This strata, from my favorite new casserole cookbook, can be rustic down home comfort food or dressed up for a sophisticated brunch dish. The gruyere cheese with the touch of pear, apple and raisins makes this traditional dish something special.
- 2 tablespoons butter, softened (optional)
- 8 slices cinnamon raisin bread or 8 slices white bread, 1/2 inch thick, rustic
- 6 ounces ham, thinly sliced
- 1⁄4 cup onion, 1/2 medium, finely chopped
- 1 small pears or 1 small tart apple, peeled, cored, and chopped
- 1 cup sharp cheddar cheese or 1 cup gruyere cheese, 4 ounces shredded
- 2 cups milk
- 4 eggs
- 1 1⁄2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 1⁄2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1⁄4 teaspoon black pepper
- Lightly butter 1 side of each bread slice using the 2 tablespoons of softened butter or omit this step if desired.
- Top 4 slices of bread, buttered side up, evenly with ham and place the other 4 slices of bread buttered side down on top of ham.
- Quarter each sandwich forming 4 triangles and place in a buttered 2-quart baking dish, arrange triangles pointed sides up.
- Sprinkle chopped onion, pear or apple, and cheese over triangles.
- In a medium bowl, add milk, eggs, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, and pepper. Whisk together and carefully pour over triangles in baking dish.
- Cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least two hours or overnight.
- In a 350 degree oven, bake covered for 20 minutes. Uncover and bake approximately 25 minutes longer or until puffed and golden brown and a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean. Prep and Cooking time does not include 2-24 hour chilling time.