It's a pretty popular culinary opinion that everyone should own a cast iron pan, but I am of the opinion that everyone should also own a mini cast iron pan. Like its classic 30cm counterpart, the mini has a myriad of delicious uses from appetisers to dessert.
Photo by Claire Lower
Here are my favourites:
- Frying pan cookies: Because you eat frying pan cookies directly from the frying pan, you don't have to worry about them holding their form, which means you can underbake them for a dessert that is warm, gooey, and a bit more refined than gnawing on raw dough. Just press your favourite cookie dough into a lightly greased pan (fill it up about halfway), then bake at 177C for 12-15 minutes, until it just begins to brown on top. Remove from the oven, let it cool for as long as you can stand (aim for five minutes), and serve with ice cream.
- Bubbling batches of cheesy dip: Sometimes you need a pan of hot, bubbling cheese, but you do not need 30cm of hot bubbling cheese. In such instances, a mini pan is the way to go. Just blend a bunch of random cheese together and broil until bubbly, a la fromage fort. It's also worth noting that a wheel of brie fits quite cozily into most mini pans, which cannot be dismissed as a mere coincidence.
- Roasted cheese plate accoutrements: Roasted grapes and roasted cherry tomatoes are fantastic, spreadable accents for an otherwise dairy-dominated meal, and a mini pan makes just the right amount. Just toss your produce with a little melted butter or oil, sprinkle on some salt and pepper, and roast it all in a 218C oven for half an hour or so, until the skins are blistered and the insides jammy and concentrated. Spread on some crusty bread and enjoy with your favourite fancy cheese.
- Toasted nuts: Need a handful or toasted nuts for a recipe? Just toss them in your little pan and dry roast on your stove until fragrant or coat them with a little oil before popping them in a 177C oven for 10 minutes or so, stirring ever so often to make sure they don't burn.
If you're not sure where to get this mini marvel of a pan, start by checking your local ops shops, or snag one online for $10, which is a pretty excellent cash-to-happiness ratio.