How to Make Fondue
Traditionally, fondue was nothing more than melted chocolate kept warm in a pot called a Caquelon, which was set over a sterno or other source of fire. This version is a ganache, which is thick enough to cling to the treats dipped into it, but thin enough to stay liquid without the fire. I’ve poured the chocolate into individual ramekins, so each person has their own "pot" of warm chocolate to dip into. Set out an assortment of fruits, cake, cookies, meringues and/or dried fruit. It is a fast, simple, fun dessert for a larger party or a romantic way to celebrate Valentine's Day with someone special.
In a saucepan, heat the heavy cream over medium heat to a gently simmer. Remove from heat and add the brandy, vanilla, butter and chopped chocolate. Swirl the cream so that the chocolate is covered. Allow to sit for 2 minutes.
Gently whisk until completely smooth, serve immediately.
For a party, set out a large variety of treats to dip into the chocolate. I used 3-inch cocktail skewers to do the dipping. At the last minute divide4 or 6-ounce ramekins with the warm ganache.
If it is just a party of two, then set up a smaller selection of dip-able treats with one larger pot of chocolate in the middle.
Zoë François, author of Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day, Healthy Bread in 5 Minutes a Day and Artisan Pizza and Flatbreads in 5 Minutes a Day , studied at the Culinary Institute of America in New York. She now calls Minneapolis her home, where she has worked with some of the top talent in the culinary world — Steven Brown, Andrew Zimmern and many chefs at the D’Amico company. In addition to writing, Zoë teaches baking classes and consults at restaurants. You can find her writing and recipe creations on Devour, on her baking blog, zoebakes.com and on the site, www.breadin5.com.