Learning to Love Le Creuset Class on Oct. 18, 2013

I know this was almost exactly a year ago, but since this class is coming up next, I thought I would refresh my memory!  The recipes for this class all turned out great.  The Almond cake is now one of my favorites!

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.

Ingredients:

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.
  1. 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.
  1. 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.

STEP BY STEP: Almost No-Knead Bread

  1. MIX: Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients with a spatula.
  2. REST: Leave the dough to rest for eight to 18 hours.
  3. KNEAD: Knead the dough 10 to 15 times and shape it into a ball.
  4. LET RISE: Allow the dough to rise for two hours in a parchment paper-lined skillet.
  5. BAKE: Place the dough in a preheated Dutch oven and bake it until it’s deep brown.

 

STEP BY STEP: Bread Sling

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.

 

Souffleed Cheese and Potato Omelettes

Omelettes take very little effort when made on this foolproof nonstick surface. This recipe becomes more substantial with the addition of sliced cooked potatoes, but the overall result is still as light as a souffle.

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • 2 medium-size new potatoes, cooked and thinly sliced
  • 2 extra-large eggs, separated
  • 1/4 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 3 tablespoons hard cheese (Monterey Jack or Cheddar), finely grated
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Directions:

Heat the butter in the pan over a medium setting until slightly foaming. Add shallots and saute until they begin to soften and lightly brown. Make a layer of potatoes in the pan and continue cooking, shaking the pan gently from time to time, until they are hot.  Preheat a broiler on high.

Beat together the egg yolks, herbs, cheese and some salt and pepper. In a separate bowl beat the egg whites until they are stiff.

Fold about one quarter of the whites into the yolk mixture. When this is incorporated fold in the remaining whites. Pour this mixture into the pan and quickly spread it over the potatoes. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes, until the bottom is set and lightly browned. The top will still be wet and runny.

Slide the pan under the hot broiler and cook until the top puffs up and is pale golden brown. Using a spatula, and keeping the omelette the same side up, slide it onto a warmed plate. Serve immediately.

 

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.

Beet Soup with Beet Green Pesto

Bring together the flavors and beauty of autumn by serving this sweet and earthy beet soup in our striking Pumpkin Cocotte. Top off this silky-smooth soup with pesto made from the beet greens.

Recipe provided by love & olive oil

Ingredients:

Soup

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 fennel bulb, trimmed, cored and chopped, fronds reserved
  • 1/2 large onion, chopped
  • 1 medium carrot, peeled and chopped
  • 2 medium beets, trimmed, peeled and diced, greens reserved
  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken stock
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Pesto

  • Greens from 2 medium beets, large veins removed
  • 1 tablespoon fennel fronds
  • 1/4 cup roasted and unsalted shelled pistachios
  • 2 tablespoons packed fresh parsley
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Preparation:

Heat oil over medium heat until shimmery. Add fennel, onion and carrot. Cook 3 to 4 minutes or until softened. Add beets and cook 4 more minutes, or until onion begins to brown.

Add chicken stock and bring to a gentle boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer 20 minutes or until beets are tender.

Transfer to a blender or food processor and blend until smooth, working in batches if necessary. Transfer blended soup back to the cocotte and return to medium heat. Finish with cream, lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste.

To prepare pesto, in the food processor pulse beet greens, fennel fronds, pistachios, parsley and lemon juice until coarsley chopped. Drizzle in olive oil and blend until the desired consistency is reached. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Divide soup among serving bowls. Top with a dollop of pesto and serve warm.

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.

Ingredients:

  • 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

Directions:

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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