I served this dessert during brunch on Sunday morning to guests.
This brunch dessert seems to go well following a meal of savory breakfast burritos with oregano and cumin. My guess is that the cinnamon in the strawberry croissant bread pudding is a complementary spice.
I used Giada de Laurentiis’s Strawberry Strata recipe and modified it so that the texture would be more like my Chocolate Croissant Bread Pudding.
Strawberry Cream Cheese Bread Pudding
8 oz cream cheese
16 oz skim ricotta
4 TB Saigon cinnamon
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup honey
1 cup granulated sugar
20 oz frozen strawberries
4 oz powdered sugar
Serves 12 at $3 per person
I purchased the ingredients at Ralphs so it wasn’t as cheap as it could have been if I shopped at Costco. I was reluctant to make the long drive to Van Nuys Costco during this crazy traffic holiday weekend.
1. Take the fresh croissants. Place a few on a cutting board and cut the bread into crouton-sized cubes. It doesn’t have to be truly uniform. Cubes 1″ are easier to drench with the custard batter. Repeat for all 13 croissants. Set aside.
2. Put all the cheese in a mixing bowl. Stir the eggs into the cheese mixture with a wooden spoon, one at a time. This will help the cheese mixture accept the eggs and form a uniform batter. Add cinnamon, honey and granulated sugar.
3. Loosen the batter with the heavy cream.
4. Use butter spray on two rectangular sheet cake trays with 3″ depth. Place each oven-safe tray into a larger rectangular pan with a 2″ depth. Fill the inner tray with a layer of bread cubes. Pour half the custard batter in both bread lined trays.
5. Thaw the frozen strawberries slightly in the microwave. Sprinkle the strawberries over both the batter trays. Do not stir if you want to avoid a pink batter! Push the strawberries into the batter wherever they land.
6. Surround both inner basins with a water bath. Just before you place the trays into the oven, fill the outer tray with clean, cold water. This will help the custard set but stay soft during baking.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 minutes. Let the mixture sit and the bread will soak up the batter. Bake both trays covered with foil for 45 minutes. Increase heat to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and bake uncovered for another 30 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle with powdered sugar.
Please be careful when removing the tray from the oven with the full water bath. It can splash! I suggest you wear closed toe shoes just in case it spills onto your feet.
Note: If you try to reduce sugar and fat from this recipe it will change the texture of the custard. It may not set. You may be asking, where is the bargain? You can substitute any kind of fruit or bread that you find on sale! For example, you can buy challah you can buy a loaf for less than $4 or fresh stone fruit when it is in season.