* Prices may differ from that shown
I am a cookware tart, especially when it comes to anything enameled or retro looking. These little pots come in a rainbow of colours to suit every taste and have a retro look and feel. I have two of this particular size in " cassis" which is has aubergine/purple colour glaze. Le Creuset are known from their solid (and very pricey) cast iron cookware range and these little stoneware dishes with lids mirror the classic design of the bigger pots. A large one of these lidded casserole dishes in cast iron from Le Creuset will set you back <gulp> £119.
This little pot measures just 8cm diameter at the base and just under 10cm at the top. Only really suitable for dips or small individual portions, these would not very practical for a large family unless you wanted to do a lot of washing up. For a single person or couple these are great and give your food presentation a real edge. With a total capacity of just 0.25 litres, these little dishes have the standard "Le Creuset" raised name on the lid. The bottom is unglazed which makes these feel very homely and rustic.
All cast iron Le Creuset cookware can be used on an oven hob or in a stove/aga etc but being ceramic these are only suitable for oven or microwave use.
Le Creustet have a reputation for quality and this is no exception to that rule. The glaze is thickly applied and evenly fired and does not chip easily. They are dishwasher safe and can be placed in the freezer/ fridge with no issues. Despite having a lot of use mine have not experienced any cracking around the glaze which is common in most kitchen stoneware. The top and base are each made from a single lump of clay including the handles which gives stability and means that they are less likely to break. Le Creuset state that these are "stain and scratch resistant and will last a lifetime". I have never managed to keep stoneware cooking pots for more than a few years without them eventually chipping or breaking so the jury is out on that one. All Le Cruset mini casseroles come with a 5 year guarantee.
When I cook with these I place them in the oven on a tray because they are small and tricky to handle when very hot. Using a tray minimises risk of dropping and spilling. The handles are hard to grip in an oven if you are wearing oven gloves. The food stays hot in these for a good time and of course the food looks very appealing when served in one of these. I mainly use these for small side dishes when making curries, for cooking smaller portions for my 4 year old daughter and I have used these to make crumbles as well. If you are a keen chef then these would make perfect souffle dishes that look amazing.
These are not very practical if you have a lot of cooking to do but they are so damn cute that I forgive them. They are a frivolous buy rather than a practical one for me but I still recommend them.
For oven and microwave use
Enamelled scratch resistant surfaces
A large range of attractive and bright colours
Design matches the other products in the Le Creuset range
Does not absorb odours or flavours
Strong and durable
Resists staining, chipping and cracking.
Very pleasing to serve food in- attractive and retro looking
Easy to hold, sure grip handles, knobs and rims
New colours available including pink, kiwi, dijon and lilac
Booklet of use & care instructions (multilingual)
PRICE AND AVAILABILITY:
Selfridges currently have these available in all colours for £12. On Amazon they start at £9.41 + £4.59 UK delivery.
My mother had one of these whaen I was a child and I always remember hating the colour of it, it didnt effect the food taste but I always hated it when she woud bring it out of the cupboard.
Still 20 years down the line, there I was in Debenhams looking for a casserole dish and I end up buying the same thing. The Le Creuset dish is heavy, but it isn't as heavy as some of their cookwear. This is part of their stonewear range that has the distinctive orange shine. I am still not a fan of it but I do use this dish a lot, especially for stews with dumplings, casseroles etc. I have a smaller one that I use for roast potatoes etc but I like doing dumplings in this dish, because of the lid, I like to make stews etc in the morning and leave them in here simmering for a few hours, simple yet effective. It does hold the heat for a long time which is handy when displaying the food cooked in the dish itself on the table and allowing guests to dish up their own food.
Washing the dish up is simple, after a soak the dried on food, comes off easily. It is an expensive dish, I paid £35 from Debenhams but is it sturdy and well made. I have used this for going on 6 years and have had no problems with it, I dread the day I drop it and I have no doubts it would break. I would replace it with the same dish though, no question.
A too small kitchen and an income that doesn't quite match my aspirations are instrumental factors in curtailing my acquisition of too many desirable kitchenware items, coveted simply because they are 'gorgeous'. I would love all my pans and ovenware to bear the Le Creuset name but my finances won't stretch so I've contented myself with a number of key items purchased when prices have allowed. When Le Creuset released a range of items in beautiful baby pink I wanted to buy everything but settled for four of these gorgeous mini casserole dishes because they were within my price range and because they were something I didn't already have in any colour and thought I could see a use for.
These stoneware lidded pots are simply miniatures of the well known Le Creuset stove to oven dish. However, these are stoneware whereas the larger version is cast iron; this means that while the large version can be used on a stove top, these ones can not. They can be bought in all of the rainbow of colours that other Le Creuset products appear in.
