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 They were originally made of ceramics but have also been made of glass or porcelain, commonly in a round shape with an angled exterior ridged surface.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


Thursday, October 27, 2011


By definition, a Ramekin without a functional handle is just a bowl.  A handle makes contact with the body of the ramekin at one or sometimes two places on the same side of the body.  The handle of a ramekin creates its point of difference and can be unique to a studio or maker.  The bowl of a ramekin is sometimes quite plain so the handle creates an opportunity for the potter to give visual balance or distinctive design to their work. 

A handle must be comfortable to use because a ramekin is, first and foremost, a functional object.  The handle should also be strong enough to support the ramekin.  Some potters use other materials for their handles, ie wood, bamboo etc; ramekins do not.  Ramekin handles are made from the same material as the bowl.  Although a handle should be strong, it should not be seen as a method of holding the ramekin.  It is only a support for the thumb.  The ramekin should be cupped in the palm of your hand with your thumb resting over the handle.

Handles are of two main types, those moulded during the making of the bowl, flowing from the lip, or a lug (either a knob, tab, tube or a finger shape that is made separately then later attached to the bowl.  Moulded handles tend to be smaller tab types that are usually flat and relatively the same thickness as the body of the bowl.  Lug handles can be any size or shape, solid or hollow, round, tubular, flat (or strap).

Lug handles are attached to a section of scored area on the body, they are made separately and then applied to the body.  The handle is first shaped to the potter's desired form.  Before the handle dries, (and handles dry faster than the body) the ends of the handle and connecting spot on the body is scored and lightly moistened; a technique known as "scratch and slipping." The handle is pressed onto the bowl with just enough pressure to allow the potter to complete the attachment by smoothing the join.   In rare cases, a handle is fixed to the body in a hole through the side of the bowl.

The most common form is a strap handle, made from a flat section of clay, then fixed to the bowl.  Many strap handles are folded to form a loop, either horizontal (Duldig) or vertical (Wilton).  Handles can be either solid (Ellis, Elischer) or perforated (Gluck, Warrandyte Pottery) so they can be hung on a wall hook.  Some are extended down the bowl to give additional strength to the bowl at the join (Picton Hopkins).

Attached handles can be cut from a slab, rolled into a coil or pulled from a wedge of clay and are usually of a similar thickness to the body to reduce problems of shrinkage and expansion.  For this reason, mass-produced ramekin handles are usually hollow and have a small hole to the underside or outer end to balance pressure during firing, especially those that are knob ended and closed at the outer end.  Handles should be made and attached before the "Leather-Hard" stage is reached.
Pulled handles are wetter and need more drying time than strap or coil handles.   Ramekin handles need to be dried slowly. Because the handle dries faster than the body of the ramekin, even well placed handles can crack at the joint or in their arch if dried too quickly.

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