Cooking today with William Sonoma ~ Gluten Free Holiday Treats ~ Sneak Peak

It is always a pleasure to come out and share my passion for delicious, healthy eating with William Sonoma’s staff and customers. Today I am cooking up some yummy, decadent and   gluten free holiday appetizers and my gluten free brownie bites with a twist. I will be using William Sonoma’s famous Original Peppermint Bark as a topping for these rich and luscious brownies. I will also be making tuscan white beans stuffed in a roasted campari tomato and yummy zucchini bites stuffed with gruyere and parmesan cheese.

I am so excited to share some of my families favorite holiday treats today with William Sonoma’s customers, as they shop for wonderful gifts for their love ones. So stop by and find some great gifts for your family and have a brownie on me. Here’s a sneak peak of today’s menu.  

Zucchini Bites

INGREDIENTS

2 cups zucchini, grated

1 egg

1/4 cup yellow onion, diced,finely 

1/2 cup cheese gruyere

1/2 cup parmesan 

1/2 cup gluten free  bread crumbs – I used Italian style

Salt and Pepper, to taste. 

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 375F. Spray a mini-muffin tin with non-stick spray, set aside. Grate the zucchini and then place in a dish towel to squeeze out the excess water- like when using frozen spinach.  In a bowl combine, the egg, onion, cheese, bread crumbs, zucchini, salt and pepper. 4. Using a spoon or a cookie scoop, fill the muffin cups to the top. Bake for 15-18 minutes, or until the top is browned and set.  

  • Gluten Free Brownies with Chocolate Ganache these will be topped with William Sonoma Original Peppermint Bark

1/2 cup Ghirardelli Semi-Sweet Chocolate Baking Chips 

4 ounces Ghirardelli Semi-Sweet Chocolate Baking Bar 

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into pieces

1 cup firmly packed light or dark brown sugar 

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

2 large eggs 1 egg yolk

3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons gluten free-purpose flour. I love Bob Mills Gluten free baking flour or Pillsbury Gluten-free baking powder. 

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

3/8 teaspoon salt

DIRECTIONS
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter and flour an 8-inch square baking pan. Chop the 4 ounces of semi sweet chocolate bars into 1″ pieces. In the top of a double boiler or in a heatproof bowl over barely simmering water, melt the 4 chopped chocolate and butter, stirring occasionally until smooth. Remove the pan from the heat and let cool to room temperature. Stir the brown sugar and vanilla into the chocolate mixture. Add the eggs and mix well. In a bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. Slowly fold the flour mixture into the chocolate mixture, mixing well until blended. Stir in the chocolate chips and pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 30 -35  minutes, until a tester comes out clean. Remove from the oven and cool for at least 10 minutes before cutting into 2-inch squares.

This recipe is gluten free, gluten-free flour can take a little more time to bake. It usually takes about 33 minutes on these. 

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  • Campari Stuffed with Tuscan White Beans with a balsamic glaze

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Raw Chocolate Ganache Three Ways, inspired by a journey HOME.

Some encounters bring you back home to what your soul is yearning for. This year has done that for me and my family. I have been around people and places that have made me feel like, I was coming home. One of those encounters inspired me to move my culinary creative juices back to Raw Foods. Raw foodism is the dietary practice of eating only uncooked, unprocessed foods. It only includes, fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds. Now I AM NOT A RAW FOODIST, VEGAN OR VEGETARIAN, but my diet is about 80% plant based. I believe eating whole foods is better for my body, mind and spirit. So, how did I come back home to raw foods? My best friend. She wanted to take a yoga class one morning and  I did have the time, I had so much work to do. I was behind schedule on several projects, I felt run down and just wanted to work and maybe catch a nap in.  However, inside of me, my spirit was calling from some release, so I went.

The funny thing is, as we were driving to the studio, it hit me where we were going, to my old yoga studio. The place I learned about the healing beauty of yoga and meditation, ironically another one of my best friends introduced me to this studio, 13  years prior. I got some teacher training here from some the best yoga teachers in the United States. I was very ill during that time, fighting kidney disease and trying to take care of a toddler.

