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Cranberry Bread Pudding

1 1/2 cups half and half or light cream
3 ounces white baking bar -- coarsely chopped
1/3 cup dried cranberries or cherries -- snipped
2 eggs -- beaten
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
3 cups dry 1/2" bread cubes -- about 4 1/2 slices
1/4 cup coarsely chopped pecans or hazelnuts
whipped cream -- optional
grated white baking bar -- optional
ground ginger -- optional

In a small saucepan heat half and half or light cream over medium heat until very warm but not boiling. Remove from heat; add chopped white baking bar and cranberries or cherries. Stir until baking bar is melted.

In a bowl, combine eggs, sugar and 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger. Whisk in the cream mixture. Gently stir in bread cubes and nuts. Pour mixture into a 1 quart soufflé dish (dish will be full). Cover the dish tightly with foil.

Pour 1 cup warm water into a 3 1/2, 4 or 5 quart slow cooker. Tear of an 18x12 inch piece of heavy foil. Divide in half lengthwise. Fold each piece into thirds lengthwise. Crisscross the strips and place the soufflé dish in the center of the foil cross. Bringing up foil strips, lift the ends of the strips to transfer the dish and foil to the cooker. (leave the foil strips under dish)

Cover; cook on low-heat setting for 4 hours or on high-heat setting for 2 hours. Using the foil strips, carefully lift dish out of cooker. Serve pudding warm or chilled. If desired, serve with whipped cream and a sprinkle of ground ginger and grated white chocolate bar.

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