* Prices may differ from that shown
I know, I know - ANOTHER Le Creuset review but I love the damn things and have gathered a small collection over the years. This one was a valentines gift given to me by last year. Even better it was filled with all sorts of other stuff too but that is another story....
This is a heart shaped oven dish from Le Creuset. I have the 26cm one but they are available in other sizes and like all Le Creuset products they come in a variety of fantastic colours and a 5 year guarantee.
This quirky heart shaped delight is made from stoneware which means like the mini casserole range and bean pots, they must not be used on a hob or they will crack. However they are microwave/oven/aga/grill safe and cope well in the fridge or the freezer.
I have several Le Creuset pieces in the "cassis" colour because I love purple but this one that was gifted to me is in "cerise" which is a deep and glossy blood red colour. There are several colours in this range including pink, all featuring the lovely graduated "dip dye" style glazing that the company are known for. The glaze is very shiny and evenly fired on this and over a year of use it has shown no signs of crazing or cracking.
As with all Le Creuset products, these are very well made and beautiful to look at. Both the lid and base are each made from one whole piece of clay meaning there is added stability around parts likely to sustain heavy use (the handles and knob on the lid). As with all Le Creuset products, their name is embossed around the lid area but this is unobtrusive.
The surface of this pot is enamel which is a very chip resistant substance that does not hold odours or stain easily. I have found these easy to clean even though I do not use a scourer on them, a good soak in hot soapy water is enough to get cooked on gunk off with minimal elbow grease.
This is an oven dish so primarily this would be used in the stove or microwave. Being ceramic, it is not safe for use on any kind of hob. The dish is a decent size for a small family and I mainly use mine for veggie lasagnes and pasta dishes. They are strong enough to cope under a hot grill so browning food off is no problem. The lid and thickness of the ceramic and enamel keeps food warm for a good amount of time, and of course this can be taken from the oven straight to the table. This is eye-catching, functional and fun.
I have also used mine to serve soup from (for a small group) and like with the little pair of bean pots, I use home-made fat croutons and grated cheese on top of the soup and melt it all under the grill. Also as with the dinky bean pots, I place this on an oven tray as the handles can be a bit fiddly when hot.
This shiny heart shaped oven dish holds 2.4 litres so it is not quite as impractical as the smaller and equally cute oven range that Le Creuset offer. This pot measures 8.6cm in depth and 30 cm at the widest point. The pot is chunky, sturdy and heavy and will come to you in a well packed box with care instructions.
I particularly like the unglazed base (same as the other ovenware range) which helps avoid slippage on a shiny surface and gives the product a slightly more rustic feel. Although heavy (and even more so when full of food) the pot is not too much for me to handle or carry about the kitchen. I love the styling, looks and performance of this and everyone who has seen it in use has smiled....got to be a good thing.
* Available in a range of bright and unusual colours
* Care and use booklet included
* 5 Year guarantee
* Fridge and freezer safe
* Non scratch enamel glaze
* Do not absorb odours/ stain
* Oven/ aga/ microwave use NOT a hob
* Easy to clean
* Strong and durable
Amazon currently have this at £35 including free postage for the 26cm sized dish. These are also available in classical cast iron which mean that they are slightly more versatile (can be used on a hob etc), but expect to pay through the nose for this.
This is a beautiful and well crafted oven dish in a great fun shape. It is slightly frivolous as there are much cheaper dishes out there but I am a bit besotted by the Le Creuset range and would love to get more. So 5 stars from me despite the somewhat frivolous nature of the product.
Summary: A quirky oven dish.
When I was a child, my mum had a set of Le Creuset pans - big heavy cast iron pans with wooden handles, I loved the chunky feel of them when cooking.
My mum however developed Tenosinovitis, a problem with her wrists and could no longer hold the pans - they went to the carboot, to be replaced by lightweigh stainless steel pans. But I always vowed that one day, when I had my own house, I would own some Le Creuset cookware ,and thanks to my last Dooyoo cash in, I was able to treat myself to this lovely heart shaped casserole dish, which cost me £79.99.
I'm pretty sure some of you are spitting your tea all over your keyboard at this moment - no doubt that seems an awful lot of money for a casserole dish when you can get a perfectly good pyrex one for a fiver. But, you can't put a price on love !
The dish, as you can see, is an attractive heart shaped dish with a matching lid, and two little wing handles, one on either side . It is made of cast iron, with an enamal lining . The dish is very heavy, weighing in at 3.2kg, so is certainly not suitable for those who are unable to carry heavier weights , especially as it is of course heavier when filled .
This dish is a little beauty - not only can I use it in the oven to make casseroles and stews, but it is also perfectly suited for using on my hob . My hob is electric, but don't worry - it can be used on gas hobs, agas, ceramic hobs, and induction hobs too . It can also be used under the grill .
Because of the plastic handle, it can't be used in the oven above 190 degrees celsius. This isn't really a problem, as most casseroles and stews require a longer cook at a lower heat. It is also worth bearing in mind that the casserole dish retains heat very well, which keeps food hot in the oven even after the oven has been turned off for quite some time . Do remember to use oven gloves when taking the lid off too - this dish will not cool down as quickly as glassware will. I would also recommend using a trivet if carrying this dish out to table to serve food, as it is very heavy and will mark surfaces . And lets face it, a pretty dish like this demands to be used as a serving dish.
Naturally, the enamal coating is not non stick, so if using this dish on the hob for frying etc, you will need to use oil . When cleaning, you shuld treat this in the same way you would a non-stick pan however, and avoid harsh scrubbing brushed that might scratch the enamal lining. I should also point out that electric hand mixers and beaters should not be used in this dish as they may also damage the lining, and that wooden, silicone, and plastic tools are recommended by the manufacturer as metal utensils can again cause damage to the lining .
This is fully dishwasher proof apparently, although I don't own a dishwasher so can't comment on how well they wash using this method - I do however find that after a good soak even the most stubborn stains come off easily leaving the pan good as new .
I love this dish. It claims to serve 2-3 people, but I would actually say you could get a reasonable stew and dumplings for four done in this dish with no problems . Yes, it is heavy to carry, especially when full, which may well put some people off, but I find something comforting in the solidity of this cookware. I think the dish itself is attractive, perfect for taking from oven to table, and very smart and classy - much nicer than any of my other cookware . This has been in and out of the oven numerous times, sometimes for hours, as well as being used ont the hob on an almost daily basis (there is some sibling rivalry between this and my other pans) and has not a scratch or scorch mark in sight .
I really like the fact that this works on all kinds of hobs and ovens - I plan on changing my electric cooker for a gas one in a few months, and it is good to know I will not need to replace this item as I will have to do with some other pans.
The best bit of all for me though, is that should I somehow manage to break this item (lord knows how, it seems to be indestructable) then it is guaranteed . Not just for a few months or a few years, but for MY lifetime . Thats right- they offer a real lifetime guarantee - for as long as I live, they will replace this dish if something goes wrong with it!
I love this dish loads . I love the whole Le Creuset range in general - in fact, I'm currently saving up for my next pan!
1.9L / The heart shaped casserole ideal for Valentines, Mother's or Father's Day.