The yoga studio was a place of love and great healing for me. As we walked into the yoga studio, there on her mat was the owner and one of my first yoga teachers. My heart felt so much joy. I felt like I was back HOME.  The class was amazing and I felt more energy in my body and spirit, plus so much peace.

My yoga teacher and I caught up and we talked about health issues. She shared with me her journey of healing and it hit me why I was there. Food has been a healing art for me. So of course, my best friend and Creative Marketing Director of my wellness company, mentioned what I had been up to lately with food. My yoga teacher was excited, she had been eating raw to heal, but she runs three businesses and doesn’t have time to prepare the food. She asked me to help her and of course it was my pleasure to say, YES. The yoga studio and her classes brought me so much healing and now I could give back. Life is always trying to bring us home, if we just take the time out to slow down and listen.

Here are three ways you can use my Raw Chocolate Ganache.

Raw Chocolate Ganache: You can use this for many other desserts

Ingredients:

1 cup maple syrup
1 cup cacao powder
1/4 cup coconut oil, pinch of sea salt

Directions:
Using your blender, mix together syrup and coconut oil until well combined. Add in your cacao powder and a pinch of sea salt, and process until smooth – scraping down the sides as needed. Use immediately, or keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a couple weeks. If using the ganache after being refrigerated, simply place the container in warm water for a few minutes to let it soften up a bit, or roll out ganache truffles using a melon scoop. 🙂

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Raw Chocolate Ganache Torte with Pistachio Dust and Black Berries

Raw Chocolate Ganache Torte with Pistachio Dust and Black Berries

1/2 cup black cherries, thawed out frozen cherries

 

3/4 cup Raw Chocolate Ganache

1 tbsp maple syrup

crushed pistachios and a black cherry

Using a blender Blend everything together, using a biscuit cutter, place on a sheet pan with parchment paper . Pour the ganache mixture into the biscuit cutter, almost to the top, leave room to add the pistachios. Add the pistachios and top with a black cherry. Put into the freeze and allow to set over night or for at least 2 hours to get it very firm. When ready to serve, allow to set room temperature for about 2-3 minutes, this will make it easier for you to push the torte out of the biscuit cutter. Gently remove, by pushing up from the bottom with a frosting spreader or the back of a spoon.

Serve and enjoy immediately because the base is made of coconut oil, it must be eaten immediately or kept frozen.

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Raw Chocolate Ganache Torte

 

Pears Dipped in Spicy Raw Chocolate Ganache topped with walnuts and cardamom with a side of cardamom coconut cream

Ingredients:

1 pear cut in half and seeds removed

Raw Chocolate Ganache, in it’s liquid form. if using the ganache after being refrigerated, simply place the container in warm water for a few minutes to let it soften up a bit.

crushed walnuts

whole coconut milk

1 tsp cardamom and a little more to dust over the pears

1 tbs maple syrup

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Pears Dipped in Spicy Raw Chocolate Ganache topped with walnuts and cardamom with a side of cardamom coconut cream

Directions:

Super simple. I add a little lemon juice to the pears, so they would not brown. Dipped them  into the ganache. I dipped half of the pears here, added crusted walnuts, sprinkled with cardamom, you can also drizzle maple syrup, honey or agave over them for more sweetness.  Put the pears into the fridge for an hour or overnight so the ganache can harden on the pears properly. The coconut cream is also super simple.

Open up a can of coconut milk and remove the creamy top part and add to a bowl.  Using an electric hand mixer whisk attachment, beat the cream until fluffy and smooth. Add in maple syrup and cardamom.  Put whipped cream in the fridge to harden a bit, about 10 minutes. Remove the pears and whipped cream from the fridge. Add whipped cream to the pears and serve immediatley.

