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  Berry Brunch Strata

4 or 5 slices buttermilk or country-style bread, divided
1 cup part skim ricotta cheese
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
3 cups (about 1 lb.) fresh strawberries (halved), divided
1/4 cup chopped fresh mint, divided
2 cups milk
5 large eggs
1/2 cup fresh orange juice
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 cup sliced almonds

  Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray or butter 2-quart casserole. Fit 2 or 3 slices of bread into the casserole, cutting them to fill any holes. Mix ricotta and cinnamon together. Dollop over the bread layer without smoothing. Layer on half of the berries and half of the mint. Put another layer of bread on top, then the remaining berries and mint. Whisk together the milk, eggs, orange juice, sugar, and salt. Pour over layers and let sit for 15 minutes (or up to overnight covered in the refrigerator). Sprinkle almonds on top and bake strata for 45 to 50 minutes, until puffy and golden and the center is firm. Remove strata from oven and let sit for 10 minutes before serving. Refrigerate leftovers. Serves 6 to 8.

Shortcut: Use a 4.4-oz. package of custard dessert or “cook & serve” vanilla pudding mix (not instant) in place of the eggs and sugar. Use the same liquid as above.

 


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