I am so excited for this month. I have been planning for MONTHS gathering books, supplies and of course recipes. For what you may ask? FONDUE!!!! This whole month I will be talking about the ins and outs of fondue because guys…..there is a lot. Wow was I amazed on how much I found. So this week I will be talking about two very different cheese fondues. Next week, seeing as it is the week of love, I will talk about chocolate fondue. The third week will be fondue bourguignonne otherwise known as beef fondue. Then the last week I will share a few of the recipes that this craze brought forth because, as we know, us Americans sometimes can’t leave well enough alone when it comes to food.
Today I will be talking about cheese fondue but not that ooey. gooey and cheesy deliciousness that most of us think about when we hear the word fondue. If you were to look into a cookbook before the 1950s (though this recipe can be found in cookbooks after), one would find an entirely different meal. This recipe refers to an old french recipe called fondue au fromage. According to the Larousse Gastronomique, Brillat-Savarin, who was a french politician and all round foodie, wrote in his book Physiologie du Goût about this dish calling it “a dish of scrambled eggs with cheese”. Others have referred to it as a simplified soufflé.
This dish is a simply made with cheese, eggs, milk, soft bread crumbs, a little butter and salt. It is the bread crumbs that act as a stabilizer that makes this a little less finicky then a traditional soufflé.
I used the recipe from the Betty Furness Westinghouse Cookbook which I talked about here but I actually found this recipe almost exactly in a 1931 General Electric cookbook called The Silent Hostess Treasure Book give or take a few differences on the directions. It was featured in many other of my early 20th century cookbooks, just with different proportions on the basic ingredients. The Betty Crocker’s Picture Cookbook was the only one to offer a slightly different take on the recipe where bread cubes are sauteed in some butter, placed in a casserole dish with cheese and an egg mixture poured over it then bake creating more of a strata.
A delicious recipe for simplified soufflé that is also called cheese fondue from the <em>Betty Furness Westinghouse Cookbook</em>.
- 1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
- 1 cup soft bread crumbs (see notes)
- 1 cup milk
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 eggs, separated
- Preheat the oven to 350 degree.
- In a small bowl beat together the egg yolks and set aside. Then with a hand or stand mixer, beat the egg whites until stiffly beaten and set aside.
- In a saucepan over low heat, stir together the cheese, bread crumbs, milk, butter and salt until the cheese is melted. This step will take a bit so be patient.
- Remove cheese mixture from the heat and add the egg yolk stirring until it is thoroughly blended.
- Fold in the egg whites until combined
- Pour into a 1 1/2 quart casserole and bake for 30 to 35 minutes.
- Serve immediately.
Notes: Making soft bread crumbs is super easy. Just throw about three of slices of bread into a food processor and pulse a couple of times. Voila! You now have soft bread crumbs. Just measure out what you need and save the rest for later.
Betty Crocker’s Picture Cook Book. USA: Macmillan: 1950.
Furness, Betty and Kiene, Julia. The Betty Furness Westinghouse Cook Book. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1954.
General Electric. The Silent Hotess Treasure Book. Ohio: General Electric, 1931
Montagne, Prosper. Larousse Gastronomique. New York: Crown Publishers, Inc., 1961.