Learning to Love Le Creuset Class 2012 w/ Bek & Maggie

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.

Almost No-Knead Bread Recipe #2

Formula and Process created by Jim Lahey, owner of Sullivan St Bakery


3 cups (430g) flour
1½ cups (345g or 12oz) water
¼ teaspoon (1g) yeast
1¼ teaspoon (8g) salt
olive oil (for coating)
extra flour, wheat bran, or cornmeal (for dusting)


Two medium mixing bowls
6 to 8 quart pot with lid (Pyrex glass, Le Creuset cast iron, or ceramic)
Wooden Spoon or spatula (optional)
Plastic wrap
Two or three cotton dish towels (not terrycloth)


Mix all of the dry ingredients in a medium bowl. Add water and incorporate by hand or with a wooden spoon or spatula for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Lightly coat the inside of a second medium bowl with olive oil and place the dough in the bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the dough rest 12 hours at room temperature (approx. 65-72°F).

Remove the dough from the bowl and fold once or twice. Let the dough rest 15 minutes in the bowl or on the work surface. Next, shape the dough into ball. Generously coat a cotton towel with flour, wheat bran, or cornmeal; place the dough seam side down on the towel and dust with flour. Cover the dough with a cotton towel and let rise 1-2 hours at room temperature, until more than doubled in size.

Preheat oven to 450-500°F. Place the pot in the oven at least 30 minutes prior to baking to preheat. Once the dough has more than doubled in volume, remove the pot from the oven and place the dough in the pot seam side up. Cover with the lid and bake 30 minutes Then remove the lid and bake 15-30 minutes uncovered, until the loaf is nicely browned.


Mushroom Risotto with Caramelized Onions

Recipe adapted from http://www.thekitchn.com
serves 4 to 6

1/2 ounce dried shiitake or porcini mushrooms, finely chopped
2 cups boiling water
1/3 cup olive oil, divided
4 yellow onions (about 2 pounds)
4 cloves garlic, finely minced
1/2 pound cremini mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
1 large sprig fresh rosemary
1 cup Arborio or short-grain white rice
1/2 cup dry white wine, such as Sauvignon Blanc (make sure it’s vegan!)
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 cups vegetable broth (see how to make your own)
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to garnish

Heat the oven to 300°F. Rinse the dried mushrooms lightly, to remove any dust or grit. Place the mushrooms in a ceramic bowl and pour the boiling water over them. Set them aside to steep while you cook the onions.

Chop one of the onions into a fine dice. Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a 3-quart (or larger) ovenproof pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 8 minutes, or until soft and golden. Push the onions to the side of the pot, and turn the heat up to medium-high. Add all the sliced cremini mushrooms and let them cook for 5 minutes without stirring. Flip the mushrooms and cook for another five minutes, or until they are quite brown and a crust is developing on the bottom of the pan.

Drain the dried mushrooms, reserving the liquid. Add the mushrooms and rosemary sprig to the pan and sauté briefly, mixing with the onion and the rest of the mushrooms. Add the rice and cook, stirring once or twice, for about 4 minutes, or until the rice begins to turn transparent.

Turn the heat to high and add the white wine, vinegar, broth, and reserved mushroom steeping liquid. Stir and scrape the bottom of the pan as you add the liquid to deglaze any yummy mushroomy bits sticking to the pan. Stir in the salt and pepper.

Bring to a boil. Cover the pan with a tight-fitting lid and put it in the oven to bake for 35 minutes.

While the rice is baking, make the caramelized onions. Heat the remaining olive oil in a cast iron skillet. Cut the remaining three onions in half, and then slice them into thin half moons. Add them to the oil and sprinkle liberally with salt. Cook on low heat, stirring occasionally, until the onions turn a dark mahogany brown. Let them go as long as you can; I usually cook mine for at least 30 minutes.

When the risotto has finished baking, let it stand uncovered for 5 minutes before serving. Dish it up and top each bowl with a spoonful of caramelized onions, a little extra pepper, and, if desired, a scoop of sour cream, whipped mascarpone, or whipped Tofutti Better Than Cream Cheese.


