Last night, I hosted a fondue party for my book group, and I decided to make it from scratch (largely because Trader Joes was out of my favorite mix). I’ve heard some competing methods about preparing it (and that it’s notoriously easy to mess up), so I made a couple different batches to compare. And WOW, the same ingredients can turn out very differently, depending on how you put them together. One batch turned out like a pile of glue, even though the taste wasn’t bad. The other worked perfectly. Even though I’ve done a post about fondue before (read it here), I wanted to revisit it to update the preparation method, since it makes such a huge difference.
I need to give credit where is due, since Chari, my friend with the Swiss husband, told me the secret to preparing it. And, of course, it turns out her method worked best. (Sorry to have doubted you, my dear.)
For 3-4 People
8 oz Emmentaler Cheese
8 oz Gruyere Cheese
2 tbsp cornstarch + 2 tbsp
1 cup white wine (Sauvingnon Blanc is my favorite) + ¼ cup
1 tbsp kirsch (cherry brandy)
1 large garlic clove
Grate the cheese and place it in a gallon sized Ziplock bag. Add the cornstarch. Zip it up and shake it until the cheese is covered with cornstarch. (At this point, you can refrigerate it overnight, if you want to prep it ahead). Dump the contents in a large bowl. Add the wine. Let it sit for an hour, so the cheese absorbs some wine.
In a small cup, combine reserved wine and cornstarch. Set aside.
Cut the garlic clove in half and smear it all over the inside of a large sauce pan (this keeps it from sticking and tastes yummy). Place the pan on the stove and set to medium low heat. Allow the pan to heat. Slowly add the cheese mixture, a handful of a time, constantly stirring slowly until the cheese melts. Don’t allow it to boil!
Once all the cheese has melted, assess the thickness of the sauce. If it’s too thin, slowly add some of the wine and cornstarch mix and stir. Add more if you need it.
Once it achieves the desired consistency, transfer the mixture to a heated fondue pot (unless you cooked it in your fondue pot to begin with, then place it on the fondue pot stand with heat).
Remember to stir the fondue regularly to keep the bottom from burning.