Cheese Danish Croissant Bake
Cheese Danish Croissant Bake- This make ahead casserole takes the best parts of cheese danishes and bread pudding then mashes them into one brunch treat.
March 30, 2021 by Nicole Collins
I am in full out Easter mode this year.
It's funny, because Easter is not usually a holiday that I get super excited about. At least not from a “commercial holiday” standpoint.
Easter at church, of course, is a very special holiday. And even more so than that, my church “buries” the word “Hallelujah” during the Lenten season, and I'm always extremely excited to get our Hallelujahs back during worship.
But on the commercial celebration side, it's just a Sunday where I get Reeses peanut butter cups in my Easter basket and ham sammies in my belly.
Don't get me wrong, I absolutely enjoy the special family time and the special meals. And, I love the colors that are associated with Easter. But I guess what I'm saying is, it's no Christmas...
Well this year, I'm all in. I have a special brunch planned for myself. I have a special Good Friday meal planned for myself. I made a special holiday themed dessert for myself.
As I'm reading this back, I now understand that I'm really only excited to eat.
It's your lucky day, because today I'm sharing my Easter brunch secret with you.
So today, we're making Cheese Danish Croissant Bake!
This casserole is perfect for entertaining, no matter how big or small your group is this year. It's super easy to whip up. You can make it ahead of time. And, you get all the best parts of cheese danishes and bread pudding combined. It's a real winner!
Let's start with the base of our casserole...the croissants! All we need to do is dice some croissants into one inch cubes, toss them is a lightly greased casserole dish, and step one is complete! Now if you have the opportunity, croissants that are a couple days old work best for this dish. If you can't buy them ahead, cube your croissants, and let them sit uncovered for about an hour to “stale” a little bit.
For our custard, we're going to take all the flavors we know and love about a traditional cheese danish and infuse them into a milk and egg mix. So, we need some softened cream cheese, some sugar, a little vanilla bean paste, and a pinch of salt. Then we'll add in some milk and cream, beat it all together until it's as smooth as you can get it, and we'll whisk in some eggs to help hold everything together.
Once the custard has been mixed, we'll pour the custard all over our croissants in the casserole, making sure to touch every nook and cranny of that bread. And then, we wait. This casserole needs a minimum of 4 hours in the fridge to give the croissants a chance to soak up all that sweet, creamy goodness. But if you have the time, let it sit overnight. After it's nice and rested, we'll pop it in the oven to get golden brown; and we're just about done.
You can't have a cheese danish without a sweet glaze on top, and this casserole is certainly not exempt. So we'll make a super simple mix of powdered sugar and milk, stir it until it's perfectly smooth, then drizzle it all over the top of our casserole. Let it sit for a few minutes so the glaze has a chance to set up, and then you know what time it is.
It's time to eat!
You all know I'm not one for the sweet breakfasts, but this casserole may just convert me. It's perfectly sweet, but not cloyingly so. The cream cheese really helps to balance out the sugar, while the vanilla bean paste adds a nice richness to the whole mix. And, the croissants are nice and soft on the inside while having a nice light crunch on the outside. It really is like one big ol' cheese danish!
Ok, everyone. Tell me what's on your Easter menus this year. Do you prefer to celebrate with brunch or dinner?
I can't wait to hear what you guys think of this one.
Cheese Danish Croissant Bake
Serves: 4 Print
4 cups (about 4 large) croissants, cut into 1 inch cubes
8 oz cream cheese, softened
½ cup granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
½ cup milk + 1 tbsp, divided (I used 1%)
¼ cup heavy cream
pinch of salt
½ cup powdered sugar
Spray an 8x8 casserole dish with cooking spray. Spread croissant cubes evenly in the dish. Set aside.
To a mixing bowl, add cream cheese, sugar, vanilla bean paste, 1/2 cup milk, heavy cream, and a pinch of salt. Using a hand mixer, beat on low until the mix is mostly smooth and most of the cream cheese has broken up. Add eggs, and whisk in the eggs by hand to incorporate into the custard.
Pour the custard evenly over the croissants, making sure the custard touches every piece of bread. Press the bread mix with your hands down in to the custard to help the croissants absorb the custard mix. Cover the dish with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours, or up to overnight.
Remove the casserole from the fridge. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake casserole for 40-45 mins, laying a piece of aluminum foil over the casserole after 30 minutes to prevent the top from getting too dark. Allow to cool slightly.
In a small bowl, combine powdered sugar and 1 tbsp milk. Stir until smooth. After the croissant bake has cooled for at least 10 minutes, drizzle glaze over the casserole. Allow the glaze to dry for about 15 minutes. Cut and serve!
*It's ok if the cream cheese is a little lumpy in the custard. It will melt into the bake and be perfectly delish.
*To get 4 cups of croissant cubes, you need about 4 large or 10 mini croissants. If possible, it's best if the croissants are a few days old.
*Covering the casserole with foil after 30 minutes helps prevent the croissant pieces sticking up at the top from getting too dark. You don't want to tent the casserole, just lay a piece right on top as a shield.
*This recipe can be easily doubled and baked in a 9x13 casserole dish. Just add about another 10 minutes to the cooking time.