NOTE: This ganache has a coconut oil base so it will melt fast, so keep it in the fridge until ready to serve.img_4922

Pears Dipped in Spicy Raw Chocolate Ganache topped with walnuts and cardamom with a side of cardamom coconut cream

 

Last one, but oh so good.  My grandson helped me make these, notice the heavy handed areas of pistachios. Love it.

Raw Chocolate Ganache Bark with Peppermint and Pistachios 

Ingredients:
3 tbsp cacao
2½ tbsp raw virgin coconut oil
1 1/2 tbsp maple syrup
small pinch sea salt
2 tbsp crushed pistachios
1 crushed soft peppermint stick

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Raw Dark Chocolate Ganache Bark with Peppermint and Pistachios

Instructions
Whisk together melted coconut oil, raw cacao and maple syrup in a small bowl until completely smooth.
Add a pinch of sea salt and combine well.
Add nuts and peppermint

Line a cookie sheet with non stick parchment paper.
Pour the chocolate mixture into the lined cookie sheet and spread out evenly using the back of a spoon, spread it thick so you bark doesn’t melt so quickly when eating it. 🙂 Add the goodies on top.

Place the container in the freezer for 30 minutes until the chocolate is completely hard.
Break up the pieces and serve immediately.
Store in the freezer.
PSA
Since the base of this bark is coconut oil it will melt at room temperature, so please keep it in the freezer, until ready to serve. Eat immediately.

 

Quinoa two ways ~ Toasted and Roasted

Quinoa is one of the only complete protein grains in the vegan/vegetarian circle of life. Quinoa is considered a whole grain, but in actuality,  it is a seed, from a leafy plant that is related to the spinach family. I do enjoy a good bowl of sweet or savory quinoa, but I love to explore other ways I can use ingredients. So, this morning I kept going back and forth with the question, what should I eat, quinoa or oatmeal? I just wasn’t feeling the big bowl of either and wanted something different.

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Toasted Quinoa

 

Toasted Quinoa Recipe:

Preparation
Cook the quinoa in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, stirring or shaking the pan occasionally, until it is lightly dried out and toasted, about 15 minutes.

It will make slight popping sounds as it approaches being done. …
Remove the skillet from the heat.

 

How about granola? Well, I have made granola from scratch a million times, but not with quinoa. Yes! that’s the ticket. Roasted Quinoa granola. I can put this over fruit, yogurt, ice cream, whatever my heart desires. Well, if quinoa can be sweet, how about making it savory. Yes! again that’s the ticket, so I decided to roast the quinoa for my granola and to toast the quinoa for a savory corn salad, I am making for dinner tonight, boom!  Both of these recipes are easy and you could go wild with the possibilities.

I took my Roasted Quinoa and topped it over some sautéed peaches that I seasoned with cardamom, cinnamon and a little pink salt, delish and yum yum approved.

I hope you will enjoy this  complete protein healthy treat and remember to go wild with your imagination when making your granola. After it is cooked and cooled, add dark chocolate chips to it, or  us a different dried fruit, like apricots or a different nut, such as hazelnuts or pecans.  You decide, but whatever you come up with, Remember to Set the Table with Love.

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Roasted Quinoa Granola

Ingredients:
1 cup Bob’s Red Mill Old Fashioned Rolled Oats

1/2 cup uncooked Bob’s Red Mill White Quinoa

1 cups raw almonds, roughly chopped

1 cup walnuts, roughly chopped

1/2 cup raisins

1/2 cup cranberries

1 1/2  tbsp  organic cane sugar

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 vanilla extract

pink sea salt or reg sea salt , just pinch

2  tbsp coconut oil

1/4 cup maple syrup

Instructions

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Add oats, quinoa, almonds, raisins, cranberries,  sugar, and salt to a large mixing bowl – stir to combine.
To a small saucepan, add coconut oil, cinnamon, vanilla and maple syrup. Warm over medium heat for 2 minutes, whisking frequently, until the two are totally incorporated.

