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Pear French Toast Strata

Pear French Toast Strata

Yield: 24 servings.

¼ cup butter, softened
48 slices French bread, sliced 1” thick
2 qt. custard (recipe follows)
2 qt. pear-cream cheese (recipe follows)
½ tsp. ground cinnamon, optional

Custard (yields 2 qt.):
12 large eggs
1 cup sugar, fine
1 qt. milk
2 cups pear liquid (from Pacific Northwest Canned Pears)
1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
1 Tbsp. ground cinnamon

Pear Cream Cheese (yields 2 ½ qt.):
1 ½ qt. cream cheese, reduced fat, softened
1 cup sugar, fine
4 large eggs, whisked slightly
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. cinnamon, ground
1 qt. Pacific Northwest
Canned Pears, diced, drained

Spread bottom and sides of full steam pan with softened butter. Lay half the bread slices in an even layer in bottom of half steamtable pan. Pour half of custard (1 qt.) over bread slices. Spread pear cream cheese in an even layer over top of bread slices. Top with remaining bread slices in even layer. Pour remaining custard (1 qt.) over top of bread layer evenly. Sprinkle with cinnamon if desired. Cover and refrigerate at least one hour before baking. Bake in 325°F oven 50-60 minutes until cooked to an internal temperature of 150°F. Cool 20 minutes. Cut into 12 pieces to serve.

For custard: In the bowl of a mixer equipped with a paddle, blend eggs until creamy. Add sugar and continue mixing on medium until sugar is dissolved and mixture is creamy. Add remaining ingredients and blend until incorporated. Use as directed.

For pear cream cheese: In bowl of a mixer, blend cream cheese with sugar until smooth. Add eggs, vanilla and cinnamon and whisk until smooth. Stir in pears just until incorporated. Use as directed.