Raspberry French Toast Strata has tangy raspberries, cream cheese, and a sweet custard stuffed into light and airy brioche, all baked in one dish. Make this French toast bake with cream cheese the night before for easy entertaining!
French Toast Strata with Raspberries
One of the best brunch dishes around has got to be the strata. Call it what you will, bread pudding, breakfast casserole, baked French toast. It goes by many names and comes in almost a million variations (I counted).
My French toast strata is a raspberry and cream version and has always struck me as kind of lady-like breakfast strata. It's sweet, I think it's pretty, it has pink berries and a sprinkle of confectioners' sugar to make it nice.
When to serve this berry strata recipe:
I envision it being served at showers, ladies brunches, spring holiday occasions, and such. All very lady-like wouldn't you say? Plus it is pretty amazing for Mother's Day, Christmas, and New Year's.
Raspberry French Toast Strata just for the ladies? No, way, I've seen many a manly man reach for seconds!
Raspberry Overnight French Toast
Besides being overwhelmingly delicious, one of the loveliest things about this French toast bake with cream cheese is that it can be made ahead. I love make-ahead breakfasts that you just have to throw in the oven before you jump in the shower! Like my World's Best Bran Muffins, which can be baked fresh every day.
Once you assemble this french toast strata, you let it chill for 4 hours or overnight! Bake it in the morning or just before you take it to brunch. Letting it sit allows the bread to absorb all the egg custard so that it bakes without any dry spots.
Overnight French toast with cream cheese:
I adore the little burst of sweet cream cheese that gets dolloped throughout this baked stuffed French toast. Just a typical sweet custard is delicious, but those little bursts take it up a notch.
I mix cream cheese with a little sugar to each little dollop of cream cheese tastes like cheesecake nestled between the custard and berries. I don't do an entire layer of cream cheese because I think that is too rich. The little dollops throughout are perfect, and lend themselves well to sitting overnight in the custard mixture.
French Toast Bake FAQs
I use brioche or challah for this French toast strata. Both breads are enriched, which means they are made with a lot of eggs and butter. The texture holds up so well to a rich custard.
You can use other bread if you like, but the brioche and challah add the best flavor. Find it at your bakery or grocery store if you can. The loaves may come in different shapes, like braids or loaves, but either is fine. You can even slice brioche rolls into slices if that's all you can find.
You can use other berries in this raspberry overnight French toast. Try mixed berries, or just blackberries or blueberries. The tender berries can hold up to sitting for 4 hours or overnight in the custard and bake and soften quickly in the allotted baking time.
Simply sprinkle the finished strata with confectioners' sugar just before serving. I like to serve this slightly warm so the custard is not totally set. It gives it a little sauciness. And don't we all need a little more sauciness in our day?
More special breakfast recipes:
- Quick Bread Cinnamon Rolls (No Yeast Needed!)
- Soft Fluffy Cinnamon Rolls
- Savory Bacon Mushroom Strata Recipe
- Southwest Frittata with Black Beans
- Oven-Baked French Toast Fondue
French Toast Bake with Cream Cheese and Raspberries
- 5 large eggs beaten
- 1½ cups whole milk
- 7 tablespoon granulated sugar DIVIDED
- 5 oz cream cheese
- Butter for Dish
- ¾ loaf (15 oz) brioche or challah thinly sliced and quartered
- 2 pints raspberries
- Confectioners' sugar
- Mix together the eggs, milk and 4 tablespoon sugar. In another bowl combine cream cheese with 1 tablespoon sugar. Butter a 2½-quart baking dish.
- Quickly dip half of the brioche slices into the egg mixture and arrange them in a slightly overlapping layer on the bottom of the dish. Top with bits of half the cream cheese and half the raspberries. Repeat with remaining brioche, cream cheese, and raspberries. Pour the remaining egg mixture over the top and sprinkle the entire dish with 2 tablespoon sugar. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for 4 hr or up to 24 hr.
- Heat oven to 350ºF. Remove plastic wrap and bake strata until eggs are set and the top is golden, about 55 min; cover with foil if the top gets too brown. Dust with confectioners' sugar and serve warm or at room temperature.
- Make this the night before to save time in the morning.
- If you can't find a loaf of brioche or challah, slice brioche buns and use the slices.
- You can use mixed berries or just blackberries or blueberries if desired.
Day-Starters: Breakfast & Brunch Recipes
Recipe by Tara. Photographer Yunhee Kim. Food Stylist Paul Grimes. Prop Stylist Michelle Wong. Originally published in LHJ 04