Prep and cook time: about 1 hour, plus 8 hours to chill
1. Tear croissants into 1/2-inch chunks. Whirl in a food processor until coarsely chopped, or chop with a knife. Butter 8 soufflé dishes (1- to 1 1/4-cup size) and fill equally with croissant pieces.
2. In a food processor, combine neufchatel cheese, 1/2 cup butter, and 1/4 cup maple syrup; whirl until blended. (Or, in a bowl, beat with a mixer until smoothly blended.) Drop equal portions into each soufflé dish.
3. In a bowl, beat eggs to blend with 1/2 cup maple syrup and the milk. Pour equally into each soufflé dish. Sprinkle with cinnamon. Cover and chill at least 8 hours or up to 1 day. Set dishes slightly apart in a 10- by 15- inch pan.
4. Bake, uncovered, in a 350° oven until pudding-soufflés are richly browned and centers barely jiggle when gently shaken, 45 to 50 minutes.
5. About 5 minutes before pudding-soufflés finish baking, in a 1- to 1 1/2 quart pan over medium-high heat, frequently stir remaining 1/2 cup maple syrup until hot. Sprinkle pudding-soufflés with pecans, dust with powdered sugar, garnish with berries or flowers, and add hot syrup to taste.