A new way to enjoy a classic treat!
Similar to a bread pudding, this delightful dish can do double duty on a brunch menu or as a dessert. I used brioche-style bagels to make it and found the texture terrific; note that you could easily use your favourite gluten-free bread or bagels. It’s fabulous with the cream cheese glaze but you can skip that and drizzle with maple syrup if you prefer. For a savoury dish that’s similar in terms of preparation and texture, check out my bagel breakfast strata. And if you love the flavours of carrot cake as much as I do, you might want to make this carrot cake jam for your next cheese or charcuterie board, or serve up these festive carrot cake cookie sandwiches.
- 2 tablespoons (28 g) butter
- 1 cup (50 g) finely grated carrots
- 1 cup (200 g) brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons (5 g) ground cinnamon
- 3/4 cup (180 mL) milk
- 4 large eggs
- 2 teaspoons (10 mL) vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup (25 g) toasted shredded coconut (optional but delicious)
- 1/2 cup (65 g) finely chopped pecans or walnuts (optional but delicious)
- 1/4 cup (40 g) raisins, currants or chopped dates (optional but delicious)
- 6 cups (210 g) brioche-style bread, in 3/4 inch (2 cm) cubes
- 1/2 cup (115 g) room temperature cream cheese
- 1 tablespoon (14 g) melted butter
- 1/2 cup (50 g) confectioners’ sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon (2.5 mL) vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons (30 mL) milk
- Melt butter in a medium-sized saucepan. Add carrots, brown sugar and cinnamon; cook over medium-low heat, stirring often, until carrots are soft (about 5 minutes). Transfer mixture to a clean bowl and put in the fridge to cool for a few minutes.
- Place milk in a 2 cup (500 mL) measuring cup or a medium sized bowl (note that a measuring cup will make it easier to pour the mixture later). Add eggs and beat well to blend. Stir in vanilla. Stir in cooled carrot mixture.
- Combine coconut, nuts and raisins (if using) in a small bowl.
- Grease the bottom and sides of an 8 x 8 inch (20 x 20 cm) oven-safe casserole dish with a little butter or neutral oil. Scatter half of the bread cubes in the bottom of the dish. Sprinkle with half of the coconut mixture then use a fork to scoop out about half of the cooked carrots from the milk and egg mixture; scatter them evenly, one forkful at a time, over the top of the bread cubes and coconut mixture. Drizzle half of the milk and egg mixture evenly over the first layer of bread and toppings.
- Scatter remaining bread over top, followed by coconut mixture. Scoop out and scatter remaining carrots over top, then slowly pour the milk and egg mixture over everything, distributing it evenly.
- With the back of a spoon, press down on the bread so that it is fully immersed in the liquid and let sit for at least 15 minutes or cover and refrigerate for up to 12 hours before baking.
- When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350F. Bake 45 to 50 minutes until top is browned and center is set (it does not wiggle when you jiggle the pan).
- While casserole is baking, prepare glaze by beating the ingredients together in a medium bowl.
- Let casserole rest for 3 – 5 minutes after removing from oven, then drizzle glaze over top. Cut into squares and serve warm or at room temperature.