This recipe might look a little complicated but in fact it's incredibly easy. If you're very short of time use shop-bought brownies, a carton of readymade custard that you stir the melted chocolate into and a couple of posh jars of cherries in kirsch. Whatever way you decide to do it always use the best quality dark chocolate you can afford. It's best to leave the final part of the assembly to the last minute for the most spectacular impact.
If you are looking for a slightly different starter this Christmas, this salmon gravadlax recipe is an ideal solution and can all be made well in advance, leaving very little to do last minute.
Allow to cool slightly before serving.