I found myself in such a terrible predicament. I had too many buttery croissants and zero room in my freezers. I know, such a horrible predicament to be in – some people should be so lucky, eh? But you have to understand something about me and my childhood. See I grew up really, really poor and while we had food on the table and clothes on our back it wasn’t anything fancy or hoity toity. And honestly, I’m thankful for it. It taught me true values and to appreciate what is REALLY important – family, faith, love, honesty, integrity, respect and honor. It wasn’t about having Jordache Jeans (yeah I so dated myself with that one), the biggest radio, Candies’ shoes (again, just dated myself) or brand new stuff. Sure I can say that now as yeah, growing up it was rough. Kids, while they deep down understand, still have it hard to deal with when they see their friends and classmates with all those things. However as an adult I wouldn’t change one thing about growing up the way I did. So hopefully now you can understand why I have such a hard time wasting food. Because I know what it’s like to go with out. Thus in my house no food goes wasted – it always has a place in someone’s belly somewhere.
That being said I had an abundance of croissants. It was early Saturday morning and I HAD to do something with them. Since they weren’t fresh they lost their ‘WOW’ factor but still just as awesome. Since I will often use day old bread to make certain bread puddings or breakfast casseroles I wanted to use these in that way however I didn’t want the same old filling. Croissants are elegant, regal so it was only befitting they have the same type of filling. Since I had just purchased a 3lb tub of cream cheese I opted to go with a cheesecake type filling. Now I could have stopped there but I had some fresh strawberries that pretty much jumped out of the fridge begging to join in the party!
Um hey… you have some drool going on there but Shhhhh! I won’t tell anyone 😉
Yeah I’m BEYOND thrilled on how this turned out! Mr. Fantabulous and I literally “Fork Fought” over this dish. What’s Fork Fought? Well we started off with a serving each. He, being the human disposal, inhaled his (and I swear he ate the plate as well) proceeded to bring his fork near my serving. I, turning into a pitbull with rabies, took my fork grasping it like a dagger and snarled “if you touch my dish I will stab you.” And then we proceeded to battle with forks. LOL
Now what I particularly loved about this dish is that it wasn’t sweet. I am not a huge cheesecake fan but this wasn’t really sweet thus allowing the natural sweetness of the strawberries to shine through. And let me tell you what I don’t think I would try making this with regular white bread. Maybe you could use brioche but there’s something about the flaky layers of the croissants that allow this dish to truly shine. The top gets all crunchy from the toasted croissant pieces and the coarse sugar coating while the center is cheesecake-y and smooth. The berries just melt into pure awesomeness!
You can eat this as-is and it’s just as awesome as that’s how I planned on serving it but it just seemed ‘bare’. The flavor was awesome but when Mr. Fantabulous went for the Maple Syrup and I just about hurled I decided to make a simple strawberry syrup. Sure you could cook some some berries into a coulis and sweeten it with a bit of sugar but why bother with this. You want fast and in your belly, right? I had some homemade strawberry preserves in the fridge so literally I just heating up about a 1/2 cup of it until it was liquidy and poured that over top of the breakfast bake. It was PERFECT!
Now if you don’t like strawberries you could use pretty much any berry. I will DEFINITELY be making this with fresh blueberries, raspberries or even a mixed berries. Or what about if you kept it as strawberry or even raspberry but also added in some chocolate chunks to the fruit? If you do add the chocolate I would forgo the lemon oil and go more with a vanilla or chocolate extract. OMG.. CHOCOLATE COVERED STRAWBERRY CHEESECAKE BAKE!!!
Hold on… let me think about that…
… and drool with you!
I mean just look at all of those incredible flaky layers! That creamy cheesecake filling with those luscious strawberries playing peek-a-boo with you just calling your name! You could even maybe dust this with some powdered sugar as well if you want. Just be sure to make this.. often! I am not sure this would freeze well as I could see the cheesecake portion separating and the berries getting mushy. Plus trust me, after your first bite this dish won’t last long. Ours lasted 1.5 days – yes, that’s it!
So your mission is to either make some croissants or buy some and let them go semi stale (day old) then make this! Trust me, this is sooooooooooo worth every single luscious bite. I actually just took 4 croissants out of the freezer and am making this again on Sunday for brunch. Depending on what fruit is on sale and looks the best I’ll go with that. Oh I bet you once peach season hits, this would ROCK with peaches! Almost like a peaches ‘n cream! OMG!!! MMMMM!!!Print
- 4 large croissants, cut up (about 6 cups)
- 2 cups fresh strawberries, cut into chunks
- 8 oz cream cheese, softened (use regular or low fat, not fat-free)
- 2/3 cup white sugar
- 2 XL eggs
- 1/2 tsp lemon oil
- 1 cup half and half
- Coarse sanding sugar
- Warmed strawberry syrup (just heat up some strawberry preserves until loose and syrupy)
- Preheat oven to 350F, rack in the middle
- Lightly spray an 8” glass baking pan.
- Place half of the croissant pieces in an 8” square pan.
- Top with half of the strawberries
- Add the rest of the croissant pieces and remaining strawberries.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or hand mixer with beaters) beat cream cheese, sugar, eggs and lemon until well blended.
- Slowly pour in the half and half until all blended in.
- Pour over top of the croissant and strawberries covering evenly.
- Gently press down with the back of a spatula to ensure all pieces are coated.
- Allow to sit for 25 minutes to soak in at room temperature, uncovered.
- Sprinkle with sanding sugar.
- Bake 45-60 minutes or until the center set (may still be moist) and golden brown. Keep an eye on it around the 45 minute mark as you don’t the croissant pieces on top to get too browned.
- Allow to rest for 15-20 minutes before cutting.
- Drizzle with warm strawberry syrup.
- Store leftovers (if you have any) in the fridge.