Ramekin is thought to come from a Dutch word for "toast" or the German for "little cream."




Ramequin, Ramekin dish.


(ramə kin)[RAM-ih-kihn]ræməkin


English Noun




A type of dish




French Ramequin from Low German ramken, diminutive of cream, circa 1706. middle Dutch rammeken (cheese dish) dialect variant of rom (cream), similar to old English ream and German rahm. Ancient French cookbooks refer to ramekins as being garnished fried bread.


1. A food mixture, (casserole) specifically a preparation of cheese, especially with breadcrumbs and/or eggs or unsweetened pastry baked on a mould or shell.

2. With a typical volume of 50-250 ml (2-8 oz), it is a small fireproof glass or earthenware individual dish similar in size and shape to a cup, or mould used for cooking or baking and serving sweet or savoury foods.

3. Formerly the name given to toasted cheese; now tarts filled with cream cheese.

4. A young child usually between the ages of 3 months and 11 years exhibiting a compulsion to force or "ram" their head into various objects and structures.

These days, a ramekin is generally regarded as a small single serve heatproof serving bowl used in the preparation or serving of various food dishes, designed to be put into hot ovens and to withstand high temperatures. They were originally made of ceramics but have also been made of glass or porcelain, commonly in a round shape with an angled exterior ridged surface. Ramekins have more lately been standardized to a size with a typical volume of 50-250 ml (2-8 ounce) and are now used for serving a variety of sweet and savoury foods, both entrée and desert.

They are also an attractive addition to the table for serving nuts,dips and other snacks. Because they are designed to hold a serving for just one person, they are usually sold in sets of four, six, or eight. Ramekins now are solid white, round, with a fluted texture covering the outside, and a small lip. Please bear in mind that whatever you ask for them on Internet auction sites, someone is still getting the same thing in an op shop for peanuts.

However, there are hundreds of decorative ramekins that came in a variety of shapes and sizes. They came in countless colours and finishes and many were made by our leading artists and ceramicists. My collection has ramekins with One handle only, fixed to the body at one point only. If it has no handle, it is a bowl. If it has two, it is a casserole dish. But the glory day of the Australian Studio Art ramekin is well and truly over. See some here, ask questions or leave answers.

P.S. Remember, just as real men don't eat quiche, real ramekins don't have lids or two handles. Also remember, two handles makes it a casserole dish. Also, please note If it aint got a handle, it's just a bowl.

P.P.S. To all you cretins who advertise your ramekins by associating them with "Eames" or "Eames Era". Get your hand off it, you are not kidding anyone. The Eames people have told me that they never made ramekins.

P.P.P.s To all the illiterates out there in cyberspace, just as there is no "I" in team, there is no "G" in Ramekin. I am the Rameking, they are ramekins.

If you have a set of Grandma's ramekins at the back of a kitchen cupboard, have a look through the site, maybe you will identify them. Thank-you for looking.

There are many of you out there that have knowledge of Australian pottery. Please let me know if you have anything that I can add to the notes. It is important to get the information recorded. You probably know something that nobody else does.

Please note that while your comments are most welcome, any that contain a link to another site will no longer be published.


Monday, July 20, 2009


Coles-Pettit Pottery

Pettit Pub Group

Wheel thrown ceramic ramekins with a styalized leaf pattern handles. Flat unglazed base inscribed "Pettit". Looks like they were made in the late 1930s. Plain light blue exterior glaze with plain white interior glaze. There are no chips, cracks or crazing. 

Pettit began in the early 1870s with John Cole as the Cole Pottery in White Hart Lane Walthamstow, a district of northeast London England.  Later moving to Folly Lane, Highham Hill, Walthamstow.  John’s son Edward took over in the 1880s and three of his other four  sons also worked in the pottery trade.  Eventually employing 9 men, the business had to shut down for a year because of a strike and the neighbouring pottery “Sankeys” undercutting Coles prices.  Sankey later moved to Nottingham, giving Coles a new opportunity.

The Pettits were related by Marriage to the Coles.  Mary Colley, who married John Cole, was the sister of Ann Colley, who married William Henry Pettit (son of Henry Pettit and Mary).  Both the Cole and the Pettit families lived and worked on site at the potteries in Green Lanes, Tottenham (the Tile Kilns).  Where William went after he left the Tile Kilns is unclear.  Anecdotal evidence suggests that he went to set up the Pettit Potteries in Walthamstow, but this was not immediately the case, as the 1871 census for Walthamstow shows that it was John Cole who, although no longer at the Tile Kilns and not yet at White Hart Lane, was actually at Walthamstow.

He was listed as a pottery proprietor (flower pots) and living with his family at Cambrian Cottages, Walthamstow. George Pettit, William’s son, was listed as a potter, living with his wife Julia and daughters Clara and Annie at 3 Cambrian Cottages, Walthamstow, next but one to John.  William Pettit did appear 10 years later in the 1881 census as a potter with a new wife Louisa and living in the Cambrian Cottages block at number 6.

So it was John Cole rather than William or George Pettit who started the potteries at Higham Hill, Walthamstow. However, John vacated them shortly afterwards for White Hart Lane, whereupon ownership was taken over by the Pettits. Whether or not this was always the intention, it is impossible to say.

According to a newspaper cutting in the Vestry Museum at Walthamstow, the pottery started in 1868 and closed in 1943 during World War II because it couldn't get the coal to power the kilns. Both the date and the reason are open to question, as London potteries generally ceased production earlier in the war so that the lights from the kilns would not signal positions to enemy bombers. Sales continued from stocks.

These ramekins are not very well made or glazed.  Just how they came to Australia is a mystery, although many Pettits migrated.  As I only have two of them, the standard theory applies; someone, probably an English migrant fell off the perch and their stuff found its way to the op-shop, where I found them.   There is no record of Pettit exporting their products.

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