Monday, April 27, 2015

Swiss Cheese Fondue

I got this fondue pot for Christmas a few years ago and it was my first piece of Le Creuset cookware… Needless to say, it wasn't my last! Though I've used it a fair few times, finding the perfect balance for a cheese fondue has been challenging. Some cheeses melt better than others, some burn faster… It's a delicate balance, but I've finally found the best mixture that not only works for a good consistency, it's also the nicest tasting fondue I've ever had.

Vegetables, apples and new potatoes can go nicely with this fondue, but when I was in Switzerland a few years ago, we were just given cubes of lightly toasted bread and it totally works. Trust me… No one will complain about bread and melty cheese unless you're serving gluten-free dieters in which case, I'd skip this altogether and make something else. If you do decide to make it, don't forget a glass of amazing wine to have alongside for the ultimate indulgence!

Though fondue may seem like cold weather food, only to be enjoyed after a long day on the ski slopes, I'd like to point out that there's very little in the way of cooking here. You don't even have to toast the bread - that's an optional step. Just a bit of stirring on the stove top and then transferring to a fondue pot is all that's required, which makes this the perfect Summer meal, snack or party food when you're trying not to heat up your house with too much oven use. It's also a fun food to enjoy outside… What could be better than fondue and a glass of wine under the stars on a warm, Summer evening?

360g Gruyere cheese, finely grated
180g Emmental cheese, finely grated
1 clove garlic, halved
3 tablespoons plain flour (all-purpose flour)
1 1/4 cups dry white wine
1/4 cup milk
1 tablespoon brandy (cognac)
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 whole fresh flute or baguette cut into bite sized cubes

1. Shred cheeses and allow them to stand at room temperature for about 1/2 an hour. Preheat the oven to 180°C.

2. Rub the inside of a fondue pot with the garlic and then discard and set aside the pot.

3. Toss the cheeses together with the 3 tablespoons of flour.

4. Heat the wine over medium heat in a large saucepan until it starts to bubble up, but not yet boil and reduce the heat to medium-low. Start stirring in the cheese mixture with a wire whisk or fork a small handful at a time, making sure to completely mix and melt before adding more cheese each time. Continue this until all of the cheese has been stirred into the wine and melted.

5. Gradually stir in the milk.

6. Continuously stirring, keep cooking the cheese mixture until it starts to bubble a bit and then stir in the brandy, Dijon mustard and nutmeg.

7. Transfer immediately to a fondue pot with a warmer underneath that's hot enough to keep the mixture ever-so-slightly bubbly.

8. Meanwhile, put the bread cubs on a cookie sheet and bake in the oven for about 5 to 10 minutes or until crisp to the touch.

9. Serve the fondue with the bread cubes on the side. If you like, you can also serve it alongside pre-cooked baby new potatoes and/or cubed Granny Smith Apples.

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