I recently had a clear out of my cupboards and found to my surprise that I was the owner of no less than four fondue pans. Yes, really. FOUR. I mean how many fondue pans does a woman need? Especially one who hasn't made a fondue for around five years. I've slimmed the collection down to three - one large for 'big' fondues and two small chocolate fondues - useful for putting one at each of the table and thereby avoiding major spillages.
The fondue is a funny one. A throwback to the eighties, is it really a socially acceptable thing to serve unless you are within spitting distance of a ski slope? Yes, yes and yes again. There is something quite divine about a gorgeously melty cheese fondue dripping off hunks of French bread. I was also suitably impressed when I had dinner with a certain friend recently who professes to be hopeless in the kitchen (total rubbish, I suspect) and she served up the perfect fondue bourguignonne - strips of the best fillet of beef which we cooked ourselves in the hot oil of the fondue. Served with superb thin chips (from the freezer) and a range of scrummy sauces and salads, it was great fun and truly divine.
Cheese is good. Beef is better. But chocolate is surely the champion. What could be better than throwing a few bits in a pan to melt and then using bits of fruit and marshmallows as vehicles for the wickedly indulgent chocolatey goo? Surely the easiest (and most decadent) pud in the world and one that even the 'no, I won't have dessert' crowd cannot resist. By the way - I have never understood the 'no, I won't have dessert' crowd. Just to make that quite clear!
This is a milk chocolate fondue - I prefer it to dark. Whilst I usually use dark chocolate for my desserts, milk chocolate seems more suited to this rather frivolous pud. Dark chocolate is somehow too... serious. Too... grown-up on this occasion. The lemon might sound like an odd addition and whilst I restrain from saying that it is essential (recipes should never be set in stone), I would like to suggest that it is... a very favourable addition.
For dipping, you could go down the fruit route (...like how that rhymes?). Bananas and pear are my favourites. But if you like the strawberry and chocolate thing is up your street, then strawbs would be perfect. Cherries, perhaps too. If you chill the fruit in the fridge for a while before serving, the sauce will 'hold' better too. Marshmallows are also a winner.
The original recipe comes from Le Creuset's 'Fondue Cookery', written by Wendy Vale. It came with the first of
Milk Chocolate Fondue
Serves 4 (fairly small servings)
25g unsalted butter
1 tablespoon golden syrup
2 teaspoons finely grated lemon rind
4 tablespoons whipping cream
1. Break the chocolate into small pieces and place in a chocolate fondue pan* together with the all the other ingredients.
2. Stir over a very low heat until smooth and glossy.
3. Transfer fondue pan onto the stand above lighted candle flame. Be sure not to let the mixture boil. It should be warm, not hot.
* A chocolate fondue pan uses heat from a candle rather than a full burner - this prevents the fondue from getting too hot. It is fine to use a regular fondue pan - just keep the heat as low as possible and keep and eye on the situation! No fondue pan? No problem - just melt in a small saucepan, bring to the table and eat whilst still warm. On the off-chance there is any left over, it is delicious on ice cream.**Trig over at Aiden Brookes, Trainee Chef tagged me for the 7 random facts meme. Thank you. I did this one a wee while ago - you can read my seven facts here.