meanwhile, make the caramel
Arrange six 4-ounce ramekins in a large baking dish. In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar and the 1/4 cup of water and bring to a simmer. Cook over moderate heat, washing down the side of the pan with a wet pastry brush, until a light amber caramel forms, 15 minutes. Carefully stir in the remaining 3 tablespoons of water and simmer until the caramel is dissolved. Pour the caramel into the ramekins, swirling to coat the bottoms evenly. Let the caramel cool for 15 minutes.