Strawberry Croissant Bake

recipe from Lisa@ The Cutting Edge of Ordinary
adapted from a recipe at Crumbs and Chaos
12 small butter croissants
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
Juice of 1 lemon
Zest of 1 lemon
1 1/4 cups powered sugar (divided)
1 1/2 cups milk
2 eggs
Strawberry Sauce:
2 cups of fresh strawberries, chopped
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

Slice croissants open. I didn't slice mine all the way through, I left them open like a clam shell (trying to give you a mental image, lol). Set aside.
 
Beat together cream cheese, lemon juice and 3/4 cup powdered sugar in a bowl. You want this to be light and fluffy (I used the whisk attachment for my mixer.)
 
Spread the cream cheese mixture on the bottom half of each croissant and close the top back down. Arrange the croissnats so they all fit in the bottom of a lightly greased 9x13 pan. I placed them in there like a little puzzle.
 
Combine milk, eggs, lemon zest and 1/2 cup of powdered sugar. Pour over croissants in pan and then cover the pan with foil and place in fridge for 8-10 hours.
In the morning, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place covered pan in preheated oven for 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake an additional 20-30 minutes until set and golden. Let stand 5-10 minutes after removing from the oven. Serve with strawberry sauce and fresh sliced strawberries.
 
Strawberry Sauce:
Add strawberries and sugar to a large, heavy saucepan. Stirring often, bring to a boil over medium heat. Take off of the heat and add vanilla. Mash with a potato masher for a chunky sauce, blend with an immersion blender for a smooth sauce.
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