Monday, March 04, 2013

Fondue Date Night

Cheese Fondue
Cheese Fondue

Fondue seems to be making a comeback lately. Not just in homes, but there are whole restaurants devoted to the smooth, warm dipping sauces. I recall back in the 70's the big joke was how many Crock-Pots® or fondue pots a couple would get as wedding gifts.Some had 4 or 5 fondue sets, so it's no real surprise to me that I can find many for sale on sites like eBay or Etsy.

Cheese Fondue
Cheese Fondue and dippers. L to R: Meatballs, fried cooked salami cubes, steamed asparagus tips, grape tomatoes, bread cubes and pretzel sticks. Provide extra small skewers (left) and plates in addition to the longer skewers that come with your set. The longer skewers aren't meant for eating from, they're simply made for dipping foods that are then set on plates.

I even found my own set at a local yard sale a few years ago. It sat in the box until I stopped at Pier 1 the other day and found a brand new contemporary fondue set on sale. It was too cute to pass up and I started thinking about dual fondues for dinner one night.

Tonight was that night and the kids thoroughly loved it. Fondue is so easy to make if you take your time and do it right. The list of 'dippers' is endless for both cheese and chocolate and it's easy enough to do for a party or just a weeknight dinner at home. It's especially good with lots of kids because there's usually something for everyone.
Chocolate Fondue
Chocolate Fondue

Fondue is derived from the French word "fondre" meaning, to melt. Simple as that. Bread as a dipper was the traditional, though almost anything you like dipped in cheese or chocolate will work these days.

Chocolate Fondue
Chocolate fondue and dippers. L to R: marshmallows, coconut cookies, strawberries and carrot pound cake. 

I have to say, as cute as the new pot is, the original was better at keeping heat and a much larger capacity for the crowd I have, though the smaller new one was better for the dessert fondue, so it worked out having two sets.

Here are two very basic recipes for cheese fondue and chocolate fondue.

Classic Cheese Fondue
Printable Recipe

1 pound of cheese, shredded - typical is Gruyere and Swiss, but almost any will do
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 garlic clove, peeled
1 1/2 cups dry white wine
Spices if desired
Assorted dippers

1. In a small bowl, toss the cheeses well with cornstarch and set aside. The cornstarch helps to ensure a smooth fondue.
2. Cut the garlic in half and rub the inside of the fondue pot with the cut side and set pot aside until fondue is ready.
3. Over medium heat in a heavy bottomed saucepan, add the wine and bring to a simmer. Very slowly and about 1/2 cup at a time, stir the cheese into the wine. Once each addition has melted add in more and stir and melt until all the cheese is incorporated and the fondue is smooth.
4. Transfer to fondue pot and keep warm over a low flame.
5. Serve with assorted dippers and reheat gently if necessary to keep fluid and smooth.
6. Add spices such as a pinch of cayenne pepper or freshly grated nutmeg at the end of cooking and stir well.

Classic Chocolate Fondue
Printable Recipe

1 pound bittersweet chocolate - grated or cut in small pieces
3/4 cup heavy cream
1 to 2 Tablespoons flavored liqueur, if desired
1/2 teaspoon grated cinnamon, if desired
Assorted dippers

1. In a small double boiler, heat chocolate and cream, stirring frequently, until chocolate is smooth.
2. Add liqueur and cinnamon if using and stir well.
3. Keep warm in a fondue pot with a flame beneath. Stir often to keep from burning and make sure chocolate is still fluid.
4. Serve with dippers.

*Note: The post title is a reference any "Everybody Loves Raymond" fan will appreciate.

1 comment:

Annie at Haphazard Homestead said...

This will be our year to host a small Christmas gathering of 6 adults and 5 kids and I think fondue would be a wonderful idea! Thanks for sharing...I'm going to pin this so I don't forget. :)