Lady B's deliciously decadent dessert

Lady B’s Chocolate Velvet Pie

Lady B’s Chocolate Velvet Pie - Credit: Countess Bathurst

No-nonsense banter from Cirencester Park

With Christmas over, it’s now time for us to make our traditional long lists of New Year’s Resolutions. 

Health clubs and gyms across the country will be rubbing their hands together with glee, anticipating the rush of well-meaning folk, determined to lose the Christmas pounds. 

They know January will be frantically busy, followed by a slightly less chaotic February, with everything returning to normal by March, as the eager new members dwindle away. Everyone will get caught up with their demanding lives, and visits to the gym will become fewer and fewer. Only the die-hards and regulars will remain. 

We’ve all done it – I know I have. It’s the most natural thing in the world to look at January, see the year ahead as a fresh start and with resolve strengthened, I’ve signed on the dotted line - and it’s lasted about, well, at the most, six weeks. 

It’s not so much the fact I’m lazy – I’d like to think I’m extremely active. But it’s the whole rigmarole of driving to the gym, the kit, the faffing around and having to change. I’m sure many of you will have been there!  

Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for keeping fit and active – but I prefer to do it walking the dogs, getting fresh air, going on an exhilarating bike ride. There’s nothing like striding out, at this time of year especially, in breath-takingly cold temperatures, biting winds and lashing rain, preferably with a friend.  

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It’s an opportunity to spend time with someone you love, put the world to rights and get some exercise – one of my favourite things in the world. The dogs love it too. 

January can be a depressing month, the festive season is over, the Christmas fayre has been polished off with gusto, and the remaining colder winter months seem to stretch endlessly ahead. 

So, this year I’m going to suggest you spoil yourself, not with workouts, but instead with a devilish and delicious January dessert. 

It’s the chocolate pie to end all chocolate pies and super easy to make. It’s also the perfect pudding if you are ‘cooked out’; it can be whipped together in 20 minutes.  

And I absolutely guarantee it will result in what I call the ‘Silence of the Pud’. Everyone has had a chatty main course, and then you’ll suddenly notice the room has gone completely silent, as your family savours a slice of yummy chocolate heaven. 

The recipe is below – so go on, have a happy January, and spoil yourself. But don’t forget to go for a bracing walk (or to the gym) afterwards, as I can’t even IMAGINE how many calories are in each slice. Enjoy! 

Chocolate Velvet Pie 

Base:  

250g plain chocolate digestive biscuits 
75g melted & cooled butter 

Filling: 

225g/9oz cream cheese 
175g/3oz castor sugar 
1 tsp vanilla essence 
175g/6oz dark chocolate 
2 large egg yolks 
275ml/half pint double cream 
2 large egg whites 

Bash the biscuits to crumbs and mix with the melted butter. Press into the base and sides of an 8-9” flan dish. Bake at 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4, for 15 minutes. Leave to cool.  

Beat together the cream cheese and 100g/4oz of the sugar. Beat in the vanilla essence, melted chocolate and egg yolks, one by one. Whip the cream until firm and fold in. Whisk the egg whites until stiff, then whisk in the remaining sugar a spoonful at a time. Fold that into the chocolate mixture, pop it all into the case, and chill for a few hours until set. Hey presto. 

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