Every year at Christmas when we put up the tree we always have a cheese fondue. My mom started the tradition when my sister and I were kids and it has stuck ever since. Now it has a whole lot more to do with the fondue than with putting up the tree
It actually felt a little sacrilegious when I started serving this caramelized shallot and gruyere fondue at the supper club. I felt like there was something wrong with eating fondue outside of Christmastime … until I had my first bite. Any notion of it being sacrilegious went out the door and became a big pile of cheesy, gooey deliciousness.
Of the few fondues I’ve made this is my favourite. By far. And from all the moans coming from around the dinner table as people gorge on melted cheese covered bites of sourdough, I’m not the only one who loves this. But then what’s not to love? Gruyere, check. Melted cheese, check. Melted cheese … oh wait I said that one already, right.
I know that making fondue can be a bit intimidating. If you’ve made it before you might have even had it go a bit lumpy, right? I bet it still tasted amazing, but who wants lumpy melted cheese? But don’t worry, with just a few simple tricks you can have fail proof smooth, perfectly melted and delicious fondue. Want to know what those tricks are?
- Always (always always) start with your cheese finely grated. It does take a bit more work but when I’ve been in a hurry and grated it using the regular larger holes it separates and becomes lumpy. I’m not sure why but grating it using the smaller holes always works.
- Add only a small handful of cheese at a time and make sure that the cheese has completely melted and the pot returns to a boil before you add any more. Again, I’m not sure why but this does work. Every time.
- That’s it. I make this dish regularly and as long as I follow those two rules it always turns out perfect.
Make sure to follow The Endless Meal!
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 6 ounces thinly sliced shallots (about 1½ cups)
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 14 ounces finely grated Gruyere cheese (about 3½ cups packed)
- 2 tablespoons all purpose flour. For a gluten free version use 1½ tablespoons corn starch
- 1½ cups (or more) dry white wine*
- Generous pinch of ground nutmeg
- 1 small clove finely grated or minced garlic
- 2 tablespoons calvados or another apple brandy
- Freshly ground black pepper, use generously
- While bread is what is often served with fondue there are many other things that you can use to dip that I actually prefer. Some of my favourites are: spicy sausage, sautéed whole mushrooms, lightly steamed broccoli and cauliflower, prawns, tiny roasted potatoes and slices of apples.
- Melt butter over medium heat in a medium sized, heavy bottomed saucepan. Add shallots and cook for 2 minutes. Add sugar and salt and cook, stirring occasionally for about 15 minutes.
- While the shallots are caramelizing, grate the cheese using the fine edge of the grater. Add to a large bowl and toss with the flour, or for a gluten free fondue toss with corn starch.
- Add the white wine to the shallots and bring to a boil for 1 minute. One small handful at a time slowly begin to add the cheese. Whisk until the cheese is melted and the pot returns to a boil before adding more. Continue until all the cheese has been added into the fondue.
- Whisk in the nutmeg, garlic, calvados and pepper. Be generous with the amount of pepper you grind in. Check for seasonings and add more salt and pepper as necessary.
- If you would like your fondue to be a little thinner you can add another splash of wine or even water.
The fondue can be made up to a day in advance. Store the cooled fondue in your fridge until about 15 minutes before you would like to serve it. Warm it on medium low heat and whisk frequently until it is hot and bubbling. You may need to add a splash of water to thin it a little.