A Great Recipe for Christmas Breakfast – Croissant with Fresh Pastry Cream and Berry Compote

Though none of us here at Hill House is a chef, we love to make delicious, scratch-made breakfasts every morning. Our guests love them, much to our constant surprise and delight. Our breakfasts are always filling, and we put real effort into their creation every day. They are never something that you’d find on the uninspired “breakfast buffet” offered at places that don’t love food the way we do. We make simple foods that have a rustic elegance, and the secret is — you can too.

If you have to feed a house full of guests this Christmas, whether you have an inn or your house just feels like one with an influx of loved ones, this is a simple dish with a big “wow factor” that will delight anyone who will have the pleasure of dining (breakfasting?) at your table. It’s one of our old stalwarts and this recipe has never let us down. Give it a try and tell us what you think!


Croissant with Fresh Pastry Cream and Berry Compote

Serves 8

Cut 8 large croissants in half and place in the oven at 300 degrees F to toast while preparing the berry compote and pastry cream.

Ingredients: Berry Compote

½ Cup Sugar
2 ½ Tablespoons Cornstarch
½ cup Cold Water
¼ cup Lemon Juice
¼ cup Maple Syrup
2 cups Strawberries
1 cup Raspberries
1 cup Blackberries


In a large saucepan, combine the sugar and cornstarch. Stir in the water, lemon juice and syrup. Stir in the berries. Bring to a boil over medium heat; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened.

Ingredients: Pastry Cream

2 Cups Milk
1/4 Cup White Sugar
2 Egg Yolks
1 Egg
1/4 Cup Cornstarch
1/3 Cup White Sugar
2 Tablespoons Butter
1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract


  1. In a heavy saucepan, stir together the milk and 1/4 cup of sugar. Bring to a boil over medium heat.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and egg. Stir together the remaining sugar and cornstarch; then stir them into the egg mixture until smooth.
  3. When the milk comes to a boil, drizzle it into the bowl in a thin stream while mixing with the eggs (so that the milk cools a bit as it falls and allow the eggs to slowly absorb the heat without “cooking”.) Return the mixture to the saucepan, and slowly bring it to a boil, stirring constantly so the eggs don’t curdle or scorch on the bottom.
  4. When the mixture comes to a boil and thickens, remove it from the heat. Stir in the butter and vanilla, mixing until the butter is completely blended in. Keep the pan warm on the stovetop.

Open a croissant up on a large plate. Spread a layer of pastry cream and a few large spoonfuls of the compote over the bottom half. Top with a few fresh berries. Partially cover with the top half of the croissant and sprinkle with powdered sugar.

We like to serve this dish with a good, herbed or spicy chicken sausage to balance the sweetness and a cup of hot french-pressed coffee. Now that’s the kind of breakfast that becomes a family tradition!


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