This is what we call “company Food”. You know, something so sumptuous, you save it for company. You set this in front of them and wait for the complements to start. Good food. Great food! Food sooo good that you don’t even care about the calories. This is that food. Plus, it’s super easy. I love those kinds of company food. This casserole you prepare ahead of time and stick it in the fridge to bake in the morning. That way, you’re not rushing around, trying to fix something while everyone wants morning coffee or orange juice. Pull this out and set it on the counter, crank up the oven and go take a hot shower before everyone else uses all the hot water. Then, come out looking glamorous, pop the casserole in the oven and relax!
It’s sharing time!
Set up your ingredients.
This calls for a stale loaf of french bread. I cut a hunk off for dinner the night before and this was leftover. Bread doesn’t usually make it to the leftover stage around here. You’ll need the bread, eggs, milk, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger, sugar, flour and some pecans. And pumpkin, you’ll need some pumpkin puree.
To make the cinnamon streusel, in a medium bowl, combine flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, and butter.
Mix together with your hands or a fork, until you have a crumbly mixture. Stir in the chopped pecans. Cover and refrigerate the streusel topping until needed.
Take the loaf and cut in into thirds, lengthwise. Then cut it into 1 inch strips and then crosswise into 1 inch cubes.
Crack the eggs into a large bowl, add the milk, the spices and the sugar, then whisk.
Then add the pumpkin in and whisk again.
Dump in the bread and let it absorb all the liquids.
Coat a 2 qt casserole dish with cooking spray. Pour the bread milk mixture in. Cover it up and stick it in the fridge.
30 Minutes before you want to bake, take the casserole dish out so it can start to warm up. Never, ever stick a cold dish in a hot oven. That’s a mess you don’t want to clean up. Believe me! Set the oven to 350º. Get out the streusel mix and spread it in a even layer, all over the top of the casserole.
Bake for 30 to 40 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes or longer.
You have to get that cup of coffee, you know. Set out the plates and syrup and let your guest serve themselves. Tell everyone you got up a 4am to fix this very special dish for them. They don’t need to know it’s easy, right?
- For the streusel:
- ½ cup whole wheat flour or all-purpose flour
- ½ cup brown sugar
- ¾ cup chopped pecans
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into chunks
- To make the strata:
- 1 – 12 inch loaf of french bread, cut into 1 inch cubes
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
- ⅛ teaspoon ground ginger
- ⅛ teaspoon ground cloves
- 2 cups milk, Almond milk works fine.
- 1 cup pumpkin puree
- 6 large eggs
- To make the cinnamon streusel, in a medium bowl, combine flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, and butter. Mix together with your hands or a fork, until you have a crumbly mixture. Stir in the chopped pecans. Set aside. If using the overnight method, refrigerate the streusel topping until needed.
- In a large bowl, whisk together milk, eggs, brown sugar, salt and spices. Add in the pumpkin and whisk until combined.
- Add in the bread cubes and toss to combine.
- Coat a 2 qt casserole dish with cooking spray. Pour in the bread and milk mixture. If using the overnight method, cover casserole and refrigerate until morning. If cooking now, top with streusel crumbs.
- Thirty minutes before baking, remove the casserole from the fridge. Remove cover and spread streusel topping evenly over the surface. If baking right away, no need to wait those 30 minutes.
- Bake in a 350 degree oven for 30 to 40 minutes, until top is golden brown and the center has firmed up. Serve with warn maple syrup.