Immediately pour over the dry ingredients and stir to combine until, everything is covered with the syrup mixture.  Arrange on a large baking sheet covered with parchment paper and spread into an even layer.
Bake for  35 – 40 minutes.  Then remove from oven and stir/toss the granola. Rotate the pan to the other side, so you can cook the other end of

the granola and bake 10 -15 minutes more, until it is golden brown. * KEEP WATCH OVER IT SO IT DOESN’T BURN.  Once done, remove from the oven and cool for 20 minutes, before serving.

Leftover Sangria Fruit ~ No Prob! Ginger Peach and Green Apple Crumble

So, yesterday I had some ladies over for a luncheon. It is one I have been wanting to do for awhile. Life can get very busy and we can run from one thing to the next, but the busyness of life has to take a back burner sometimes, so you can connect and show appreciation to those in your life, that support you and just maybe need a little bit of encouragement. The best way I know I how to do that is to cook for people. It truly is my love language.

 

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Ginger Peach and Green Apple Sangria Crumble
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Ginger Peach and Green Apple Sangria Crumble
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Ginger Peach and Green Apple Sangria Crumble

I have been in this mood for foods from Spain, one of my favorite things is Paella, so I made a vegan version of this dish for my friends and they loved it. I also paired it with this wonderfully refreshing sangria. I love using seasonal food, so I made a Ginger Peach and Green Apple sangria. I am a Georgia girl, so honey, we got peaches. It was a hit, but you know after you make the sangria, you are left with all this aromatic  wine infused fruit.

I looked at my happy guest and said, Girls I need to do something with this fruit. Maybe some wine infused chutney or a preserve?  I did not do anything of that, I wanted dessert, so this crumble was born.

It is delicious, sweet, tart, you taste the ginger, the peaches, the green apples, and a touch of the wine flavor comes through beautifully. I was so surprised how good it turned out. Well, enough of that babbling, here’s the sangria and crumble recipe. Enjoy and take a pause from the busyness  and Set the Table with Love for those beautiful souls in your own life.

 

Ingredients
1 bottle Pinot Grigio,
2 cups of Rosé (optional), I had it, so I used it. You can add 1 cup go Grand Marnier
Bottle of gingerale
5 medium peaches, sliced
3 medium green apples, sliced
1 tbsp freshly grated ginger)
handful of ice

Instructions
Stir all ingredients together. Chill until you’re ready to serve!

 

Sangria Ginger Peach and Green Apple Crumble

Preheat the oven 350. 

Ingredients:

Super Simple!

In a buttered greased baking dish, add all the fruit. Add 2 tbsp of gluten free flour to the fruit. Add 1 tbsp brown sugar, 1 tsp cinnamon , 1 tsp ginger powder and pinch of salt. Toss gently.

Crumble:

1 cup gluten free rolled oats
1/2 cup gluten free flour
1 cup brown sugar
1  1/2 sticks of butter
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon

Combine the flour, sugar, salt, oatmeal, cinnamon and butter in the bowl ,work the mixture with your hands or you can use an electric blender with a paddle attachment. Mix on low speed for 1 minute or crumble with your hands, until the mixture is in large crumbles. Sprinkle evenly over the fruit, covering the fruit completely.
Place the baking dish on a sheet pan and bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour, until the top is brown and the fruit is bubbly. Serve warm.

 

 

 

Mother’s Day Story ~ Breakfast in Bed Ideas

I love Mother’s Day. I have two boys, one 29 and my youngest is 15. I have two grandchildren, I adore and could get up with a biscuit and some gravy. They are truly yummy. My favorite thing growing up as child was to think about how I was going to make my mom feel special for Mother’s Day. Of course, I did the usually cards with macaroni glued to them and flowers, candy and little things I made with popsicles sticks. Okay, I need to confess soon as I wrote, macaroni, I thought about my mom’s cheesy, buttery, gooey macaroni and cheese, bubbling over in her special mac and cheese glass bowl. So where were we? Yes, Mother’s Day. One year I came up with the idea to make my mom, breakfast in bed.  Now granted I was about 9 years old and I never really cooked a meal all by myself, but I was determined to do this for her.

