Learning to Love Le Creuset w/ Bekah, Maggie, & Deb

The teaching team of Bekah & Maggie tackled this class again and it was almost a total success. Unfortunately I (Maggie) forgot to add the half & half and sugar in the pudding due to a misprint in the cookbook. Don’t worry, I’ve fixed the error here and the pudding actually turns out great when you mix it correctly! ūüôā

Almost No-Knead Bread
Makes 1 large round loaf
An enameled cast-iron Dutch oven with a tight-fitting lid yields best results, but the recipe also works in a regular cast- iron Dutch oven or heavy stockpot. (See the related information in “Making Your Dutch Oven Safe for High-Heat Baking” for information on converting Dutch oven handles to work safely in a hot oven.) Use a mild-flavored lager, such as Budweiser (mild non-alcoholic lager also works). The bread is best eaten the day it is baked but can be wrapped in aluminum foil and stored in a cool, dry place for up to 2 days.
3  cups  unbleached all-purpose flour (15 ounces), plus additional for dusting work surface
1/4  teaspoon  instant or rapid-rise yeast 
1 1/2  teaspoons  table salt 
3/4  cup plus 2 tablespoons  water (7 ounces), at room temperature
1/4  cup plus 2 tablespoons  mild-flavored lager (3 ounces)
1  tablespoon  white vinegar

1. Whisk flour, yeast, and salt in large bowl. Add water, beer, and vinegar. Using spatula, fold mixture, scraping up dry flour from bottom of bowl until shaggy ball forms. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature for 8 to 18 hours.
2. Lay 12- by 18-inch sheet of parchment paper inside 10-inch skillet and spray with nonstick cooking spray. Transfer dough to lightly floured work surface and knead 10 to 15 times. Shape dough into ball by pulling edges into middle. Transfer dough, seam-side down, to parchment-lined skillet and spray surface of dough with nonstick cooking spray. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature until dough has doubled in size and does not readily spring back when poked with finger, about 2 hours.
3. About 30 minutes before baking, adjust oven rack to lowest position, place 6- to 8-quart heavy-bottomed Dutch oven (with lid) on rack, and heat oven to 500 degrees. Lightly flour top of dough and, using razor blade or sharp knife, make one 6-inch-long, 1/2-inch-deep slit along top of dough. Carefully remove pot from oven and remove lid. Pick up dough by lifting parchment overhang and lower into pot (let any excess parchment hang over pot edge). Cover pot and place in oven. Reduce oven temperature to 425 degrees and bake covered for 30 minutes. Remove lid and continue to bake until loaf is deep brown and instant-read thermometer inserted into center registers 210 degrees, 20 to 30 minutes longer. Carefully remove bread from pot; transfer to wire rack and cool to room temperature, about 2 hours.

¬†Transferring dough to a preheated Dutch oven to bake can be tricky. To avoid burnt fingers and help the dough hold its shape, we came up with a novel solution: Let the dough rise in a skillet (its shallow depth makes it better than a bowl) that’s been lined with greased parchment paper, then use the paper’s edges to pick up the dough and lower it into the Dutch oven. The bread remains on the parchment paper as it bakes.¬†

Baked Macaroni and Cheese
Recipe courtesy Alton Brown
Prep Time: 20 min          Cook Time: 45 min
Level: Easy
Serves: 6 to 8 servings

