This is a new and soon to be recurring segment here on Kitchenboy.net, where we will look at kitchen products from a different perspective. People walk into a kitchen shop and many times won’t buy a product because they think it is only useful for one thing. In the back of their mind they are thinking about the rule, no single use tools. The trouble is that we pigeon hole products based on their main or primary function. I don’t like a kitchen full of limited use products either, but we need to be creative in our use of the things we have on hand. Take Ramekins for example; most think they are used only for Creme Brulee or small souffles.
Recently, I wanted to make a blueberry and peach crumble but the recipe called for baking the dessert in an 8×11 pan. Since I cook for only my wife and I at home, I wasn’t sure I wanted to eat the same dessert for several nights in a row. The thought came to me that I could break up the fruit filling into individual ramekins, making several single serving portions. The individual portions could be easily wrapped and stored in the freezer for a quick dessert later.
This idea worked very well. I cut the peaches into smaller pieces than the recipe stated so they would fit better with the blueberries in the ramekins. I filled the ramekins, divided the crumble topping among the portions and baked them for around half the time indicated in the recipe.
They turned out great. Plus, the great colors of Emile Henry ramekins make for nice table presentation and would also make good individual portions for a dinner party. This is one of those instances where what we make at home is exactly how a restaurant kitchen would execute this type of dessert.
Other Ramekin Uses
Ramekins can also be used in the following ways:
– to shape rice for serving on a plate. Simply butter or oil the ramekin, press the rice firmly in and invert it onto a plate for cool visual presentation. You could also put the rice in the oven to brown a crust on the outsides.
– to make individual savory dishes, like chicken pot pies. Cut the vegetables and meat into smaller dice, prepare as normal and top with pie crust or dumpling dough.
– to cook individual potato gratins. Given the ramekin size, each layer would be one potato slice.
– to make fruit pies as with the crumble I adapted.
– to prepare hot dips and spreads for appetizers or buffet service.
– poach eggs. Apply butter or oil to the inside of each ramekin, crack an egg inside and cook in water bath (Bain Marie) or microwave. If you do this in the microwave, cover the ramekins and cook in short bursts of time, like 20 seconds. If they cook too long, eggs will pop and splatter.
– appetizer portions of French style onion soup.
As you can see, ramekins are very versatile with many creative uses. You just need to carefully manage the size of diced food and adjust the cooking time.
In the photo above, you will notice a Silpat silicone mat under the ramekins. Silpat are known as replacements for parchment paper in baking cookies, biscuits and scones. I also use them as a drip guard because nothing that drips, oozes or burns will stick to the silicone bake mat.
I have used them under Focaccia bread and a bacon covered meatloaf. They also come in handy on the counter-top as non-stick pastry mats and a non-skid pad.
While these two items can be expensive, their versatility and long life will make you glad you purchased them.
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