Monte Cristo Strata

Thick slices of brown sugar ham are layered with Swiss cheese and bread before an overnight soak in an easy egg custard. Drizzled with warm cranberry sauce and a dusting of confectioners’ sugar, it's the ultimate make-ahead brunch for a crowd!


  • Nonstick cooking spray, for the baking dish and foil
  • 2 cups half-and-half
  • Pinch of ground nutmeg
  • 6 large eggs
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • One 14-ounce can jellied cranberry sauce
  • 14 thick slices hearty white bread (about 24 ounces)
  • 7 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 1/4 pounds sliced Swiss cheese (about 32 slices)
  • 7 thick slices brown sugar Kentucky Legend Quarter Sliced Ham
  • Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting, optional


  1. Lightly spray a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. Whisk the half-and-half, nutmeg, eggs, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in a large bowl until smooth and combined.
  3. Remove the jellied cranberry sauce from the can in one piece. Cut a 1 1/4-inch-thick slice of cranberry sauce from one end and reserve for serving. Thinly slice the remaining cranberry sauce into 14 rounds (each about 1/16 inch thick).
  4. Lay 7 slices of bread in a single layer on a cutting board. Spread 1 teaspoon of Dijon on each slice. Top each with 2 slices of Swiss cheese and 1 slice of ham, followed by another 2 slices of Swiss cheese, then 2 slices of cranberry. Top with the remaining 7 slices of bread to form 7 sandwiches. Cut each sandwich in half diagonally. Transfer the halves to the prepared baking dish and arrange in 2 long shingled rows. Pour the custard over the sandwiches, making sure all are fully coated. Tear the remaining Swiss cheese slices in half and scatter on top. Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour and up to overnight.
  5. Let the casserole sit at room temperature for 15 to 20 minutes before baking. Position an oven rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 375 degrees F.
  6. Spray a large piece of foil with nonstick spray. Place the foil sprayed-side down on top of the baking dish, crimping the sides of the foil around the pan to seal. Bake until the strata is puffed and just starting to bubble at the edges, about 30 minutes. Remove the foil and bake until the custard is set but still slightly jiggly and the top is golden brown, about 15 minutes more. Allow to rest for 5 minutes.
  7. Microwave the reserved cranberry sauce and 1/2 teaspoon water in a microwave-safe bowl on high until warmed through, 30 to 45 seconds; whisk until smooth. Drizzle over the strata and dust with confectioners’ sugar, if using.

Recipe Courtesy of Food Network Kitchen

prep time
20 MIN
total time
2 HR 20 MIN