Chocolate Strata with Raspberry Sauce

by Valerie on April 15, 2009 · 11 comments

Sometimes, very good ideas are born out of sheer laziness and forgetfulness. Take this chocolate strata – a few weeks ago, on a Friday, I was on my way home from a very long day on the heels of a very long week. I was thinking idly that dessert would be nice but, when I was on my way home, I flat out forgot to pick anything up (which is sad considering I was within half a block of Hello Cupcake on my way home).

And then it started pouring. And did I mention it was cold. In fact it was the perfect night to make homey comforting red cabbage but, as I was cooking dinner, I just couldn’t get excited about baking dessert. This is where a more motivated person would have pulled out the measuring cups and spoons and made something tasty but me, I was done for the day. I did think of making biscotti, just because it’s easy, but really wanted something even easier.

I was about to settle on some dark chocolate for dessert and completely give up on the baking idea when, reaching into the fridge for a red onion for the cabbage, I noticed that we had four eggs and some milk within days of expiration. And then I noticed I still had stale toasted bread cubes on the bottom shelf – the very same ones I had been promising to turn into bread crumbs for weeks but, since we already had a lot of breakcrumbs, never got around to blitzing in the food processor into breadcrumbs.

I hopped on MyRecipes.com, got a better sense of bread to egg to milk ratios in stratas and bread puddings, and went to work with what I had on hand. The result was exactly everything I had been wanting: homey, comforting, chocolatey, warm, not too sweet, custardy fluffly goodness with a touch of acidity from the raspberry sauce. I went heavy on the vanilla extract so as not to use additional sugar, but you could tweak the recipe to add sugar into the egg/milk mixture.

Lastly, I know today is tax day here in the U.S., so wanted to include a recipe that was easy and cheap – I love stratas but only make them when I do have leftover bread and some milk that needs to be used up – they are so easy and invariably delicious. For a savory version, see this recipe from a few weeks ago.

Chocolate Strata with Raspberry Sauce
Ingredients
4 cups stale bread, torn or cut into cubes (mine were about 1 inch cubes, but I also had some sliced bread – it was a mixture of stale baguette and stale sourdough bread)
1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
4-6 oz dark chocolate, broken up into pieces (or you could use about 1/3 cup chocolate chips)
11/2 cups milk (skim milk worked fine)
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup frozen raspberries
1 tablespoon agave nectar

If your stale bread isn’t crispy stale, then preheat oven to 350° and place bread pieces in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake at 350° for 12 minutes or until lightly browned. Grease the bottom of your casserole dish with the olive oil (CGL Note: you could use butter or cooking spray instead, I just really like the idea of extra virgin olive oil with chocolate and bread because of some desserts I have had at Spanish restaurants)Place the bread in bottom of a 8 x 8 baking dish coated with a touch of extra virgin olive oil (CGL Note: the casserole dish I used is about 8×8 but it’s deep – it’s about 3 inches high on the sides). Mix chocolate into the bread pieces. Combine milk, eggs, and vanilla extract, stirring well with a whisk. Pour over bread. Cover and chill 8 hours or overnight (CGL Note – that’s the way I have always made strata, but I only let this sit for about an hour before baking it, and it was still delicious) Preheat oven to 350°. Uncover strata; bake at 350° for 40 minutes and see if it is lightly browned and set. It may be, but if not, cover and bake another 15-20 minutes. In the meantime, simmer the raspberries over low to medium heat, mash them up to make them into a sauce and add agave syrup right before turning the heat off. Pour over individual servings of strata for utmost yumminess. Serve warm.

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{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Chessa! April 15, 2009 at 4:56 pm

I think I just gained ten pounds.

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2 Rosa's Yummy Yums April 15, 2009 at 5:18 pm

That looks mighty scrumptious! I love anything puddingy…

cheers,

Rosa

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3 Lola April 15, 2009 at 8:18 pm

I love the idea of re-using stale bread for dessert!

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4 A Crafty Mom April 16, 2009 at 12:09 am

Wow – how delicious does that sound???? YUMMY.

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5 drriftwood April 16, 2009 at 12:51 am

Now you’ve made me crave something warm and chocolatey.!..sound delish!

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6 Emily April 16, 2009 at 2:14 am

Whoa – yumminess. Great recipe! :) It looks fantastic.

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7 drriftwood April 16, 2009 at 2:52 am

I did something bad and lazy:
1. bought a jar of nutella
2. broke a slice of bread into pieces
3.spooned 3 spoons of nutella on and in between the pieces
3. heated it in the microwave..
and that is how I got my quick chocolate fix..lol..am in chocolate heaven right now

Lavanya

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8 Melita April 16, 2009 at 3:38 pm

looks and sounds fantastic!! will definitely be trying this!!

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9 Claudia April 16, 2009 at 5:01 pm

Oh! I have all the ingredients! Uh oh. I could be making a few people very happy tonight.

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10 City Girl April 17, 2009 at 1:58 pm

Chessa – No butter is in there, yet it’s cakey. That was pretty nifty :)

Rosa – Puddingy and bready are wonderful things.

Lola – I really try hard not to let anything go to waste – and this is a great way to use up bread.

Crafty Mom – very!

Emily – it really is very tasty.

drriftwood – I MUST try this.

Melita – so worth it, and a great way to use up stale bread.

Claudia – it really was super easy to make.

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11 Maris April 18, 2009 at 3:57 am

I love chocolate! This looks like a great recipe.

I love Real Simple, too! For years it was the only magazine I’ve subscribed to.

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