Dutch Baby Pancake

3T Butter

3 Lg Eggs

¾ Cup whole milk

½ Cup Flour

¼ t salt

½ t vanilla

¼ cup sugar

1T lemon juice

-Melt 2T butter in Le Creuset Braiser Pan.  Set aside.

– In 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 ¼ in circles, about 4 cups)

3 T c green onions or chives

½ 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!

Classic Cheese Souffle

Souffles are delightful, and no cook should shy away from making them. The Heritage 18 oz. cocotte produces a great portion size – for two to share or as an indulgence for one. Making several smaller souffles is less tricky than one big one, and takes less time to bake, as well.

This recipe makes 2 souffles, but you can divide them to make 4. Have all ingredients pre-measured and at the ready.


  • 3 to 4 tablespoons grated Parmesan, preferably imported Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more at room temperature for the cocottes
  • 1 cup whole milk, heated briefly in the microwave
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon (a pinch) ground cayenne pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon (a pinch) freshly ground nutmeg
  • A large pinch of kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon snipped chives
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 5 large egg whites
  • 4 ounces coarsley grated cheese (Gruyere or Emmenthaler are classic choices, but a good yellow cheddar is fine)


Position a rack in the lower third of the oven, and preheat it to 400 F.

Coat the sides and bottom of 2 cocottes with the softened butter. Next, coat the sides and bottom with the Parmesan, tilting the dish to cover.

In a 2- or 3-quart saucepan melt the butter until it just begins to foam. Add the flour and whisk until the mixture begins to foam and is light golden, about 3 minutes. It should not brown.

Remove the pan from the heat and let rest for 1 minute. Very slowly pour in the warm milk, whisking until the mixture is smooth.

Return the pan to the heat and, whisking all the while, let the souffle base cook until very thick. This will take 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and whisk in the cayenne, nutmeg and salt.

Add the egg yolks one at a time, whisking after each addition. Transfer the souffle base to a large bowl and let cool to room temperature. (The base may be made ahead and stored, covered, at room temperature for 1 to 2 hours.)

Beat egg whites in an electric mixer until firm peaks form, but the whites retain a bit of moisture. With a rubber spatula, fold 1/4 of the whites into the room-temperature souffle base, mixing well until the color lightens. Fold in 1/3 of the cheese. With a light touch and a folding motion, add the remaining whites in 2 batches, gradually adding the remaining cheese.

Divide the batter between the 2 cocottes. Use your clean finger to make a slight round depression just inside the rim of each dish. Place in the oven and immediately lower the temperature to 375 F. Bake until they are golden and puffy on top, about 20 minutes. Check through the oven window, and do not open the door until then. Depending on your oven, you may have to add a few minutes if the center is still runny, or rotate the dishes for even browning. The souffles will continue to cook out of the oven, so plan accordingly.

Serve immediately. Scoop out half of each to serve 4, or leave as is for a more substantial vegetarian entree for 2. Remember: Guests can wait for the souffle, but the souffle can’t wait.

Simple Almond Cake

Created by Antonia Allegra

Serves 6 – 8

This cake, from food writer Antonia Allegra, has stood the test of time. It’s moist and may be served plain, with a dusting of powdered sugar, or as we have it here, topped with berries. To loosen the cake from the pan, slide a thin knife around the edges. But there’s no need to unmold it. Brush the top of the slightly cooled cake with a mixture of 1 tablespoon sugar mixed with 1 tablespoon warm water. Then halve enough hulled strawberries to pave the top of the cake, pointed ends facing toward the edges of the pan. You could also use lightly sugared raspberries, peaches, blueberries or blackberries. And a dash of whipped cream flavored with a little almond extract completes the scene.


  • 7 ounces almond paste or marzipan
  • 1 stick, ½ cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 3 large eggs at room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon dark or light rum or amaretto
  • 2 drops almond extract
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder


Butter and flour 9×9 pan or equivalent. Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Using the paddle attachment on a mixer, cream together the almond paste, butter, eggs, rum and almond extract. You may also do this by hand with a strong spatula.

Combine flour and baking powder and fold into creamed mixture. Spread mixture into the prepared pan.

Bake 30 – 35 minutes, until a tester inserted into the cake’s center comes out clean, and the top of the cake is golden.

Serve as outlined above.


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