They measure just nine and a half centimetres in diameter. They come in all the colour ranges that Le Creuset offer but when I saw the pretty pink ones I knew I had to have them. The glaze is virtually impossible to damage and these pots wash well and are dishwasher safe. Each component - i.e. the lid and the pot - is made from a single piece (including a little knob for on the lid of my pots, though some versions have a small black knob) so there are no joints or handle fixings that can trap dirt and grease.
I do find that because of the small size of these casseroles they are a little awkward to remove from the oven when wearing my usual oven gloves so I find I have to fold a tea towel to make a less bulky shield against the heat. I've found that although the whole pot retains heat very well, the handles seem to get hottest and care should be taken not to touch them too soon after removing the dish from the oven.
I use these pots in a variety of ways but I'd say that they are really more of a novelty for presentation rather than cooking individual servings. For the majority of meals I'd cook these 200ml pots are just too small, however they do lend themselves perfectly to things like eggs en cocotte, mini soufflés or for brulees and individual servings of fruit crumble. They are ideal for brulees and gratins because they can stand a high blast from a hot grill or a cooking torch.
I also use these dishes for the table simply because they look so good, serving dips and salsas in them mostly. I did think I'd use them more for cooking than for simply serving food but I've not come up with many dishes that justified cooking individual portions of the size you can serve up in these dishes. If you want to justify this slightly frivolous purchase, I suggest buying the recipe book that has been publihsed purely to provide ideas for how to use these mini casseroles.
Pricewise these really do vary between retailers. I bought mine from a local department store during a major promotion period so it's not worth quoting the price I paid then. Amazon are currently selling a three piece set of the petite casserole called 'Glamour' which comprises one each of pink, mauve and a dark charcoal-y purple for £29.40. A single mini casserole will cost you around £12 from Amazon but could be slightly more or less depending on the colour. Check out department store offers which may give you a fourth dish free when you buy three.
This is not the best pruchase I've ever made but I do really love my little Le Creuset petites casseroles. They're more of a novelty than a really practical piece of kitchenware and I should make more of an effort to use them in other ways so in that respect they've not been great value. However, they do get a lot of comments and girlfriends in particular always remark on them with a sight note of envy, so they do have some value in food presentation.
This was another gift we received last Christmas, along with the soup bowls in the same range. Le Creuset is a very reputable brand of cookware, and knowing how much I like baking we received a couple of these mini casserole dishes as a gift.
The RRP for one of these mini casserole dishes is £12, which is quite steep considering they are only around 10cm in diameter. Obviously they can be picked up cheaper than this if you shop round online and in sales. Debenhams store this range of goods, and they often have sale extravaganzas where you can pick them up for a fraction of the RRP. They also come in a set of three for around £29, which is better value than buying them separately.
Anyway, these dishes come with a lid, and have little handles at the side to pick up the dish. They are designed for cooking individual sized portions, which isn't something I often do to be honest, but I guess they would be ideal if you host a lot of dinner parties. The ones we have are volcanic (bright orange), but they are available in almost every colour you can think of! As they are part of the Le Creuset brand, they come with a five year guarantee, and are microwave/oven/dishwasher and freezer-safe. They are ceramic, and are scratch-proof, crack-proof, stain-proof and don't absorb smells.
The capacity of these casserole dishes is 0.20 litres, which isn't an awful lot. To be honest, they are more of a gimmick than a practical piece of cookware, as there's nothing I could cook in these which would be filling enough for one person. In our household, we have little concept of portion control, so if I'm cooking I tend to do a big pot of something and freeze the leftovers. These dishes are more for presentation purposes when serving at a party, for example they'd be good for soufflés or presenting food on a buffet, but in my opinion they're too small to even make individual pies with puff lids, which makes them quite limited in use.
The only thing I have used these dishes for so far is stewing fruit as a dessert, but even then I'd have preferred to use something bigger and then split the fruit into separate bowls. I guess these would be ideal for soufflés and things like that, but that's not something we make a lot of in our house. Looking around online, I've noticed there are cookbooks specifically designed to give recipes for these mini casserole dishes, so if you like the look of them but are not sure what to use them for, the book might be a good investment.
As with all cookware from Le Creuset, these are very easy to clean, and they retain their vibrant colour and shiny ceramic surface despite being washed in the dishwasher. They are really cute looking but just not functional enough for our kitchen. I would recommend them for people who host a lot of dinner parties, and like to make an impression with their presentation. For those who like substance over form, I'd probably buy something bigger.
(This review is also posted on Ciao under the username Gingerkitty)