I went into the kitchen very quietly. I made sure not to make a sound. I remember opening up the fridge and getting out,  bacon, eggs, butter and the orange juice. Yes. I was going to make my mom, a good old southern, bacon and eggs breakfast. I put on a cup of coffee, aka, hot water and Folgers, put the cast iron skillet on the stove and added the bacon. It smelled so good, but it was making too much noise, so I closed the kitchen door.

I added the eggs to the skillet, with lots of butter, just the way my mom did.  Well, maybe too much, but hey I was 9. I cracked the eggs, very gently into a bowl and used a fork to gently whisk them. I was doing something. I felt like my mom, for just a moment. I remember my little sister and brother getting up. I pulled them in the kitchen and demanded they keep quiet. We made our brother sit at the table quietly and my sister made the toast and poured the juice.

All of a sudden I hear footsteps. I wanted to cry.  Oh no, it will not be a surprise anymore, I thought. But, it was my dad. He open the door very slowly. It seemed as if, it took forever for him to open that door and for me to see, it was Dad, not Mom.

He asked with a smile on his face, What are you guys doing? We replied, Making mom breakfast. He left out and said, Okay, carry on.

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My grandson Mikey
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My oldest son Bernard and granddaughter Naleyla
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My granddaughter Naleyla
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My husband, Joseph, my youngest son,  Tyler and my granddaughter Naleyla

It was almost done. I had my sister run into the dining room and get a pretty tray from our china cabinet. We got a rose from my Dad’s rose garden and put it in a nice vase. I was so proud of that breakfast. The toast was a little burnt and the the bacon on the crispier side, but my eggs were awesome. We carried the tray to her bed and the best thing about that day that I remember, is my mom’s face when she say we had made her breakfast in bed.

Just writing this makes me cry. She has been gone for 14 years now and I miss her as though it was yesterday, when she left this Earth. She kissed me, my sister and brother and said, Thank  you so much, this makes mama feel special. But I remember the special look in her eyes she gave me. She was so proud of me, she knew how much this meant to me.  I will never forget that look as long as I live. She ate that breakfast as though it came from a five star restaurant. This is properly where my love of cooking for those I love comes from.  The day I first Set the Table with Love for my Mama.

Thanks everyone for taking time out to read this post. I usually don’t write long. I just get to the recipes, but that will change. I believe setting the table with love, is much more than just good healthy food, it’s about expressing love and that love being experienced through food.

Happy Mother’s Day. 🙂

Check out these links for some yummy Mother’s Day breakfast and brunch idea.

Gluten Free Vegan Potato and Leek Waffles

Southern Style Biscuits No Lard Needed Sorry Mom

Caramelized Pears with Homemade Granola

Gigi’s Fluffy Pancakes with Nutella Almonds and Chocolate Chips

 

Vegan Gluten Free Pumpkin spice muffins with a pumpkin seed and walnut crumble

Butternut squash, pumpkins, cinnamon, crumble, Fall, Autumn!  This is me screaming all the things I love about this time of the year and cooking.  My favorite things baking for my friends and family. I feel like cooking and baking for those you love is one of my most rewarding things I can do for someone.

I got to bake these yummy muffins for one of my friends and fellow yogi, Amanda, because it was her birthday.  Amanda is the manager and one of the amazing yoga teachers at the studio I teach at in our community. The studio is incredible, owned by the cutest and coolest couple, Kevin and Megan Kearney, you have to check it out, Ebb and Flow Yoga and Surf.

img_4433Vegan Gluten Free Pumpkin spice muffins with a pumpkin seed and walnut crumble

Okay back to these muffins. I usually make my own gluten free flour, but this morning I decided to use one of my back up flours when I am in a hurry. I found that, this Pillsbury Gluten Free flour works great, when making muffins. When you are making gluten free baked goods, not every flour blend is going to work. So make sure the flour blend you are using, works well with what you are making. I will talk about this more soon, but check out on the blog my recipes for gluten free flours to make cakes, cookies, pancakes and muffins.

