This is a great pud to make during the all-too-short cherry season. If, like me, you view a couple of bars of good-quality dark chocolate as storecupboard staples, you can knock up this chocolate mousse, almost certainly to loud applause, at the drop of a hat. Combine it with a little cloud of whipped cream and briefly cooked fresh cherries, and you have a very sophisticated and indulgent pudding.
Put the cherries into a pan with the sugar. Cook over a very gentle heat, stirring occasionally, for a few minutes until the cherries are starting to soften and release some of their deep red juices. Set aside to cool.
To make the mousse, put the chocolate and butter into a heatproof bowl and place over a pan of barely simmering water. Leave to melt, stirring once or twice. Set aside to cool a little, then stir in the egg yolks.
In a large, clean bowl, whisk the egg whites with the sugar for a few minutes, until they form a soft meringue. Fold this into the chocolate mixture. Spoon into glasses and chill for an hour or so.
Lightly whip the cream until it just holds soft peaks. Put a dollop of cream on each mousse, add the cherries and serve.
Swaps: Instead of poached cherries, use fresh strawberries hulled, thickly sliced and briefly tossed in a little caster sugar. Or raspberries, again with a sprinkling of caster sugar, and very lightly crushed until the juices run.