Key Lime Pie Bread Pudding

by Jillian
Flaky croissants soaked in a tangy key lime custard, topped with a buttery graham cracker streusel, and drizzled in a decadent cloak of key lime cream cheese icing!

Flaky croissants soaked in a tangy key lime custard, topped with a buttery graham cracker streusel, and drizzled in a decadent cloak of key lime cream cheese icing!

Key lime pie is a classic dessert that definitely deserves all the accolades it gets. It’s tart, tangy, unbelievably smooth and creamy! Just one bite on a hot summer day is sure to cool off those tastebuds.

However, what if I said there was a way to enjoy this legendary pie in a different form?

Like maybe, bread pudding…

Yes folks, I’ve done it again. I’ve managed to incorporate an unlikely flavor into one of my favorite desserts–bread pudding!!

This Key Lime Pie Bread Pudding contains every single exquisite aspect of the pie itself. The buttery croissants are soaked in a rich bath of key lime custard, then topped with a crisp graham cracker streusel, and baked to golden perfection in the oven. Once it’s served up in a bowl, it’s GENEROUSLY drizzled in a smooth and tangy cream cheese icing.

Allow me to wipe that drool off your chin…

So what makes this bread pudding better than all the rest? Well, allow me to expand on that…

Use Croissants for the BEST Flavor and Texture.

Since the very first time I used croissants in my bread puddings, I haven’t used any other bread. It’s just really hard to beat the flakey, buttery texture of a croissant, and they soak up the custard so incredibly well without resulting in an unappealing mushy texture. 

Use Stale or Toasted Bread.

Whether you use croissants or another kind of bread, just make sure that it’s NOT fresh. Dry, stale bread soaks up the custard much better than fresh bread since it already lacks moisture to begin with. If you don’t have stale or dry bread, just toast it! Simply cut them into bite-size pieces, scatter them on a baking sheet, and bake in a preheated 350ºF oven for 8-10 minutes, or until they look nice and golden. Toasting the bread also adds more flavor!

Soak Overnight.

Although it’s okay to let the bread pudding soak for just the minimum 2 hours, I highly recommend making it up the day before, allowing it to soak overnight, and baking it the next morning. The longer the bread sits in the custard, the more it’s able to soak up all of that delicious liquid, thus allowing the flavors to fully develop. 

Skip Most of the Egg Whites.

This recipe contains three egg yolks and just one whole egg. Removing most of the whites makes the custard more silky and rich. This also prevents any eggy flavor, which usually comes from egg whites that aren’t fully blended into the custard.

No Key Limes? No Problem!

Just use regular limes. Sure, they’re not the “highly-coveted” key limes, but they’ll be just as good in this bread pudding. Plus, it’ll take A LOT less time to juice and zest them.

Add Just a Wee Bit of Cinnamon!

Whenever I make a graham cracker crust, I always add just a little bit of cinnamon to it. It livens up the flavor quite a bit, and makes all the difference! Although it might seem like cinnamon would clash with lime, adding it to the streusel topping really complements the overall flavor of the bread pudding. 

DON’T skip the Icing!

The icing is what brings this whole bread pudding together. Not only does it make every bite extra moist and flavorful, but it also adds MORE lime lusciousness! The tanginess of the cream cheese icing goes exceptionally well with the tartness of the lime. The icing is actually a bit thick, so if you want more of an icing texture (as pictured in the photos), just heat the icing in the microwave for 15-20 seconds. This will give it that pourable consistency.

This Key Lime Bread Pudding was devoured rather quickly in my household. My boyfriend even enjoyed it cold, as he snuck spoonfuls of it straight from the baking dish. Whether you’re a key lime fan or not, odds are you’re gonna be in pure bliss with each and every bite of this bombshell bread pudding.

Flaky croissants soaked in a tangy key lime custard, topped with a buttery graham cracker streusel, and drizzled in a decadent cloak of key lime cream cheese icing!

Key Lime Pie Bread Pudding

Flaky croissants soaked in a tangy key lime custard, topped with a buttery graham cracker streusel, and drizzled in a decadent cloak of key lime cream cheese icing!
Prep Time 1 hour
Resting Time 2 hours
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 8 Servings

Ingredients
  

  • 14 ounces croissants, torn

Custard:

  • 1 ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1 egg
  • ½ cup key lime juice
  • 2 Tablespoons key lime zest
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup whole milk

Graham Cracker Streusel Topping:

  • 4 Tablespoons butter, melted
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • 5 Tablespoons brown sugar
  • ½ cup graham cracker crumbs
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon

Cream Cheese Icing:

  • 4 Tablespoons salted butter, softened
  • 2 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 3 Tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1 Tablespoon key lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 350ºF. Scatter the torn croissants evenly in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake until dry and toasted, about 8-10 minutes.* Allow croissants to cool while you prepare the custard.

Make the Custard:

  • In a large bowl, whisk the sugar, the egg yolks, egg, lime juice, zest, vanilla, and salt until smooth. Stir in the heavy cream and milk until combined. Gently fold in the croissants.
  • Pour mixture into a greased 8-inch square baking dish, gently pressing down on the bread to ensure that all of the pieces are completely saturated in the custard. Allow to sit and soak for at least two hours**.

Make the Streusel Topping:

  • Preheat the oven to 350ºF. In a medium bowl, stir the butter, flour, brown sugar, crushed graham crackers, and cinnamon together until combined. Sprinkle streusel topping evenly over the bread pudding, squeezing it in your hands to create larger hunks of streusel.
  • Bake in the oven for 35-40 minutes, or until golden and toasty. Allow to cool slightly for 20 minutes.

Make the Icing:

  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and cream cheese together until smooth. Mix in the powdered sugar. Add the heavy cream, lime juice, and vanilla and continue beating until combined.
  • To serve, slice/scoop bread pudding into bowls. Top with icing***, and enjoy!

Notes

*If your croissants are already dry/stale, you can skip this baking step.
**You can also prepare this bread pudding the night before, allow it to soak overnight, then bake it in the oven the next day.
***Since the icing is rather thick, you might want to heat it in the microwave for 15-20 seconds to thin it out and make it more pourable.
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