½ cup coarsely chopped pecans, toasted (see Tip) (optional)
½ cup dried cranberries
2½ cups fat-free milk
¾ cup refrigerated or frozen egg product, thawed, or 3 eggs, lightly beaten
6 tablespoons sugar (see Tip)
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 cup pomegranate juice
Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly coat a 2-quart rectangular or square baking dish with nonstick cooking spray; set aside. In a large bowl, toss together dried bread and vegetable spread until coated. Add ¾ cup of the fresh cranberries, the chocolate, pecans (if using) and dried cranberries. Gently toss to combine. Transfer to prepared baking dish.
In a medium bowl, whisk together milk, eggs and 4 tablespoons of the sugar. Slowly pour milk mixture evenly over bread mixture in baking dish. Using the back of a large spoon, gently press down on top of bread mixture.
Bake, uncovered, for 50 to 60 minutes or until a knife inserted near center comes out clean. If needed to prevent overbrowning, cover loosely with foil for the last 10 minutes of baking. Let stand on a wire rack for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, for sauce, in a small saucepan, combine the remaining ½ cup fresh cranberries, the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar and the cornstarch. Add pomegranate juice. Cook and stir until thickened and bubbly; cook and stir for 2 minutes more. Serve warm sauce over warm bread pudding.
Tips: To dry bread cubes, preheat oven to 300°F. Place bread cubes in an ungreased 15x10x1-inch baking pan. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until dry and crisp, stirring once or twice. You should have about 5 cups dried bread cubes.
To toast nuts, spread in a shallow baking pan lined with parchment paper. Bake in a 350°F oven for 5 to 10 minutes or until golden, shaking pan once or twice.
If using a sugar substitute, choose from Splenda® Granular or Sweet 'N Low® bulk or packets. Follow package directions to use product amount equivalent to 6 tablespoons sugar. Nutrition per Serving with Substitute: same as below, except 176 cal., 28 g carb.