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 They were originally made of ceramics but have also been made of glass or porcelain, commonly in a round shape with an angled exterior ridged surface.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, July 30, 2015


Ernestine Virden Cannon
Painted “Ernestine Salerno Italy” to base
Glazed earthenware
Octagonal plate with four small ramekins glazed in Red Selenium gloss glaze with green glaze to footrings. 
Very Good
No number
Production Date
Width at rim
Width at Base
Length (with handle)
Waverley Antiques
24th July 2015
Rameking Reference Number
ERN 001-005

This tasting set was made by a small company called “Ceramiche Ernestine” begun by, Matteo D’Agostino, (1905-1968) an architect and tile maker who came from a family of ceramic makers and later his America Designer wife Ernestine Virden Cannon (1904-1969).  She made ceramics as a response to the poverty in Italy caused by the Second-World-War.  Matteo had been producing tiles during the Second-World-War. 

Ernestine travelled to Salerno in the mid 1940s where she met Matteo at her home in Ravello, a town on the Amafi coast.  They operated as a joint partnership from 1946/7 until 1969.  They produced tableware and successfully exported to America through Fisher, Bruce and Co, Market St Philadelphia, importers of china, earthenware and glassware.  Ernestine eventually produced around 100 different designs.

They began making pottery in the style of Vietri Ceramics, from another town on the Amalfi coast.  Shortly after they started, an adventurous, and fortuitous decision in 1950 was to employ German Chemical Engineer Horst Simonis (1923-2002) who developed new pigments, glazes and clays for the company, including this one, “Red Selenium”.    Horst’s influence on the company cannot be overstated. 

They also worked with legendary Architect, Industrial Designer, Furniture Designer, Artist and Publisher; Gio Ponti (1891-1979).  Their output was always low volume and is now collectable for those in the know.  In 1951 she was awarded the Neiman Marcus Fashion Award because her “creative designs” had “brought new life to the ceramics industry of Italy.”

The collaboration of Matteo’s shapes and Ernestine’s designs, coupled with Horsts' technical expertise produced a product the style and finish of which is known as mid-century modern and most tasters produced elsewhere since are of a similar design. The pottery became a centre for research and development of colours and glazes. 

One of their contributions was to remove asbestos from pottery.  Asbestos was mixed with clay as an adhesive and its long fibres allowed for large vessels with thin walls that made them lighter and more heat resistant without compromising durability.  Their tableware was all hand-painted.  One consideration for makers of the day was the proliferation of dishwashers in American kitchens.

Their pottery was popular with Europe’s rich and famous, among them the Belgian Royal family, Jaquiline Kennedy and many actors and artists.  The company ceased production in 1968 due to the death of both Matteo and Ernestine.  Many galleries and museums now have some of their work on display.

No comments:

Post a Comment