Yesterday, after I finished work, I popped into the back of the bakery and experimented with chocolate fondue. I wanted to do a test run because today, in preparation for Valentine’s Day, we are sampling out fondue to customers. While chocolate fondue is not difficult to make, I wanted to make sure we had just the right ratios before preparing a large batch!
First off, I decided to use our Callebaut 60% bittersweet chocolate. Personally, I tend to like dark chocolate but, my own preferences aside, the acidity of chocolate is somewhat mitigated by the secondary ingredient in fondue: heavy cream. As a result, it is better to err on the darker end of the chocolate scale.
In terms of preparation, the first step was to chop my chocolate into small pieces. I find that using a sharp chef’s knife generally does the trick – just be sure to keep your fingers tucked back.
The second step was to heat the heavy cream. I decided to do 1.5x more than the amount recommended in the recipe I was using, just in case I wanted to tinker with things a bit. I put the cream in a pot and brought it over to the stove. It is important to watch cream closely – once it hits the boiling point, it can very easily boil over.
After the cream has boiled, quickly take it off the stove and pour it over your chocolate. (You can also add the chocolate to your cream, making clean up a bit easier.) Push the chocolate around a bit to make sure that as much of it is covered as possible. Then, let it set for a minute or two.
Using a whisk, stir the chocolate and cream mixture together until it is smooth, shiny and lump-free.
At this point, I was glad that I had boiled 1.5x the recommended amount of cream because I felt that my fondue was still a bit too thick… Adding the cream I had in reserve, I achieved my desired dipping consistency!
Once the chocolate and cream were totally combined and lump-free, I tasted the fondue. It’s hard to go wrong with chocolate and cream but, at the same time, a dash of salt does not hurt! As well, if you like to add other flavorings to your fondue (liqueur, citrus zest, etc.), now is the time to do so.
As this was an afternoon experiment, I did not bother to put the chocolate into a fondue pot. Instead, I made quick work of sectioning a mandarin orange and cutting up some strawberries and banana to give staff a sneak peek of today’s activities. I couldn’t find a single member of staff who didn’t like chocolate fondue – actually, that’s not quite true – one person said they preferred cheese fondue!
Here is the final ratio that I found worked well. Originally, I used only 1 cup of cream but found it necessary to add the additional half cup to get a good fondue consistency. Below are also a few suggestions for things to dip and possible flavoring alternatives:
12 ounces 60% Callebaut chocolate
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 pinch salt
1. Prepare a platter of items for dipping (see below for suggestions).
2. Chop your chocolate into small pieces and put it in a good-sized bowl that can withstand high heat.
3. Put the cream in a pot. Heat it on medium until you start to see bubbles. At this point, watch the pot very closely as cream can easily spill out of a pot when it boils.
4. Once the cream has come to a boil, quickly remove it from the burner. Add it into your chocolate, pouring slowly so as not to splash. Spread the chocolate out evenly so it is covered by the cream as much as possible.
5. After a couple of minutes, using a whisk and starting from the center, stir to combine the cream and chocolate. Once all lumps have disappeared, add salt to taste. At this point, you can also add any other desired flavorings (see below for suggestions).
6. Put your fondue into a fondue pot and light the flame underneath. If you do not have a fondue pot, you may wish to warm a heat-proof bowl in the oven and place it on a trivet (alerting all fondue dippers that the fondue bowl is very hot!).
7. Serve immediately. If your fondue begins to set, you may add a small amount of cream (1-2 tablespoons) and whisk again in order to prolong its life. Also, if you are using a fondue pot, give your chocolate a stir every now and again just to be sure the fondue doesn’t burn.
Things to dip: pound cake, madeleines, lady fingers, strawberries, bananas, dried apricots, candied fruits (lemon peel, orange peel, ginger, etc.), marshmallows, brownies, pears, sectioned oranges, fresh pineapple, salted pretzels, biscotti, angel food cake, kiwis or dried figs.
Flavorings: a favorite liqueur (fruit liquors such as Grand Marnier work well), orange zest, grapefruit zest, espresso powder, vanilla bean seeds, vanilla extract, cinnamon or something to bring a bit of heat.
– white chocolate instead of dark chocolate
– place a small bowl of chopped up nuts next to your fondue pot to give a secondary coat to your chocolate dipped goodies
– consider infusing your cream with a tea, spice or herb (e.g. lavender) before you begin making the fondue