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.