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The word is from French ramequin, originally a cheese- or meat-based dish baked in a small mold. The French word comes from early modern Flemish rammeken, which meant 'toast' or 'roasted minced meat', itself apparently from ram 'battering ram' + -kin 'diminutive', but it is unclear why.
With a typical volume of 50–250 ml (1.8–8.8 imp fl oz; 1.7–8.5 US fl oz), ramekins are commonly used for preparing and serving individual portions of a variety of dishes such as crème brûlée, French onion soup, molten chocolate cake, moin moin, cheese or egg dishes, poi, potted shrimps, ice cream, soufflé, baked cocottes, crumbles, or scallops, or used to serve side garnishes and condiments alongside an entrée.
Traditionally circular with a fluted exterior, ramekins can also be found in novelty shapes, such as flowers, hearts or stars.
Ramekins are often built to withstand high temperatures, as they are frequently used in ovens, or in the case of crème brûlée, exposed to the flame of a cooking torch.
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