Pumpkin Strata

Savory Breakfast casserole

I know. It feels like we are starting to over-do the pumpkin theme.

And yet, if you have pumpkin purée remaining from your Thanksgiving provisions then you have to try this pumpkin strata for breakfast or weekend brunch.

Photo: Minimalist Baker
Photo: Minimalist Baker

Inspired by my Mum whose own Strata has always been a brunch favorite, and by Heidi Swanson of 101 Cookbooks whose Spinach Strata is a great take on that old fave, and also by the Minimalist Baker whose photo above of Pumpkin French Toast was shared with me recently by Shannon Jones.

A gratitude shout out, too, to Morgan Anderson who recently suggested “We should tell people how good pumpkin is for them. They don’t have to skip the pie.”  It is tri-doshic, after all, so everyone gets the benefits.

Mom and I sort of made this up when we had a brunch to serve and not a whole lot of time to prepare, meaning it’s easy and quick. For best texture and greatest ease,  make it the night before and just pop it in the oven an hour before your guests arrive. It’s a lovely color, with a moist, tender texture. Honestly, everyone seemed to love it. My favorite words of gratitude were from my uber-talented sister-in-law who said, “You know I can’t eat sugar, so I never get to have pumpkin for Thanksgiving. Thanks for making something I can have, and something so good!”

Filling a need, while inspiring the palate – that’s a dharma I am grateful for!

Pumpkin Strata
Serves 10-12

1/2 c shallots or yellow onion, roughly chopped
3 cloves garlic
2 cups pumpkin purée
2 c whole milk
6 eggs
1/2 t thyme
1/2 t sage
1/4 t celery seed
1 good shake pumpkin spice
optionally, 1/2 to a full teaspoon curry powder
himalayan salt and fresh cracked black pepper
1 T ghee
7-8 cups stale bread, cubed or sliced
1 c cheddar, grated
handful of pumpkin seeds
1/2 c parmesan cheese, grated

Set your oven to 350F. Put your onion and garlic in an electric blender and chop. Add pumpkin, milk, eggs, herbs and mix well. In a casserole dish, evenly distribute your cubed bread  and cheddar. Pour the egg mixture over. Top with pumpkin seeds, and parmesan cheese and bake for 35-45 minutes or until cooked through the middle and sizzling golden on top.

Embed from Getty Images

 

Thanks to Getty Images for photos of pumpkins. Thank you to all the photographers and artists in my life who keep inspiring us to look, to see, to be inquisitive ~ and thanks to you for taking the time to read, comment, try the recipes and inspire with your own sacred, sumptuous life.

I would love to hear what are you grateful for this Thanksgiving?

I wish you a blessed holiday and holy days always.

French Toast Brioche

Sarabeth’s Brioche

When we arrived at a recent Holiday party with our Brioche Chestnut & Fig Stuffing adapted from the New York Times Well Recipes, a friend asked, “What is Brioche?”

Brioche is a flaky, buttery bread that is so light it could almost be a cake. While our recipe called for a loaf, brioche is more often baked in muffin tins where it rises to form happy, little puffed crowns, as in the photograph on the right from the cover of Sarabeth’s Bakery, a gorgeous cookbook from Sarabeth Levine.

Brioche is great for dipping, so it is a delight with coffee for breakfast or with afternoon tea. For an indulgent European breakfast, it is delicious with hazelnut chocolate spread, which has the added benefit of boosting brain power. For an Ayurvedic spin, spread your brioche with Chyavanprash, an immune-boosting, rejuvenating tonic disguised as an herbal jam and packed with vitamins and minerals to fortify your morning.

For our breakfast this morning, we made the best of our leftover brioche. Since the Stuffing we made yesterday needed only half the loaf and we also had to buy 6 eggs to get 2 for that recipe, we were left with the perfect ingredients for the world’s most succulent French Toast.

The Remains of the Day’s Brioche

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This recipe was inspired by my father who loved making Saturday breakfast while children of every age crawled all over him. Try it and see if people don’t come running to you.

Dorie Greenspan promises it doesn’t have to be difficult to make lighter-than-air, delectable, Marie Antoniette-worthy brioche, if you want to try your hand and make your own Greenspan’s new book, Around My French Table, has the recipe and many more savories suitable for vegetarians.