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Author Topic:   History, care and uses for ramekins with silver liners

Posts: 2
Registered: Oct 2006

iconnumber posted 10-29-2006 09:12 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for airkarat     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I've been holding onto a copy of a food magazine since 2002 that has on its cover a picture of mocha pots de creme in vintage ramekins with pierced silver holders.

Well, just days before my birthday, I found the same set at my local dealer, no monograms, in the original box with porcelain ramekins from France! The manufacturer is Birks (similar to Gorham ramekin holders that I've seen on EBay). So I bought them (!), they are still at the dealer until my kitchen renos are done, and I have to fight with myself not to go there and polish them.

As a first poster I will answer: Why? Well I'm all excited and I want to actually use them. I'm having difficulty finding information online about the history, table setting placement, etc.

More importantly, how do I use them? Is it safe to put these ramekin dishes in the oven? I'm assuming the silver holders stay out of the oven! Is it safe to torch the sugar tops of a creme brulee?

Any other uses, either original or modern that you've seen? Should I be looking for ramekin forks to go with them?

Any suggestions are appreciated... funny how happy this makes me!


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Posts: 204
Registered: Oct 2004

iconnumber posted 10-29-2006 02:11 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Kayvee     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Welcome to the Forums and congratulations on your find.

Let me reassure you that you’re not crazy to be dreaming about serving in your new ramekins – the beauty of the silver has unleashed your creative spirit. Just go with your imagination and you’ll use them to serve all your favorite recipes. Today there are no hard and fast rules about what silver to use when serving specific dishes.

I don’t know if the porcelain liners are oven-proof. The silver holders themselves should never go in the oven. If the liners are oven-proof, in addition to crème brulée, you could use them for individual soufflés, sweet or savory custards, shirred eggs, individual pot pies, Yorkshire pudding, scalloped potatoes, macaroni & cheese, etc. If the ramekins are not oven-proof, you could use them to individually portion desserts such as mousse, frozen desserts, fruit cup, or side dishes such as mixed vegetables, potatoes, applesauce, dipping sauces. For a tasting menu they could be used for small portions of creamed seafood, beef burgundy or any saucy dish. They would be great for appetizer-sized portions. Grouped together on the buffet table, they could be used for condiments, salsa or relishes. If you don’t have ramekin forks, any small fork,teaspoon or demitasse spoon will work just fine.


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iconnumber posted 10-29-2006 02:36 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Dale     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
For oven use, take one frame to your local cooking store, upscale if possible, and try to find modern ones that fit. This usually can be found, with a resonable fit. If this doesn't work, go to a pottery school and ask them to make up some for you. Which is surprisingly inexpensive. Then for baked things by all means use the modern, replaceable ones. All sorts of recipies exist for small casseroles. Spinach souffle is a great choice. As is shrimp scampi.

Look for things that can be cooked and then put into the little dishes.

Use the old ones for cool dishes, like layered salads and veggie mixes. Sometimes old porcelaine has a metallic element in its decoration that does not work with modern ovens. DO NOT PUT THE OLD ONES IN A MICROWAVE.

For eating, a number of people I have met used infant feeding spoons. These have a long handle and small bowl, which makes the very rich food seem like a bigger quantity.

Good luck with finding ways to use these wonderful finds.

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Posts: 2
Registered: Oct 2006

iconnumber posted 10-30-2006 10:02 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for airkarat     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks so much.. I had thought about trying to find matching ramekins for oven use, but never thought of having them made.

Great suggestions... its a good thing the Holidays are just around the corner.

Does anyone know the history? The dealer claims my set is from 1911. Were they used earlier, in Victorian times, or before, or was it an early-20th century thing?

Thanks again for sharing my enthusiasm!

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Posts: 204
Registered: Oct 2004

iconnumber posted 10-30-2006 02:36 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Kayvee     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
You say the silver ramekin holders are by Birks, and that the dealer dates them to 1911. Is there a date mark on them? To my knowledge Birks began to date its silver using the London key only in 1926. In any case, I believe that the ramekin holder first came into use in the 19th C. I have seen 18th C examples of silver cup or glass holders, but not ramekin holders. Maybe other members will have seen early ramekin holders.

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