Magic dipping in a Chocolate Pot of Winter Fondue

 

It seems to me that pots of kitsch love have made a massive comeback thanks to chains like Max Brenner and several appearances on dessert menus around town.
You don’t need to step out of your jim jams to partake anymore. Just have a few staples in the cupboard and et voila you’re en route to indulging in little pots of loveliness in no time at all. The only suggestion I have is to avoid the typical marsmallow, banana bread, strawberry and banana dippers that have become de rigueur.
Here’s a pretty comprehensive list of fun get you feeling inspired,

Bready things
Pick a couple of these carbohydrate extenders and pop them in the oven at 160C to warm through while your chocolate melts.
Donut holes, croissants, brioche, gingerbread, brownies, pancakes and madiera cake,

Fruit
Very important choices here to balance the sweetness of your platter of goodies with a little sour, and if you really want strawberries, don’t let me stop you.
Orange and mandarin segments, candied ginger, cubes of pineapple tossed in a pan over high heat with a little brown sugar and butter, whiskey soaked pitted dates, poached pears- pop a little pink food colouring in the water to get some extra retro fun with your fondue, cubed papaya with lime juice & salt and candied orange.

Crunch
You could keep adding to this list all day, if its got texture and tastes good with chocolate; do it!
Meringues, chopped nuts for dipping the chocolate dipped dipper in, homemade nut bars, chocolate crackles/honey cornflake crackles, coconut macaroons, any flavour macaron, biscotti, caramel popcorn balls or lolli-gobble-bliss-bombs and popping candy.

Salt
We all love salted caramel and salt works equally well with chocolate, once again balancing the sweetness. Salted pretzels, salted air popped popcorn – I also add chilli flakes here,
peanut butter balls – blitz 500g of salted and roasted peanuts in your food processor, keep some aside for rolling, add a couple of tablespoons of peanut butter to the remaining and mix well, roll into balls with wet hands then in the rolling peanuts. Soooooo good dipped in fondue just keep them SMALL. Little pots of sea salt are also nice for self balancing sprinkles.

Out of the box
I can almost see some of you screwing your noses up at the following suggestions; BUT you have to trust me and go there at least once.

– Cubes of Fried Pancetta are brilliant on a platter with warmed gingerbread, candied orange, walnuts and whiskey soaked dates. These little morsels are perfectly suited to a white chocolate fondue.
– Hot Chips enough said. Please don’t add chicken salt.
– Salted plain potato crisps with a milk chocolate fondue; you’ll thank me later.
– Sweet potato cubes roasted with salt and brown sugar paired with cinnamon and sugar donut holes, candied ginger, pistachios, mandarin segments and dark chocolate fondue is a must.
– Frozen lemon cheesecake cut into cubes, dipped into the chocolate with a strawberry then rolled in popping candy. The cheesecake needs to be frozen to hold.
– Extra pots of salted caramel just because.
I’ll sign off with a Basic Fondue recipe for you.

Chocolate Fondue
Use approx 100g of chocolate per person and 50mls of cream.
Heat your cream in the microwave to just over warm, don’t boil.
Place chocolate in a stainless steel bowl to hold the heat. Pour cream over the chocolate and leave it to sit. DON’T TOUCH IT or you lose heat.
Count to 120 if you have to, pop your donut holes in the oven; do something!!
After your moments of self control, beat the cream and chocolate until smooth.
Now you can either leave the chocolate plain or add some extra fun, with orange zest, or salt, or popping candy, or smashed peppermint crisps, or dehydrated blueberries I could go on. Just make sure your flavour matches your dip ins.
Pour into a pretty serving bowl, pop onto your platter and load your movie.
Let me know if you were brave and tried the pancetta.
nims xx

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