Heston's cheese fondue
As we all know, this is so outdated it’s down there in the land of non-trending dinner dishes with the prawn cocktail and chicken Kiev. Unless you’re being consciously ironic or hosting a theme party, which is actually trendy (go figure).
The fondue sets languishing at the back of cupboards mercilessly betray your age, or that of your (past or present) marriage, having been the (least desired) staple on the wedding gift list. Not even good to use for casseroles as they had no lids.
Not a nice way to treat a peasant dish which scrapes together hard cheese and stale bread and turns it, basically, into deconstructed cheese on toast! So there we have it – not a party dish at all but a bit of comfort food, destined to fill a hole and probably best consumed in solitude. With no witness to those never-ending strings of cheese landing on our chin.
If you want to be lean – and that means less bread, not less cheese – chop up some apples, pears and crudités.
This tastes absolutely fantastic. And so it should – it’s Heston’s recipe from the book ‘Heston Blumenthal at home’.
- 220g Gruyère cheese
- 220g Comté cheese
- 2 tsp cornflour
- 2 tbsp. dry sherry or kirsch
- 1 sprig of thyme
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled and lightly crushed
- 250g dry white wine
- 10g lemon juice
- 1 tsp mustard powder
- a grating of nutmeg or a pinch of ground cloves
- To serve:
- 2 small apples, peeled, cored and diced in 2cm chunks
- 2 small firm pears, peeled, cored and diced in 2cm chunks
- a couple of handfuls of smallest broccoli florets, blanched in boiling water for a few seconds
- miniature baby potatoes boiled until tender, drained (and cut in halves or quarters if larger than bite-size)
- some stale-ish bread (sourdough or similar), cut into bite-sized cubes
Grate the cheeses and toss them with the cornflour in a bowl. Bring the sherry or kirsch to a simmer (you can heat it up in a microwave), add the garlic and thyme and leave to infuse for at least 10 minutes.
Bring the wine and lemon juice to the boil, add the cheese gradually, whisking or stirring with a wooden spoon all the time, until smooth and creamy.
Add the mustard powder and the nutmeg or cloves, strain in the infused liquor and cook for a minute longer, stirring constantly, until the fondue thickens.
Transfer to a fondue pot (or a heat-proof dish placed over an oriental-style pot warmer, if you don’t have a fondue set) and serve with the crudités, potatoes and bread.