Dessert, too, can be made well before it's served - the cherries up to a week and the mascarpone cream up to two days. The only last-minute job is to toast the panettone, serve and enjoy the company.
750g of cherries
500ml of white wine mixed with 200g of sugar
5 whole black peppercorns
1 tsp of vanilla essence
3 egg whites
150g of caster sugar
300g of mascarpone
panettone - Italian Christmas cake
For six people, remove the seeds from 750g of cherries. Bring 500ml of white wine mixed with 200g of sugar, 5 whole black peppercorns and a teaspoon of vanilla essence to the boil. Pour over the cherries and allow them to cool in the syrup.
Meanwhile, beat 3 egg whites in a bowl, slowly adding 150g of caster sugar until firm peaks form. To this add 300g of mascarpone and blend in until the resulting mixture is light and fluffy.
Cut 3-4 thick slices of panettone (Italian Christmas cake) and pop them in the toaster. When done, cut the toasted panettone into thick fingers.
To serve, put some of the mascarpone cream on each plate, then cherries on top and serve with 2 or 3 fingers of toasted panettone.