Monday, October 11, 2010

Fabulous Fondues – Classic Chocolate

I’m on a mission to re-popularize fondue … the concept couldn’t be simpler. A communal pot goes in the center of the table, filled with melted cheese (the classic fondue) or oil (for beef fondue) or melted chocolate (for a decadent dessert). Over the weekend I served all three! We hosted out of town guests and I wanted to serve something unusual, but also food we could linger over, fondue seemed the perfect choice.

I served the cheese and beef fondue together for our main meal. (I’d be remiss if I didn’t tell you we nibbled on jumbo steamed artichokes in between bites of cheese laden French bread cubes and chunks of perfectly cooked tender, juicy beef).

While we savored all three, the chocolate fondue was slam dunk! Wedges of sweet and crispy Asian pears were our dipping vessel; they were the perfect accompaniment for the cognac-laced, silky-smooth, bittersweet dark chocolate fondue.

Helpful to know: Fondue paraphernalia is available from kitchen stores and many mainstream retail outlets.

This three ingredient recipe takes just minutes to prepare. Fresh seasonal fruit and cubes of angel food cake or pound cake make ideal dippers.

¾ cup cream

12-ounces good quality bittersweet chocolate, broken into small pieces

1-2 tablespoon cognac, brandy or liqueur

In a medium pot over moderate heat, heat cream until very hot. Add chocolate and let stand until softened, about 3 minutes. Add cognac, brandy or liqueur and whisk until smooth. Transfer to fondue pot. Serve immediately. Yield: 4-6 servings.