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 They were originally made of ceramics but have also been made of glass or porcelain, commonly in a round shape with an angled exterior ridged surface.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


Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Primrose Pottery Shop

An important link in the chain of the ramekin story in Melbourne Victoria is that of the Primrose Pottery Shop. It was in business from 1929 through to the mid 1970s. Not to be confused with Primrose, a middle period pattern introduced by Roseville Pottery in 1936, the Primrose Pottery Shop was started at 374 Little Collins Street Melbourne by Edith and Betty Mc Millan in 1929. It is a misnomer to only call it a pottery shop as it also exhibited a range of pottery, ceramics, domestic wares, textile and other artistic works.
It was a centre for artists in Melbourne for a long time. Phyllis Dunn (1915-1999 who helped found the Warrandyte Potters Cottage, once said “The first pottery that I had ever seen was in the Primrose Pottery Shop; it was [Allan] Lowe's, and I would press my nose to the window.” Other people were textile artists John Rodrigues, Michael O'Connell and Ailsa Graham, artist Elizabeth Durack and Stacha Halpern. Stacha was also a potter but moved back to Europe in the early 1960s.
The Primrose Pottery Shop was originally upstairs on the fifth floor above the well-known cafe "The Wattle", at 374 Little Collins Street before moving into the ground floor of a building on the corner of Little Collins and Howie Place, (365-367 Little Collins St) behind what was formerly James McEwan and Sons (McEwans) hardware on Little Collins Street. Edith MacMillan also commissioned items to display for sale in her shop. Some of them were domestic wares the potteries produced for her. She could afford to carry their stock where other stores relied on higher turnover. Being supportive of these crafts people, quality was not a primary concern.
As mentioned above, a number of well-known art potters sold their works through the shop. They also provided an outlet for some of the many struggling post-war European migrant potters. Often it was only Primrose, and surprisingly, the upmarket “Georges” store in Melbourne, that sold their output. Sometimes the larger “Myer” store would also sell them, but usually required a higher volume for their stores. It was a familiar sight to see these couples and their sample cases doing the rounds of the many department stores that then existed throughout the city. That is why it is rare to find any of these makers advertised anywhere.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Frank Rock

Frank Rock
Frank Rock
Signature F Rock intaglio painted to centre of base.
Ramekin bowl with body the shape of a Flounder. Heavy earthenware with harlequin glaze to bowl interior and light brushed pale brown colour on exterior under a clear glaze.
Good, slight chipping to interior of rim.
Production Date
Early 1950s
Length (with handle)
Adelaide Antique Market

Born in Java around 1889, a Dutch possession at the time, Franciscus Theodorus Hendrikus (Frank) Rock was in his early 50s when he came to Australia  during the upheaval of the second world war.  He later became a naturalised British Subject.  Ford tells us that Rock was a retired Dutch ceramic engineer who set up a studio in Balmoral, Sydney in 1950 and continued working there until the late 1950s, making a small range of slipcast functional ware, using brilliant glazes and foliage decoration reminiscent of Javanese art.  Frank lived and worked in Stancliff Flats at 6 Wyargine Street Mosman.  He moved there in 1943 and was actually a Mechanical Engineer.  His home backed onto the beach at Edwards Bay and are now a block of flats overlooking Balmoral Beach on the shore of Sydney Harbour.  An early example of what are now called Home Units, the property originally belonged to retired Doctor Mary Rocke, I don’t know if she was a relative.  The original “Frank Rock” moulds for these fish ramekins were still at the Easton Pottery in Willoughby, Sydney, when Jan Gluck began renting it in 1958. Frank lived in Balmoral. Henrietta Easton had stopped working at 495 Willoughby Road in Willoughby in 1956. Jan produced ramekins with almost identical glazing to Frank, except his had a hole in the tail.  Fish-shaped ramekins must have been one of his most popular lines, given how many are still around. These are 3 cm high, 19.5 cm long and 14 cm wide. Frank Rock died in Mosman in 1959 aged 70 years. 
This comment is partially copied from Australian Pottery Blogs.

Friday, March 11, 2011


There have been a couple of people on the net who have been inspired by my blog to cook using their ramekins. This is great to hear because that is what they were made for. To help you along, I have trawled the newspaper archives in Australia to bring you a selection of recipes for ramekins from early to late 20th century. Please try them, there is something for everyone. There are breakfast ideas, even something for the vegetarians. Fish and meat are represented as are deserts, known at the time in Australia as “Sweets.” There is even a recipe for those old singles favourites, fish fingers.