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Up to one month before: melt the chocolate and half the butter in a bowl over a pan of gently simmering water. (Or melt in the microwave on Medium for 3 minutes.) When melted, stir with a wooden spoon until you have a smooth consistency, then allow to cool slightly.
The day before: line 2 x 1.7 litre terrine or loaf tins with cling film. In a very large bowl, big enough to take all the terrine ingredients, beat the rest of the butter with 200g/8oz sugar using an electric hand whisk. It should become smooth. Now stir in the cocoa until you have a smooth chocolatey paste.
Wash your beaters, then whisk the double cream until it forms soft peaks but no further. Underwhipped is better than overwhipped for this recipe. Wash the beaters again, then whisk the egg whites to form soft peaks.
Stir in 125ml/4fl oz of the cherry brandy (save the rest for the syrup) and the cooled melted chocolate and butter into the cocoa butter paste. Stir in the cherries, then finally fold in your gently whipped cream, followed by the egg whites, until evenly mixed. Pour into the terrines and gently bang on a hard surface to settle. (You can prepare and freeze this up to a month ahead, or overnight.)
Pour the remaining cherry brandy and the remaining 100g/4oz sugar into a small heavy-based saucepan and bring to the boil. Reduce by about two thirds to make a syrup, then allow to cool.
Take the terrines out of the freezer and tip them on to a board. Line the tins with fresh cling film. As soon as the terrines are soft enough to slice but still firm, after 10-15 minutes, cut each one into 10 slices using a sharp knife so you get a lovely clean line with clear segments of cherries.Return the slices to the tins, interleafing each slice with greaseproof to keep them separate (see left). The last slice may not fit exactly, but don’t worry. Cover and return to the freezer.
One hour before serving: transfer to the fridge to take the chill off. Just before serving, lay a slice of the terrine on a spoonful of mascarpone, then drizzle each plate with syrup.
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