Strawberry season has been cruising along at a faster pace than normal this year. The month of May was one of record setting high temperatures which kicked our berries into high gear. With only a week or so left of our strawberry season to go, I decided to treasure the taste of spring by stopping by the patch everyday to pick a few berries for snacking. Did you know the average strawberry only has 5 calories and a cup of berries is around 50 calories? You can do the happy dance as you are eating fresh-picked, sweet and juicy Eckert’s strawberries because the calories barely even count!
Now that my kids are out of school, I have a little more time to make breakfast in the mornings. This recipe actually starts the night before so you have most of the work done in advance. Eckert’s Bakery’s Irish Soda Bread is the foundation for this sweet mix of deliciousness. Irish Soda Bread is very popular in our Country Store and nothing quite like it can be found in our region.
A sweet cream cheese spread on top of the Irish Soda Bread is then topped with strawberries making this recipe simply divine. The final step is to add a creamy custard that fills in all the gaps with goodness. I think you will find a slice of this yummy breakfast casserole to be a little piece of heaven on a plate.
I hope you will take time to treasure the last days of strawberry season in the Midwest by making this recipe or by just grabbing a handful of fresh-picked juicy (practically calorie free) strawberries!
Eat well, Angie
Hint: When making this recipe outside of strawberry season, visit the produce department at our Belleville Country Store. You will find an exceptional brand of frozen fruits and vegetables called Nature’s Blessed. This brand is the next best thing to freezing your own pickings.
Eat well, Angie
French toast ingredients:
12 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 tsp. cinnamon
½ tsp ground nutmeg
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp len juice
1 loaf of Eckert’s Irish Soda Bread (about 12 slices)
3 cups fresh or frozen strawberries, sliced
¾ cup milk
¾ half and half
1/3 cup pure maple syrup
2 tsp. vanilla extract
Optional: Eckert’s Strawberry Syrup or Jam for topping
Butter a 9×13 baking dish. In a medium bowl, beat cream cheese until light and fluffy. Add cinnamon and nutmeg and beat to incorporate. Beat in sugar for 1-2 minutes. Then beat in 1 egg and lemon juice.
In a large bowl, whisk together custard ingredients: milk, half and half, ten eggs, maple syrup and vanilla. Set aside.
Spread cream cheese mixture on one side of each slice of bread, then top cheese with sliced strawberries. Repeat with all bread slices. Using a serrated knife, cut bread (with topping) into one inch cubes. Place 2/3 of the cubes in the baking dish. Top with remaining strawberries and remaining cream cheese. Top with remaining bread crumbs. Then pour custard mixture over the top. Lightly press the mixture down with the back of a spoon. Cover and place in the refrigerator overnight.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Remove plastic wrap and cover with foil. Bake 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake for another 30-40 minutes or until nicely browned. Serve with Eckert’s Strawberry Syrup or Jam. Serves 12.