1/2 pound elbow macaroni
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
1 tablespoon powdered mustard
3 cups milk
1/2 cup yellow onion, finely diced
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 large egg
12 ounces sharp cheddar, shredded
1 teaspoon kosher salt and pepper to taste
3 tablespoons butter
1 cup panko bread crumbs
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In a large pot of boiling, salted water cook the pasta to al dente.
While the pasta is cooking, in a separate pot, melt the butter. Whisk in the flour and mustard and keep it moving for about five minutes. Make sure it’s free of lumps. Stir in the milk, onion, bay leaf, and paprika. Simmer for ten minutes and remove the bay leaf.
Temper in the egg. Stir in 3/4 of the cheese. Season with salt and pepper. Fold the macaroni into the mix and pour into a 2-quart casserole dish. Top with remaining cheese.
Melt the butter in a saute pan and toss the bread crumbs to coat. Top the macaroni with the bread crumbs. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and rest for five minutes before serving.
Remember to save leftovers for fried Macaroni and Cheese.
Next Day Mac and Cheese “Toast”
Recipe courtesy Alton Brown
Prep Time: 20 min                            
Cook Time: 5 min
Level: Easy
Leftover baked macaroni and cheese, refrigerated for at least overnight
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon cayenne
1 egg beaten with 2 ounces water
1 cup panko bread crumbs
Oil for deep frying, preheated to 375 degrees
Cut refrigerated macaroni and cheese into slices or bite size pieces.
Season the flour with salt, pepper and cayenne. Dredge each piece through the flour and gently tap off excess. Dip in the egg wash and then coat with the bread crumbs. Allow them to rest for 5 minutes so the crust can set. Very carefully drop into the oil and fry until golden brown. Remove to a baking sheet fitted with a rack and rest for 2 minutes before serving.
Dutch Baby Pancake
3T Butter
3 Lg Eggs
¬ĺ Cup whole milk
¬Ĺ Cup Flour
¬ľ t salt
¬Ĺ t vanilla
¬ľ cup sugar
1T lemon juice
-Melt 2T butter in Le Creuset Braiser Pan.  Set aside.
РIn blender combine: eggs, milk, flour, salt, vanilla, and sugar.  Blend until foamy, about 1 min.  Pour batter into skillet, bake until pancake is puffed and lightly browned. About 10-12 minutes @ 425 degrees.
-Quickly dot with butter, sprinkle 1T sugar and 1T lemon juice and serve immediately.
-Slice into wedges.
8 Lg eggs (beaten well)
6 med sized potatoes (peeled and sliced in thin ¬ľ in circles, about 4 cups)
3 T c green onions or chives
¬Ĺ C ham, diced (Can substitute bacon, chorizo, prosciutto or sausage or leave out meat)
1/3 C milk (2% or whole)
1/3 C onions (finely chopped)
1 C Parmesan or Asiago Cheese (freshly grated)
2 T olive oil
Salt and Pepper to taste
~Par boil potatoes by either placing them sliced in a bowl of water in the microwave for 3-4 minutes, or boil them on the stovetop.  You don’t want them too soft.
~Beat Eggs and milk together and salt and pepper well.
~Heat oil in Le Creuset Braiser Pan over medium high heat.  Turn oven onto low broil.
~Lightly sauté onions and meat together.
~Pour in potatoes and blend well with meat and onions, Turn heat down to Medium-low Cover and let stand 3-4 min.
~Stir potatoes.  Pour Egg mixture into pan.  Cover for 3 minutes.  Mixture should be almost completely set.
~Sprinkle Cheese and chives on top and broil until firmly set and nicely browned. 
~Cut into wedges and serve.  Serve with nice crunchy toast.
~Can be served hot, cold or room temp.  Great the next day!
Delicate Almond Milk Puddings (from the Le Creuset Cocottes Cookbook)
4 cups almond milk
1 pkg gelatin (or 1 tsp agar agar)
3/4 cup half & half
1/4 cup sugar
1 tbsp orange flower water
pinch of salt
zest of 1 lemon
blanched whole almonds and ground cinnamon for garnish
Soften gelatin in 1/3 cup of the almond milk. heat till boiling, stirring constantly, till the gelatin has completely dissolved (5 minutes). Add the rest of the almond milk, the half & half, and sugar and bring it again to a boil. Take it off the heat and add the orange flower water and the salt.
Let cool to room temperature. Fill 4 mini cocottes (or approx 6 ramekins). Cover and let “set” in the refrigerator for at least four hours.
Before serving, add a blanched almond, a bit of lemon zest and a pinch of cinnamon.


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