty country-style bread (crust trimmed), cut into 1-inch cubes (about 4 to 5 cups)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 4 large shallots or 1 small onion, thinly sliced (1/3 to 1/2 cup)
- 1 pound cooked smoked turkey (skin removed), cut into 3/4- or 1/2-inch cubes
- 4 large eggs
- 4 cups half-and-half (may use nonfat)
- 1/2 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 3 medium apples, peeled, cored and cut into 1/2-inch dice
- 1 1/2 cups coarsely grated sharp cheddar cheese
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Lightly grease a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking oil spray.
Place the bread on a baking sheet and toast it in the oven for 10 minutes, then set aside to cool. If baking the strata straight away, reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees.
In a large saute pan or skillet over medium-high heat, heat the oil until it shimmers. Add the shallots or onion and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, stirring occasionally, until they have softened. Add the turkey and cook for 5 to 7 minutes, turning occasionally, until lightly browned. Distribute half of the mixture in the prepared baking dish; set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, half-and-half, salt and a few grinds of pepper.
Spread half of the apples and half of the cheddar into the turkey mixture in the baking dish, and press down gently to form one layer. Form a second, even layer using the bread cubes, then make a third layer with the remaining turkey mixture and the apples. Pour the egg mixture over the top and press down on the bread cubes to make sure the bread is submerged. Sprinkle the remaining cheddar over the top. (At this point, the strata may be covered with lightly greased aluminum foil and refrigerated overnight.) Bake for 40 to 50 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and the custard is set. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving.
Adapted from "Cooking With Shelburne Farms," by Melissa Pasanen with Rick Gencarelli (Viking Studio, 2007).
Tested by Lucy Shackelford.
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