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So you've just cooked your creme caramels in a water bath/bain marie/double boiler with only about a quarter of the ramekin appearing above water level.

I've tried the follow methods in the past and feel there must be a more efficient, more secure or less dangerous way:

  1. tea towel/oven mitt: not enough ramekin to grab onto without dipping the towel/mitt and your hands into boiling water.
  2. Tongs: very unstable grip, ramekin can easily slip.
  3. Lifting out with an egg flip: flips bends due to weight of ramekin.
  4. Scooping water out: too much manual labor, often awkward as little room to scoop from.
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4 Answers 4

up vote 11 down vote accepted

A true bain-marie actually has a fitted rack or platform that allows water through, which you can lift out with handles. It's very convenient.

If you're just using a baking dish filled with water, I'd suggest getting yourself a mesh roasting pan with handles, like this one:

Mesh roasting pan

Then you can put all your ramekins on top and just lift out the whole rack when you're done.

If I don't have one of these on hand, I usually use a wide shallow bowl to scoop water out; you don't need to scoop it all out, just enough to firmly grip the top of the ramekins.

Some silicone oven mitts might also help; they don't get "wet" like regular oven mitts and so they'll protect your hands from the hot/boiling water just fine.

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Yet another alternative: canning tongs. These are designed to grip wet, round things. They're what we use to lift ramekins out of hot water -- as well as for canning!

canning tongs

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You could siphon the water out (fill the siphon with cold water before inserting it to the hot water, of course).

Not sure how good your tongs are—better ones may help.

Lastly, if ramekins are the right size, jar lifters (as used in home caning, with mason jars) would certainly work well.

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I will add two other suggestions for completeness, although they are not as good as the ones already mentioned.

  • Adjust the baking time so that you can let them cool gently in the bain marie, then remove them.
  • Get silicone oven mitts and plunge into the boiling water.
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