Summer Berry Brunch

Weekend mornings are for lazing around in jammies, sipping a fresh cup of tea and reading the paper while something yummy bakes up in the oven. Especially when the something yummy uses local berries and syrup and was prepared the night before. Another plus: this recipe requires little attention but to wait for the timer's buzz!

We're at the end of strawberry season here in western Massachusetts. This recipe works well with any fresh berry and jam ... try blueberries, raspberries, even blackberries work well. Once the apples are ripe, apple slices and apple jelly make for tasty seasonal substitutes. Hint: Use raisin challah and add a dash of cinnamon to the egg mixture when using apples.  

1/2 loaf of Challah bread, cut into 1-inch cubes (approx. 3 cups)
1-4 oz. package of cream cheese, cut into 1-inch cubes
1/4 cup fresh sliced strawberries
2 tablespoons strawberry jam
4 large eggs, slightly beaten
1/4 cup maple syrup 
3/4 cup milk
1/4 cup strawberry jam
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 teaspoon butter
Grease a deep-dish 8-inch pie pan. Place half of the bread cubes in the bottom of the prepared pie dish. Equally distribute the cream cheese cubes, fresh berries, and jam over the top of the bread cubes.
Top with remaining bread cubes. Thoroughly whisk the eggs, maple syrup and milk in a medium bowl. Pour egg mixture over bread and jam in pie pan. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
In the morning, preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Bake covered with foil for 30 minutes. Remove foil and continue to bake approximately 15-20 minutes more, or until the top is a toasty golden brown. Combine the syrup ingredients in a small microwave bowl. Microwave on high for one minute. If you prefer, use a small saucepan and heat over low heat on the stovetop. Serve hot with a tablespoon of syrup drizzled over each serving. Makes six generous portions.


  1. this looks amazing, as usual. this also looks like it could be a great dessert. i love this recipe because it is a method recipe that can be used for whatever is in season (and/or whatever produce you can get from tree, garden, etc.....). the tip for the apple variation is great.


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