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Charlotte Louise

ingredients

serves 8
18 - 20 sponge fingers (boudoir biscuits)
150 g (6 oz) unsalted butter
75 g (3 oz) sugar
150 g (6 oz) plain chocolate
100 g (4 oz) ground almonds
300 ml (1/2 pt) double cream
2.5 ml (1/2 tsp) almond essence

for the decoration

whipped cream
pistachio nuts
crystallized violets or roses
satin ribbon

method

1. Cut a round of greaseproof (waxed) paper to fit the base of an 8 or 9 in (1.4 litre (2 1/2 pt) Charlotte mould.

2. Oil it lightly and put in the mould. Line the sides of the mould with the sponge fingers.

3. Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.

4. Melt the chocolate. Cool slightly, then beat into the butter, together with the ground almonds.

5. Whip the cream until thick, but not stiff. Add the almond essence. Fold into the chocolate mixture and mix well.

6. Spoon the mixture into the lined mould. Press in firmly. Chill.

7. Turn the Charlotte onto a serving plate. Remove the paper and pipe with whipped cream.

8. Decorate with pistachio nuts and violets. Tie a satin ribbon round it for the finishing touch.

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