How to Make It
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.
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.
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.
Bake, uncovered, in a 350° oven until pudding-soufflés are richly browned and centers barely jiggle when gently shaken, 45 to 50 minutes.
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.
Foothill House, Calistoga, CA