This recipe gives me all the fall feels and is the perfect thing to tuck into on a chilly fall morning. I generally make this with my white sandwich bread but it would also be wonderful made with my brioche, or any other good-quality white bread.
This is a great make-ahead option to feed a crowd and I couldn’t think of anything better for a holiday morning breakfast. You can make it entirely ahead and just reheat while everyone is busy opening presents. It’s a no-fuss, crowd-pleaser.–Heather Hardcastle
WHAT IS A STRATA?
Essentially a savory bread pudding, strata is a brunch casserole dish made up of layered pieces of bread, meat, vegetables, and often lots of cheese. That’s all soaked in eggs and milk, then baked until cooked through until set.
Popularized in the 1984 Silver Palate Good Times Cookbook by Julee Rosso and Sheila Lukins, strata is an overnight (literally) sensation that makes brunch less sugar-coated. The earliest recipe for strata (1902) contains bread and a white sauce but no cheese. Their loss, we say.
Pumpkin, Roasted Squash, and Gruyère Strata
- 1 small (2 cups) butternut squash, cut into 1/2-inch (12-mm) dice
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt, divided
- 2 teaspoons fresh ground black pepper, divided
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 12 large eggs
- 1 1/2 cups whole milk
- 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
- 1 can (15 oz) pumpkin purée
- 10 to 12 fresh sage leaves, minced
- 1 loaf white sandwich bread or brioche
- 1 cup grated Gruyère cheese
- Cooking spray
- Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C). Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment.
- Toss butternut squash with 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon pepper, and olive oil on the prepared baking sheet, then roast until tender, 15 to 20 minutes.
- While the squash is cooking, prepare the custard. In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, and cream. Add pumpkin purée and whisk until smooth. Add the remaining 2 teaspoons salt, 1 teaspoon pepper, and sage. Stir to combine.
- Cut the bread into 1-inch (25-mm) cubes. Add bread to the pumpkin custard mixture and stir to combine. Push the bread into the custard a bit and allow it to soak for about 10 minutes.
- When the squash is cooked, add it to the bread and custard mixture. Add three-quarters of the grated Gruyère and stir to combine.
- Spray a 9-by-13 inch (23-by-33 cm) baking dish with cooking spray. Pour the bread and custard mixture into the baking dish. Press down on the mixture with a spoon to level it out a bit and to make sure the bread doesn’t just float on top of the custard.
- Sprinkle remaining cheese on top. Cover the strata with parchment paper and then cover the paper with foil, pressing it down firmly around the edge of the pan to seal.
- Place the baking dish on a baking sheet before putting it in the oven, as the strata has a tendency to overflow. Bake, covered, for 35 minutes, remove foil and paper, and bake until the top is golden and the strata is bubbly and feels set when gently pushed in the center, 25 to 35 minutes more.
- Allow to cool to room temperature before serving.
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Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.
Recipe Testers’ Reviews
It’s fall, y’all! Time to break out the pumpkin, the soup pot, and sweaters. This pumpkin, roasted squash, and Gruyère strata is a perfect fall dish. It comes together easily, halves easily (great when there are only two of you), uses mostly pantry ingredients, and it’s delicious.
The recipe also discusses my favorite cooking riff–using what you have, although I followed the directions to the letter this time. My strata took a bit longer to become golden, about 33 minutes. It didn’t overflow onto the sheet pan. It cooled for about 20 minutes before we dug in. Even though I didn’t let it cool to room temp, it still released from the baking dish easily. I found it quite rich, so I think a half recipe would serve 6 people.
This pumpkin, roasted squash, and Gruyère strata is deliciously light and subtle in flavor and works exactly as written. Quick to put together, it cooks perfectly and came out of the oven golden and puffy.
I made myself go to my office to allow it time to cool before cutting into it. It made a lovely Sunday afternoon snack. My husband loved it and he rarely comments.
Originally published October 26, 2021