Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Caramel Apple Strata

This turned out really good, but how could you go wrong with the classic combo of apples, brown sugar, and caramel?

Yield: 6-12 servings, depending on whether for breakfast or dessert 

1 loaf french bread (could sub pretty much any type of bread)
6 eggs
1 cup milk

2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup butter 
3 large apples, peeled and sliced
2 cups brown sugar
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1/2 cup heavy cream

Quick Caramel Sauce (or use store bought):
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup heavy cream
4 tbsp butter
2 tsp vanilla extract

1/4 cup dark corn syrup
1 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Whisk together the eggs, milk, salt and vanilla.  Cook in a small saucepan over low heat, stirring constantly, for about 10 minutes.  Remove from heat and chill for about 15 minutes to thicken.

Roughly slice french bread into 1 inch cubes and set aside.  Peel and core apples and then slice.  Melt the butter in a skillet and add apples.  Cook until soft, about 10 minutes, then add 1/2 the brown sugar (1 cup), the lemon juice, nutmeg and cinnamon.  Cook for about 5 more minutes, or until caramelized, then remove from heat.

Arrange half of the bread slices in a greased baking dish (mine was 12 x 12).  Spread the chilled egg mixture over the bread, being sure that each piece of bread has some egg on it.  Next, layer the apples over the bread and sprinkle with brown sugar, then top with remaining bread.  Repeat with egg and apple mixture.  Drizzle heavy cream over entire strata, then press down with a spatula several times to flatten slightly (this will help the egg and cream soak into the bread).  Top with any remaining brown sugar and allow to sit for about 5-10 minutes before placing in oven.

Bake the strata uncovered for 45-50 minutes or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean.  Remove the strata from oven and let rest while making the caramel sauce.

To make the caramel, mix the brown sugar, cream, butter and salt in a saucepan. Cook over medium heat, while whisking, 5 -10 minutes, until it thickens.  Add vanilla and cook for another minute or two.  Whisk in corn syrup and remove from heat.

Drizzle the caramel sauce over the strata, slice and serve while warm.  This can be reheated in the oven or microwave, or served cold.  Enjoy!

Tips:  If you are really into caramel, you can make the sauce in advance (or use store bought sundae style caramel) and drizzle this in the middle of the strata while assembling.

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