Cut some thin slices from a sandwich loaf or take slices from a cut loaf, butter each slice on one side and cut it diagonally but do not remove the crust. Soak the dried fruit in warm water for 2 or 3 minutes and then spread some of it on the bottom of a buttered pie dish. Put a layer of bread and butter on it, butter side down. Sprinkle a few currants and sultanas on top, then put another layer of bread and butter, butter side up, and so on until the dish is full. Take care not to press the bread down. Mix the sugar and eggs with a whisk in a basin, and gradually add the cold milk and a few drops of vanilla essence. Pour the egg mixture into the dish, a little at a time to allow the bread to absorb the custard. Sprinkle the top with sugar and dot with pieces of butter. Place the pie dish in a tray with an inch of water and bake in a moderate oven at 350° F., gas mark 4, for 35 minutes. It should be crisp and golden brown on top, and will turn out, sides and bottom being also brown and buttery.
©1975 The Estate of Elizabeth Ayrton