Party Like a Pro with This Perfect Squash Fondue

For your next dinner party, a dish of melty, gooey cheese fondue presented in an edible squash cup is sure to wow your guests. According to Amanda Shulman, the chef and proprietor of Her Place in Philadelphia and the 2023 F&W Best New Chef, “There is hardly anything better than hot cheese.” Before Her Place opened, my fiancé and I were attempting to think of a seasonal take on the traditional raclette set, which is melted cheese served with crudités for dipping, while brainstorming menu ideas for a late-fall pop-up. We chose to serve it in acorn squash since they are ideal serving dishes that are also tasty.

Acorn squash hollows are roasted till soft and then filled with melted cheese according to Shulman’s method. The colorless cherry brandy, kirsch, balances the richness of the fondue. According to Shulman, “a little kirsch added to the fondue elevates a basic Gruyère to a whole new level.” “Your table, your friends, and most importantly your soul will be delighted by this.” Frequently requested inquiries

In fondue, what should I dip?

Party Like a Pro with This Perfect Squash Fondue

Fondue offers a plethora of options for dipping, whether it be cheese or chocolate. Crudités like rainbow carrots, radishes, and endive leaves are excellent for mopping up the oozy cheese. Better choices for dippers are more substantial foods like little crostini or crusty bread. The sharp, tart cornichons balance out the cheese’s richness and offer an unexpectedly nice touch to any fondue gathering.

Squash skin: is it edible?

An acorn squash is edible in every aspect. Enjoy the edible vessel as an extra treat once the fondue fun is over. Bake the fondue inside the squash until an instant-read thermometer reads 140–150°F to achieve the ultimate cheese pull.

Cooking methods
Although it might be challenging, melting cheese just requires a little perseverance. First, resist the urge to turn up the heat in an attempt to hasten the melting process. If the combination of cheeses appears to be breaking, stop adding cheese, take it off the heat source, and use an immersion blender to blend it until it smoothes out again. Then, put it back on low heat and gradually add additional cheese.

Recommended combination

Party Like a Pro with This Perfect Squash Fondue

To complement the rich, creamy, and nutty notes of the Gruyère and Comté, we suggest a somewhat tart French red such as Château Thivin Reverdon Brouilly.
Prepare in advance
You may start preparing the squash three hours ahead of time by following step 2. Allow the squash to stand at room temperature with a loose covering of aluminum foil. Just before serving, prepare fondue, stuff squash, and bake it through.

Ingredients

  • 4 medium acorn squash
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • 8 ounces Comté cheese, grated (about 2 cups)
  • 8 ounces Gruyère cheese, grated (about 2 cups)
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1 3/4 cups heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1 tablespoon kirsch (cherry brandy) or dry white wine
  • 1 garlic clove, finely grated
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, plus more to taste
  • Crudités (such as cornichons, blanched broccoli and cauliflower, Belgian endive, carrots, and sliced radishes), roasted fingerling potatoes, sliced apple and pear, grapes, pretzel crisps, and mini rye toasts, for serving

Directions

Step 1
Set the oven temperature to 500°F. Remove around 1 inch from the top and around 1/4 inch from the bottom of each squash, ensuring that the bottom is level without exposing the empty inside. With the use of a spoon, excavate the inside of the squash starting from the upper part, eliminating and disposing of any seeds and fibrous strands. Evenly coat the interior of the squash with olive oil and sprinkle with salt.

Step 2
Position the squash, with the bottom side facing up, on a baking sheet coated with parchment paper. Cook in the preheated oven until the flesh becomes soft, while ensuring that the squash maintains its form, for around 25 to 30 minutes. Take out of the oven. Stand the squash in an upright position and allow it to cool on the baking sheet for 15 minutes. Lower the oven temperature to 450°F.

Step 3
Combine shredded cheese and flour in a spacious basin; put aside. Heat the heavy cream in a medium saucepan over medium heat until it reaches a simmer. Continuously stir the mixture over low heat until it becomes somewhat thicker and decreases in volume by 50%, which should take around 15 minutes. Incorporate milk, kirsch, garlic, and pepper by whisking them together. Lower the heat to a minimum level. Gradually introduce the cheese, which has been coated with flour, in approximately 1/4 cup portions. Continuously whisk the mixture until the cheese is fully melted and blended before adding more. Add more salt and pepper according to your personal preference.

Step 4
Pour the heated fondue into the hollows of the squash, ensuring a uniform distribution of around 3/4 cup in each, filling them up to a level that is about 1/4 inch below the rim of the squash. Cook the squash filled with fondue in an oven preheated to 450°F until it becomes bubbling and the top becomes brown, which should take around 12 to 15 minutes. Present promptly alongside crudités and any extra preferred accompaniments.

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