24 maraschino cherries in syrup, strained and syrup reserved
350g/12oz almond paste or marzipan
500g/1lb 2oz dark chocolate, 250g/9oz broken into pieces, 250g/9oz very finely chopped
edible gold leaf or gold sparkle powder, to decorate
For the cherry ganache
40g/1½oz golden syrup
50g/1¾oz syrup from the cherries (see above)
2 tsp lemon juice
200g/7oz dark chocolate, broken into pieces
To make the cherry ganache, bring 50ml/2fl oz, the golden syrup, cherry syrup and the lemon juice to a simmer in a saucepan.
Place the chocolate in a bowl, pour the syrup over and whisk well until very smooth and glossy. Leave to cool. Line a tray with baking paper.
Decant the ganache to a piping bag and pipe some into the centre of each cherry to fill the hole where the cherry stone had been. Place the cherries on the prepared tray and leave to set in the fridge for an hour.
To coat the cherries, divide the almond paste into 24 pieces, flatten each piece and wrap it around each cherry making sure that there are no cracks. The cherry should be fully coated. Leave the cherries to dry overnight uncovered at room temperature.
Melt the broken pieces of chocolate in a bowl over a pan of gently simmering water until it reaches 55C (make sure the water doesn’t touch the bowl. Remove from the heat and add the finely chopped chocolate. Mix until smooth and glossy.
Check that the chocolate is less than 30C, then dip each cherry into the chocolate using a chocolate dipping fork, (or alternatively a normal kitchen fork) and tap off the excess.
Place on kitchen paper to set which should take only a couple of minutes.
Decorate each cherry with a piece of gold leaf or edible gold sparkle powder.
Eat the chocolate cherries within one month of making and store at cool room temperature. Keep away from direct heat and strong odours.
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