It’s really important that you use a good quality white loaf of bread for this recipe.
If using redcurrants remove the stalks or do the same for the strawberries. Wash the fruits in cold water, removing any tainted berries.
Put the berries into a large saucepan with the sugar and vanilla bean and place over a medium heat for about 3-4 minutes to allow the sugar to dissolve and the juices to run a little from the berries. Remove the pan from the heat. It’s important at this stage that we don’t cook it too much or the berries will become mush.
Line a large bowl (or a few smaller ones) with cling film and then lay the sliced bread around the sides overlapping a little, press the bread into the sides of the bowl with your hands so you really make a seal.
Once the mould is lined with bread spoon the cooling berries and their liquor into the bowl reserving about 1/2 a cup for spooning over the top. Cover the base of the pudding with another piece of bread, cover with cling film and rest a plate that fits directly on the bread (inside the bowl) and place a weight on top to compress the puddings. Place in the fridge for about twenty-four hours.
Just before serving the pudding turn it out onto a plate and spoon the reserved liquor and berries over the top. Serve with a big dollop of crème fraiche.
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