Grand Marnier Chocolate Fondue
1/2 cup cream
1/2 pound bittersweet or semisweet chocolate
1 or 2 tablespoons orange juice
1/4 to 1/2 cup Grand Marnier, to taste
Strawberries and cake cubes (for dipping)
Strip the zest from the orange using a zester, vegetable peeler, grater or sharp knife. Do not use any of the white pith. Place the zest and the cream in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer over low heat.
Meanwhile, grate the chocolate and place in a fondue pot or clean metal bowl. Simmer the cream for a minute or so, then shut off the heat and let steep a few more minutes.
Strain the hot cream into the chocolate, discarding the zest. Melt the chocolate slowly. If necessary, place the pot or bowl over some slowly simmering water to aid melting. Stir chocolate and cream together. Squeeze a tablespoon or two of orange juice into the chocolate, and add about 1/4 cup of the Grand Marnier. Taste and add more Grand Marnier if desired.
Serve the melted chocolate suspended over a double boiler filled with hot water. If possible, don't serve it directly over a candle flame, as this can burn the chocolate and cause the mixture to separate. Surround the chocolate pot with cut fruit, whole berries and pieces of cake to skewer and dip. Use a high-quality bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, or a mixture of the two, depending on your personal preference. Valhrona, Tobler, Lindt, and Callebaut are just a few fine chocolate makers. When it comes to the dippers, you're bound only by the season and your preference.
Strawberries and cake cubes are favorites. Other berries, such as raspberries and blueberries, are good choices, as well as grapes. Cut fruit is good — try apples, kiwis, bananas and sectioned oranges. Or try halved fruit, such as fresh figs and apricots. And don't forget dried fruits such as apricots and cranberries.
You can also experiment with the liqueur you use. Cordials such as Grand Marnier and Frangelico (hazelnut liqueur) are best because of their high sugar content, but you can use brandy and rum, too.