1 vanilla pod, halved and seeds scraped out, or 1 tsp vanilla extract
3 whole large eggs, plus 1 egg yolk
3 tbsp golden caster sugar
8 slices of day-old white crusty bread
50g slightly salted butter, softened plus extra for greasing
75g mix sultanas and currants or other dried fruit
zest ½ lemon
2 tbsp demerara sugar
Make it boozy
To make your pudding boozy, soak the dried fruit in 2 tbsp of brandy, whisky or rum.
Heat oven to 180C/160C/gas 4. To make the custard, heat the milk, cream and vanilla pod with its scraped out seeds (if using) together in a saucepan to just below boiling point. Meanwhile whisk the eggs and yolk with the caster sugar in a jug. Slowly pour the warm milk mixture, including the vanilla pod, over the eggs, stirring constantly until smooth. Stir in the vanilla extract now if using.
Lightly butter an ovenproof dish approximately 20cm x 25cm x 5cm. Cut the crusts from the bread slices, then butter both sides of the bread and cut into triangles. Lay half of the bread slices in the bottom of the dish so that they are slightly overlapping. Mix the dried fruit with the lemon zest and sprinkle half of the mix over the bread. Layer the rest of the bread on top then sprinkle over the remaining fruit.
Remove the vanilla pod from the custard then pour the custard over the pudding. Leave to soak for at least 30 mins, or longer in the fridge, if you like. Sprinkle over the demerara and bake for 35-40 mins until golden brown and puffed up.