Wow your guests with this classic summertime pudding using old white bread as a case for deliciously sweet summer fruits, including plums, raspberries, strawberries and redcurrants, delicately flavoured with Vanilla and Mixed Spice.
Place the plums in a saucepan and add a splash of water. Cover and simmer for 5 minutes. Throw in the soft fruits and sugar. Using a sharp knife slice the Vanilla Pod in half lengthways and open it out. Add it to the pan with the Mixed Spice. Simmer over a low heat for 5 minutes and then leave to cool for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, cut the crusts off the bread. Line a 1.1 litre (2 pint) pudding basin with 7-8 slices of bread, making sure they overlap each other well. Place another slice in the base of the dish and press into place gently.
Lift the basin onto a small tray or plastic container. Remove the Vanilla Pod from the fruit, carefully scraping any black seeds into the mixture. Now fill the lined basin with the fruit and the juices. Place the last few bread slices on top and tuck in any bread edges, making sure the fruit is completely covered. Place a small saucer on top and weight it down with tins. Chill overnight.
When ready to serve, ease the edges of the pudding with a round bladed knife. Invert the basin onto a plate and shake the pudding. You will here a slurping sound, which tells you that the vacuum has been released and the pudding will come out of the basin easily.
Spoon the excess fruit juices over the turned out pudding and decorate with some strawberries and redcurrants. Serve with either vanilla ice cream or creme fraiche.