The recipes for chocolate, lemon, and coffee-caramel pots de crème call for the custards to be baked in 6-ounce ramekins, but if your ramekins are like any of the dozens we have in the test kitchen, none of them are permanently imprinted with their capacities. When we started measuring our ramekins (by filling them with water and then pouring the water into a measuring cup), we discovered that none were exactly 6 ounces. So to choose a ramekin for the pots de crème, we decided that any ramekin that held 6 ounces of water with about 1/4 to 1/2 inch of space left over qualified as a-6-ounce ramekin. We used china markers to note the capacities on the bottoms of the ramekins so we-wouldn’t have to measure them next time.
If you don’t have any ramekins that are close enough to 6 ounces, you can still bake the custards in vessels of other sizes; Those neat-looking custard cups you found at a tag sale, ramekins that are slightly smaller, even coffee cups or teacups will all work, provided they’re oven or microwave safe.
If you end up using cups that are smaller than the 6-ounce ramekins we used in our test kitchen, you will, of course, end up with more than eight servings (not a bad-thing at all). More important, the custards may not take as long to cook, so start checking early for doneness. Also, the thinner the walls of the cup, the shorter the cooking time.
There are sets of small covered pots used expressly for pots de crème. You’ll often find them in antique stores and from specialty china purveyors (check the Web). These traditional pots de crème pots have a smaller capacity, and new ones can be pricey, but they make a fun presentation