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“That’s some kick-ass customer service, and Le Creuset just earned themselves a customer for life.”

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Click the link and go read the whole thing!  It’s a great little article, and I have to say, it makes me want to go get that French/Dutch oven I’ve lusted after for so long!  Open-mouthed smile

 

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Le Creuset – Product Information: 9 QT. Round French Oven

from DF with love 🙂

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Traditional Lamb Cake Recipe from Griswold Vintage Mold Insert

Now that Easter is not really so far off as we would imagine, if you remember lamb cakes from your childhood or are fortunate to have someone or a bakery make one now, you are very fortunate but you can easily learn to prepare one  yourself.  All you will need is a lamb cake mold  of your choice – new or used or antique.One famous mold is the Griswold 866 (no longer manufactured).  Ebay is a good source for the vintage Griswold mold manufactured by an Erie, PA company that is now defunct.  There is one for sale today for $149 or best offer and another at auction starting at $55.  You need to shop around.  Go to this page to learn more about the Griswold  molds and to know the ones from their line that are best.

NOTE:  You do not have to use the Griswold mold or any other cast iron mold.  Heavy aluminum is OK and good success is being experienced by people using the  lighter aluminum molds.  That gives you a range of prices and sources for molds.

Here are photos of my Griswold mold that I bought on eBay a few years ago, still in its original box.

The mold comes in two parts. The two parts are NOT attached

The back piece below has vent holes (see the one in the head).

There was an insert that came with this mold that had the recipe for the lamb cake.  These inserts, (like the one below) are sold on eBay but the internet has several sources for just the recipe.

Here is the classic recipe that came with the mold in an insert like the one pictured above in the purple frame.  This is from a wonderful site found here. It includes the recipe for the icing.  I can confirm as a former librarian that the text at this site and in my insert are identical.

The key to a successful lamb cake is a carefully seasoned mold.

Cast-iron baking molds must be seasoned before being used for the first time, and re-seasoned as necessary. This helps seal the pores of the metal to prevent sticking. Here is a larger picture of a well-seasoned cast-iron lamb mold.

  1. To season a brand-new cast-iron mold or pan, heat oven to 300 degrees. Thoroughly wash the cast-iron in hot, soapy water. Rinse and dry thoroughly. Apply a liberal coat of solid vegetable shortening to every nook and cranny. Place on a baking sheet, open side up, and heat 1 hour. Cool, pour off any remaining shortening, and wipe clean with a paper towel. DO NOT WASH!
  2. Before pouring in batter, using a pastry brush, apply solid vegetable shortening to every crevice and then flour. Tap out any excess flour. The mold is now ready to be filled. After unmolding the finished product, don’t wash, just wipe the interior with a paper towel and the exterior with a damp cloth.
  3. On subsequent uses of the mold, even though it has been seasoned, before pouring in the batter, the mold must re-greased and heated for 20 minutes at 375 degrees. Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees and pour off any accumulated shortening, cool, and re-grease and flour before pouring in the batter. See the instructions for Easter Lamb Cake recipe.
  4. To reseason a mold or pan that is starting to stick, repeat step 1.
  5. To reseason a rusty, old cast-iron mold, heat the oven to 275 degrees. Clean the pan very well, making sure to scrub off any dried/baked on food. Dry it thoroughly and coat liberally with solid vegetable shortening. Bake the pan in the oven for at least 15 minutes. Take the pan out of the oven and pour out the excess shortening. Then put the pan back in the oven for at least 2 more hours. Repeat this process at least twice, more if the pan was really rusty.
  6. DON’T DO THIS:
    • Don’t stack cast-iron molds or pans on top of each other. They will get scratched and lose their stick-free properties.
    • To avoid condensation and, therefore, rust, don’t store cast-iron molds or pans with their lids on.

Even if you never make or eat one of these cakes, the history of holiday baking molds is fascinating.

Cast Iron Cookware Care

I guess this isn’t really a recipe, per se, at least not for something you can eat.  But it is a recipe for caring for your cast iron.

Cast iron can seem a little intimidating to someone who’s unfamiliar with it.  It seems so “high maintenance!”  It’s really not though.  🙂  Grandma knew that, and her grandma did too.  Odds are good that if she went west in a wagon, she used cast iron to cook for her family along the way.  Campers use it still today because it’s easy maintenance and durable as all get out.  

Assuming you’ve gone through the curing process, or purchased an already cured pan, here’s what you do to clean it after use.

Rinse off as much of the cooking residue as you can using the hottest water your faucet spews, and a plastic scrub brush.  I have one that’s good for use on Teflon pans.  Never use scouring pads, brushes, or powders on cast iron as that will scratch it and cause rusting.  Don’t use soap either, as that ruins the curing that you’ve put on it.  It’s the curing that creates the non-stick quality that well cared for cast iron has.

Now that you’ve gotten all the gunk off the skillet, put it back on the burner, med-high heat.  This is how cast iron dries.  You can’t leave it with wet spots or it will rust.  While it’s on the heat, pour in about 1-2 tablespoons of oil, either vegetable or canola – something plain.  Now, into the heating oil, pour in an equal amount of table salt.  Yep, plain old salt.  Grab a wad of paper towels, I usually just need 2, and I make a sort of ball and scrub the oil/salt mix all over the pan, and it picks up all the leftover bits of debris from your cooking.  The salt also acts as a disinfectant, so now you have no worries about not using soap.  See how easy that was? 

You need oil so it doesn’t dissolve the salt, like water would.

By the time I’ve gotten all the inside stuff scrubbed, I can take the skillet to the sink, flip it over, and use the rest of my “ball” to scrub the bottom and sides, just to keep the cure nice.  Then, rinse all the salt off under the hottest water you can, put back on the burner for 3-4 min, or until all the water drops are gone. 

Check out how nice it looks!  Easy-peasy!

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from DF with love 🙂