The Daily Southerner, Tarboro, NC

May 22, 2013

Great fondue

Karen's Kitchen

TARBORO — My husband and I love to entertain. We also love fondue. I have 4 or 5 fondue pots. I use them regularly. Some of them I have had for a long time.

Fondue began as a way to use up old, hardened cheese. The original fondue was cheese with wine. You then dipped hardened pieces of bread into the mixture. In America, the 1950's was the height of the fondue craze. However, it appears to be making a comeback.

There are several ways to fondue. You can make the dessert fondue and I have a great chocolate fondue recipe below. Another fondue option is to have a cheese fondue for a starter before the meal or at a party.

The last fondue option is to make the main course the fondue. With this option you can use either wine, a broth or oil for the fondue. I alternate usually between the broth and the oil. Sometimes I use peanut oil and sometimes I use canola oil. I don’t generally use vegetable oil because it has a lower smoke point.

The first recipe is my wine fondue. The important thing to remember is to use a good white wine. Never cook with a wine that you wouldn’t serve to guests. It doesn’t have to be expensive but it does have to be a table wine. You can play with the spices to find the taste that you like.

The second recipe is a wonderful one. It smells great and tastes great. We love mushrooms at our house. I use them a lot so this is a favorite. You can also dip sausage chunks or hot dogs in this one.

The third recipe is an easy cheese fondue. Use it as an appetizer or with finger foods at any gathering. You have to cook it slowly so that you don’t burn the cheese; otherwise it’s an easy recipe to make.

The last recipe is most everyone’s favorite. The chocolate fondue. Who doesn’t love chocolate fondue? It’s tasty and beautiful. If you have several items to dip, it’s an instant hit. You can use angel food cake, strawberries, grapes, pound cake or anything else that would taste good with chocolate and will stay on the skewer.

Wine Fondue

1 Bottle Good White Wine

1 (2 Inch) Piece Cinnamon Stick

1/4 Teaspoon Ground Coriander

10 Black Peppercorns, Crushed

4 Whole Cloves

1 Teaspoon Sugar

1 Teaspoon Salt

1 Teaspoon Celery Salt

1/4 Teaspoon Garlic Salt

Pour wine into a saucepan, and season with cinnamon stick, coriander, pepper, cloves, sugar, salt, celery salt, and garlic salt. Let sit for 1 hour, and then bring to a boil. Filter through a fine sieve or colander lined with cheesecloth, and transfer to the fondue pan. Bring to a boil before using.

Mushroom Fondue

2 Oz Butter

1 Lb Mushrooms, finely chopped

2 Cloves Garlic, crushed

5 Oz Chicken Stock

5 Oz Whipping Cream

3 Tsp Corn flour

1 Pinch Salt

1 Pinch Pepper

1 Pinch Cayenne Pepper

1 Package Cubed Cheese

1 Loaf French Bread, cut into bite sized pieces

Melt the butter in a saucepan. Add the mushrooms and garlic then cook gently for 10 minutes.

Add the stock and simmer for 10 minutes

Add a little cream into the fondue pot. Blend in the corn flour smoothly, then add the remaining cream and mushroom puree. Heat to simmer and cook over a gentle heat until thickened, stirring frequently.

Season with cayenne pepper, salt and pepper.

Serve with the cubes of cheese.

Easy Cheese Fondue

Total preparation and cooking time: 15 minutes

    2 Cups (8 Oz) Fancy Sharp Cheddar Shredded Cheese

    3 Cups (12 Oz) Fancy Colby Jack Shredded Cheese

    1-Tablespoon Cornstarch

    1 Bottle (12 Oz) Beer

    1-Teaspoon Hot Pepper Sauce

    Dippers: Assorted breadsticks, bell pepper pieces, sugar snap peas and cherry tomatoes

Toss cheeses with cornstarch in medium bowl; set aside.

Pour beer into fondue pot; bring to boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low; add cheese mixture. Cook 2 minutes or until cheese is melted, stirring constantly. Stir in hot sauce.

Keep fondue over low heat. Dip breadsticks and vegetables into fondue.

Makes 8 servings

Chocolate Fondue

1 Cups Premium Cocoa Powder, sifted

1 1/4 Cups Spring Water

1 1/2 Cups Granulated Sugar

1/4 Cup Corn Syrup

1/2 Cup Plus 5 Tbsp Heavy Cream

5 Ounces Premium Semi-Sweet Chocolate, chopped

Pound Cake and Fruit (Such As Bananas, Apples, Strawberries, And Plums), cut into bite-sized pieces

Sift the cocoa into mixing bowl and set aside. Place the water, sugar, and corn syrup into a pot and bring to a boil. Allow to simmer for 10-15 minutes until sugar solution has reduced by about 30%.

Pour the cocoa powder into the solution and blend with a whisk until smooth. Return the chocolate mixture to the stove and continue cooking over medium heat. Add heavy cream, bring to boil and allow to simmer for five minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in chopped chocolate. Pour into fondue pot and keep warm.

Did you Know?

Melting Chocolate

There are several methods for melting chocolate or candy melts. In any case, the important thing to keep in mind is to go slowly and don't heat the chocolate too much, or once again, it can burn and turn grainy.

Oven - I love this method, although it does take a bit more time than other methods. Turn on your oven to the lowest setting (usually 200 °F.) Put chocolate into ramekins and place in the oven. Check and stir the chocolate after about 10 minutes. Return to the oven if needed, or start making chocolates if your chocolate is smooth and melted.

Microwave - The microwave is another great way to melt chocolate, but you must watch it carefully. A few extra seconds and your chocolate can be ruined. Use the low or defrost setting on the microwave -- zap for 1 minute, then check and stir. If you need more time, do it in 10-20 seconds intervals and check and stir after each addition of microwave time.

Double Boiler - A double boiler is one pot set over another that has simmering water in the bottom. If you don't have a double boiler you can improvise one by placing a stainless steel bowl over a pot of simmering water. The only problem with this method is you risk getting water into the chocolate, which will make it seize, but if you're very careful the double boiler method works fine. Do not allow the simmering water to touch the bottom of the top pot (or bowl as the case may be).