My first encounter with fondue was Senior prom, 1998. My date was my high school boyfriend; a nice Jewish boy named Josh. We went with our close friends to the local fancy fondue joint—The Melting Pot. My girlfriends and I all go our dresses at Cache, a dress store in the mall that I’m not sure still exists. My dress was dark blue, long and with an oh-so-elegant halter top neckline. Hashtag nothing but class. I honestly don’t remember what we ate that night because what sticks out in my memory is the moment my friend, Nicole’s dress caught on fire from under the table. If you’ve ever gone to The Melting Pot, you’ll know that the sternos are built into the table. Well, our table misfired and a spark flew out and caught onto the incredibly flammable netting of my friend’s dress. Needless to say, our meal was comped that night so, you know, totally worth it.
I got the idea for this post after reading Bon Appetit’s most recent holiday issue. They profiled Chef Ludo and his adore family, which I’m pretty sure lives somewhere around me in The Valley. Anyway, Chef Ludo made his family fondue for a traditional (but with a twist!) French family breakfast. I was looking at pictures of that delicious pot of melted cheese and I found myself thinking, “Damn it! I wanna dip some latkes into that delicious pot of melted cheese!!” Fondue for Chanukah, FTW!! I, of course, had to kosher-fy the fondue recipe since it was made with non-kosher cheese. And really, while the cheese is usually always the star of any recipe, I wanted to bring you 3 different kinds of latkes for you to choose from so even if you’re not into fondue, you’ve got some great latke recipes in your back pocket.
Latke Fondue with Traditional, Sweet Potato + Chive, & Apple/Pear Latkes
Fondue Recipe (based on Bon Appetit’s recipe):
- 1 garlic clove, halved lengthwise
- 1/4 cup Belgian beer
- 3/4 cups dry white wine, divided
- 1 1/2 tbsp cornstarch
- 1/2 pound Gruyère, Edam or Swiss cheese coarsely grated
- 1/2 pound Mini Ball cheese, grated
- 1 tablespoons bourbon or brandy
- 1/8 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- Kosher salt
Rub inside of a large saucepan with cut sides of garlic. Finely grate garlic into saucepan; add beer and 1/2 cup of wine and bring to a boil over medium heat. Whisk cornstarch and remaining 1/4 cup wine in a small bowl until no lumps remain, then whisk into liquid in saucepan. Bring to a boil, whisking constantly, then reduce heat so mixture is at a very low simmer and very gradually add Gruyère, Swiss or Edam and Mini Ball Cheese, whisking until smooth (fully incorporate each batch of cheese before adding more).
Whisk bourbon and baking soda in a small bowl to combine, then whisk into fondue, followed by lemon juice; season with salt. Transfer to a fondue pot.
Ingredients and Directions for Sweet Potato Latkes Here – do you and me a favor – omit the carrots and add 1 more sweet potato plus 3 finely diced chives to the recipe. Also, omit the cinnamon, sugar and cardamom and add 1/2 tbsp of garlic powder, 1 tsp of cayenne, 1/2 tbsp of kosher salt and 1 tsp of black pepper.
Ingredients for Apple and Bear Latkes (recipe based on Smitten Kitchen’s):
3 sweet, firm apples (I used Pink Ladies)
2 Bosc Pears
1 tablespoon lemon juice
6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 large eggs
Vegetable or Canola Oil
Peel and core apples and pear then grate them, either on the large holes of a box grater or in a food processor, on the shredding blade. Transfer to a clean dishtowel and wring out as much juice as you can over the sink. Use a second towel if necessary as getting rid of as much moisture as possible will help the crisping up of your recipe.
Transfer grated apple and pear to a medium bowl and toss with lemon juice. In a small dish, whisk flour, sugar, cinnamon and baking powder and toss with the apples, coating them evenly. Whisk eggs in this small dish until lightly beaten and stir into apple-lemon-flour mixture.
Heat a large cast-iron skillet to medium with enough oil so that your pan is filled with about 1 – 2 inches of oil (healthy!). Once the oil is hot enough, drop tablespoons full of apple batter in little piles (4 at most at one time), gently pressing them a bit flatter with a spatula. Fry until they are nicely brown underneath, about 3 to 5 minutes, then flip and continue to cook until they are browned and crisp. Drain briefly on paper towels and transfer to preheated oven to keep warm.