I love a good strata. I love that you can make it the night before and then just stick it in the oven in the morning. Strata is perfect for brunch, or a Sunday morning after church. I made a strata the night before my wedding to serve to the girls as they got ready for church.
This version came to me after I had a wonderful banana bread pudding a few weeks ago. I’ve also been reading about how soaking nuts is a great way to have a healthy snack. So pairing them together seemed like a no brainer. I was right. Of course, if you have a nut allergy, I don’t think that omitting the pecans will alter the recipe that much.
I used my banana nut recipe as the base of the strata and just omitted the pecans. I’ve actually been making the bread that way that last few times lately. It’s the number of bananas that really makes this recipe so moist and yummy. You could use whatever banana bread you like, though. I won’t judge. Just make sure that whatever bread you use, it’s cool. Making the bread a few days ahead would be best.
- For the Bread:
- 2 1/2 C flour
- 1 1/2 t baking soda
- 1/2 t salt
- 3/4 C butter, softened
- 1 1/2 C light brown sugar, packed
- 2 large eggs
- 7 ripe bananas, mashed
- 1 t vanilla
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Grease 2 loaf pans.
In a medium bowl, combine the flour, soda and salt with a wire whisk; set aside. In a large bowl cream the butter and sugar. Add the eggs, bananas and vanilla. Beat at medium speed until thick. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the flour mixture and blend at low speed just until combined. Do not overmix. Pour the batter into the prepared pans. Bake for 60-70 minutes. A toothpick inserted in the center should come out clean and the bread should pull away from the sides. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Turn the pans on the side; cool to room temperature before removing and slicing.
I usually make this bread once I have 7 ripe bananas. I just accumulate them and stick them in a bag in the freezer until I have the right amount. The riper the banana, the better the bread! (You can also add a cup of pecans to the bread, but then I wouldn’t add them to the strata.)
- For the Strata:
- 1/2-3/4 of a loaf of banana bread
- 3 Eggs, beaten
- 1 1/2 C Half and Half (or whole milk)
- 1/2 C Caramel (use your favorite jar caramel)
- 1 T Vanilla
- 1/2 C Pecans, chopped (optional)
Cut the bread up into 3/4 inch cubes. Place the cubes in an even layer inside a 11×7 prepared baking dish. Sprinkle the chopped pecans on top of the bread. Beat the eggs, half and half, caramel and vanilla in a separate bowl until combined. Pour the egg mixture over the bread. Cover, refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight. Cook in a preheated 350 degree oven for 40-45 minutes. Garnish with leftover caramel, syrup or powdered sugar.