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 They were originally made of ceramics but have also been made of glass or porcelain, commonly in a round shape with an angled exterior ridged surface.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.


Saturday, October 16, 2010

Oven Master

Oven Master
24k gold stamped to base
“Oven to Table Oven Master Australia”
Square straight sided with rounded corners. Pink exterior with white interior, transfer print to base of various game birds. Unglazed rims with 24k gold trim on exterior. Hole to base of handle shows ramekins were mass produced.
Tureen is oval with similar markings, but no interior transfers. Measures 29cm from handle to handle, 22cm wide, 8.5cm high without lid and approx. 16cm high from the top of knob on the lid. In good condition with no marks or chips.
Production Date
Length (with handle)
A nice Russian lady at the Camberwell Sunday Market.

Well-made factory produced high quality ceramics and glazing. Gold (originally would have had a sticker which said 24k gold guaranteed) trim denotes a high cost product. No information available on “Oven Master”. Any information would be appreciated. Currently, there is a New Zealand Company called “Ovenmaster”, making a variety of LPG cookers and BBQs. They manufacture, import and distribute appliances and accessories for boats, motorhomes, caravans and remote homes. If they are the OvenMaster, then maybe, many years ago they had someone local to make these items on their behalf. 

That someone was probably Nilsen Porcelain Australia, then operating near Bendigo in Victoria.  Nilsen made a whole variety of porcelain in pre-war Australia, (see my post on Servex).  These pre-war ramekins are decorated with a form of transfer that would have been unthinkable after the second world war.  Whoever made them at Nilsen then probably moved on to Diana because this colour and glaze reappears in some of their earlier work.  Similar clay, glaze and gold trim can be seen on the rare Diana marked teapot that turns up from time to time. This gold trim is reminiscent of the Austrian Augarten Porcelain. 

What may be confusing is the use of English game bird transfer prints to the outside of the tureen and the inside base of the ramekins. This pottery is unlike most Dianaware of the time, but it is Diana. The Technique when Gold is applied to the edge of decoration is called "Lining". The Gold used is normally 14K, 18K or 22K. The liquid gold decoration is normally fired at approximately 750o – 850oc. Lining is always done by hand. During the second world war (1941) Eric Lowe, a Sydney potter got Government contracts to produce ceramic wares for the armed forces. 

After the war, he changed production to domestic pottery and throughout the 1950s, Diana was the largest and most prolific pottery in New South Wales, producing hundreds of different products and designs. In the mid 1960s, they (Diana Pottery (Vic) Pty Ltd) had a shop in Melbourne at 343 Little Collins Street. I think it fair to say that you would have had a piece of Diana pottery in yours or your parents home at some stage, probably a mixing bowl or vase. 

The pottery was located at 122-126 Marrickville Road, Marrickville, Sydney and it continued until the mid 1960s, when cheap copies caused a decline in sales. Check out the Diana website for lots more examples of their output. Also, a potter at Bendigo Pottery told me that the conveyor that moves the pottery around the Bendigo Pottery today is said to have come from the old Diana Pottery after it closed in 1974. Marks include hand signed "Diana Australia", impressed "Diana" enclosed in a circle , "Diana Australia" with an imprint of the "Huntress", and stickers "Diana Made in Australia".

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