We usually do it once a year with our family - my oldest daughter, Sarah, requests it for her birthday dinner. Usually we do all 3 courses, cheese, meat and chocolate or caramel (or both!)
Tonight we skipped the cheese fondue, and I made a couple of sides instead. Fondue is served in stages. You set out the cheese fondue, the bread chunks, the veggies, etc... then when all have had their fill of the cheese, you clear the table of all that, and bring out the preheated oil in an electric fry pot, raw meat, and several dipping sauces. When all have had their fill of that, you clear the table again and bring out the dessert fondue, fresh fruits, pretzels, pound cake, etc... It's not a "hurry up" type dinner. It's a sit and talk and laugh and spend time together type meal. This would be a lot of fun to do with a group of young married couples or college age singles even. Everybody could bring something to contribute to the fondue. That would ease the expense on the hostess. You can pick up fondue pots for next to nothing in your local Goodwill stores. Some of them are kept warm by a simple tea light candle. I use those kinds for the dessert fondues that don't require a lot of heat to keep them warm. But the pot we use to fry our meat, has an electric cord. You could also make up a dessert fondue platter and set it out at a fellowship or dinner in your home. People could casually come and go and get their dessert as they wish. It's just so unique and SO much fun! Not to mention YUMMY!! Promise me you'll put this on your "to do" list soon!
CARAMEL PECAN FONDUE (this one is our all time favorite!!)
*IF you have any leftovers, refrigerate them and use it as topping for your ice cream!* Mmm! Talk about YUMMO! Rachel Ray has nothing on this one! haha
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/4 cup water
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 stick unsalted butter
1 tsp. Rum flavoring
3/4 cup chopped pecans
Dippers: Bananas (the best!), apples, pears, frozen twinkies, brownies, pound cake, angel food cake... all cut in chunks - use your imagination
In a medium heavy bottom sauce pan, combine the sugar with the corn syrup & water. Cook over low heat, stirring occasionally until the sugar dissolves (about 10 min). Increase the heat to med-high and simmer, brushing down the insides of the pan occasionally with a wet pastry brush. I keep a bowl of water with the brush in it, near the saucepan to do this. I do it several times throughout the cooking process. Cook until the syrup starts to turn golden. Gently swirl the pan and continue to simmer until a deep amber color forms - about 40 minutes total time. Remove from heat. Carefully stir in cream and butter, a little at a time, until melted and combined. Return to heat, bring to simmer. Remove from heat and stir in rum flavoring and chopped pecans. Let sit for 30 minutes stirring occasionally. Pour into heatproof serving bowl or fondue pot set over low heat and serve with dippers.
* This can be made ahead of time and refrigerated. Rewarm gently over low heat.
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2 Tblsp sugar
1 cup heavy cream
4 oz bittersweet chocolate
4 oz milk chocolate
1 Tblsp butter
Dippers: Apples, oranges, pears, bananas, strawberries, cherries, marshmallows, pretzel rods, frozen cheesecake chunks, etc...
In a microwave safe bowl, mix the sugar, heavy cream, chocolate and butter together and microwave for 1 - 2 minutes, depending on the power of your microwave. Remove bowl from microwave and give it a quick whisk, making sure chocolate is melted and completely combined. Transfer to fondue pot with a flame underneath to keep warm. Serve with your favorite dippers.
*Can be made ahead and refrigerated. Can also use the leftovers as ice cream topping. Or..... top your ice cream with both fondues and have a turtle sundae!
Shhhh don't tell anyone this isn't WW friendly! This was a special occasion! ;-)