This recipe definitely will remind you of the upcoming holidays, it is packed out with those delicious spices we love during this time of the year, cinnamon, clove and nutmeg. I you will not be able to eat just one, I bet ya! 🙂

Enjoy and remember to Set the Table with Love.

 

Ingredients:

MUFFINS
Make flax eggs ~  2  tbsp flax seed ground meal, plus 1/2 cup water
1 can pumpkin puree
2/3 cup organic cane sugar and 1/4 cup maple syrup

1/4 cup olive oil

1 tsp vanilla extract 

2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp sea salt

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2  tsp clove

1/2 tsp nutmeg

2 1/2 cup gluten free flour blend
3/4 cup almond milk

CRUMBLE
3 tbsp organic brown sugar
3 1/2 tbsp gluten free flour
2 tbsp pumpkin seeds, 2 tbsp of chopped walnuts
1 1/4 cup tbsp olive oil
pinch of cinnamon and nutmeg
Instructions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and lightly grease muffin tin. Dust with gluten free flour and shake off excess.
Add flax and water  together into a large bowl( this is your egg substitute). Let set for 5 minutes. Next, add pumpkin purée, organic cane sugar, maple syrup, olive oil, and vanilla extract and whisk for one minute.
Stir in baking soda, salt, cinnamon, clove, nutmeg and mix. Add milk and whisk. Add the gluten free flour and stir until just combined. The batter should be thick and slightly wet, but with form and it able to be scoop into the muffin tins, easily. You do not want dry batter, dry batter will make very dense muffins.
Divide batter into the muffin tins. You will need to fill them to the top,  they will not rise very much.

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Vegan Gluten Free Pumpkin spice muffins with a pumpkin seed and walnut crumble

FOR THE CRUMBLE

In a mixing bowl, add crumble ingredients. Use your hand to mash the ingredients together, until crumbly like wet sand. Generously top muffins with streusel.
Bake for  about 30 minutes or until tops are golden brown and a toothpick or knife comes out completely clean.
Let cool for 5 minutes in the muffin tin, then gently remove and cool completely on a cooling rack, before serving. Enjoy and Share. 🙂

White Chocolate, Cranberry and Coconut Bread Pudding

I do indulge sometimes. This recipe my friends have been asking for me to post, so here goes.

The other night I wanted bread pudding, but not the same old vanilla with raisin bread pudding. If I was going to indulge I wanted something fancy. So this bread pudding is So Fancy. I will cut to the chase on this one, because soon as you read the recipe you will want to go and make it. Well once you see the picture you will want to go and make it. : )

White Chocolate, Cranberry, Coconut Bread Pudding

White Chocolate Cranberry and Coconut Bread Pudding

Ingredients:

12 slices day-old baguette or stale bread, cut into 3/4-inch
cubes

4 organic eggs, at room temperature

1/4 cup organic cane sugar

3/4 tsp. vanilla extract

3/4 cup Ghirardelli Candy Making & Dipping White Melting Wafers ( white chocolate lovers go for it!!)

3/4 cup Organic Dried Cranberries

1/2 cup Dehydrated Organic Coconut Flakes

Pinch of cinnamon

Pinch of salt

4 cups almond milk or coconut milk

Directions:

Lightly butter an 8-inch square baking dish. Spread the bread cubes in it.

In a bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, and salt until well blended. Pour in the milk and whisk until combined. Add the bread to the greased baking dish. Add the white chocolate chips and coconut. Mix the ingredients into the bread thoroughly, where you see the ingredients throughout the dish. Pour the mixture over the bread cubes. Let stand, pressing down on the bread occasionally, until it is evenly soaked, about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat an oven to 350°F.

Scatter the cranberries evenly over the surface of the soaked bread and press to submerge the fruit. Set the baking dish in a large, shallow roasting pan. Add very hot tap water to the roasting pan to come halfway up the sides of the baking dish.

Bake the pudding until a knife inserted near the center comes out almost clean, 45 to 55 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.