Some puddings make people groan with pleasure: this is one of them. It’s a luxurious ice cream, intensely chocolaty, within a case of sponge fingers soaked in a fresh orange and brandy syrup. Definitely and extravagant treat and perfect for the Christmas festivities. You can make it days ahead and it is enough for a large number of people.
Put the oranges and lemon juice in a largish saucepan, with the demerara sugar. Heat gently, stirring until the sugar has dissolved, and then bring to the boil and boil vigorously for 3-4 minutes until syrupy. Remove from the heat and stir in the brandy. Lay the sponge fingers in a roasting pan or shallow dish, unsugared-side downwards, and spoon the syrup over them. Leave for an hour or two, occasionally spooning any syrup which seeps out over them again.
Now arrange the syrup-soaked sponge fingers closely together round the sides of an
To unmould, dip the tin briefly in a sink of very hot water until you can turn it upside-down, and shake the chocolate charlotte out on to a serving plate. Put it back in the freezer, but take it out about an hour before eating and leave it in a cool place so that it reaches the best consistency.
© 1978 Josceline Dimbleby. All rights reserved.