Firstly, remove the crusts and butter the bread. Whisk the egg yolks and caster sugar together in a bowl. Split the vanilla pod and place in a pan with the milk and cream. Bring the milk and cream to the simmer, then sieve on to the egg yolks, stirring all the time. You now have the custard.
Arrange the bread in layers in the prepared basin, sprinkling the sultanas and raisins in between layers. Finish with a final layer of bread without any fruit on top as this tends to burn. The warm egg mixture may now be poured over the bread and cooked straightaway, but I prefer to pour the custard over the pudding then leave it to soak into the bread for 20 minutes before cooking. This allows the bread to take on a new texture and have the flavours all the way through.
Once the bread has been soaked, place the dish in a roasting tray three-quarters filled with warm water and place in the pre-heated oven.
When ready, remove from the water bath, sprinkle liberally with caster sugar to cover, and glaze under the grill on medium heat. The sugar should dissolve and caramelize and you may find that the corners of the bread start to burn a little. This helps the flavours, though, giving a bittersweet taste, and certainly looks good. The bread and butter pudding is now ready to serve and when you take that first spoonful and place it into a bowl you will see the custard just seeping from the dish – it’s delicious!