Thursday, August 16, 2012

Female Appendages aka Ladyfingers

An Italian dessert that is craved at many restaurants is Tiramisu. While it is an easy to make at home dessert also, it is not always an easy task to find the needed components of mascarpone and ladyfingers. Now when I posted my recipe for Tiramisu, I also posted instructions on creating a faux mascarpone; that's for when you cannot possibly find the authentic cheese at your local market.

Ladyfingers, on the other hand and no pun intended, are a whole other story. These crisp cookies, or sometimes called biscuits, are similiar in form to Pepperidge Farm Milano cookies. They are made from a sponge cake batter, but more flour is added to make the batter firm enough to hold its shape aftering being piped onto cookie sheets for baking.

The recipe for Ladyfingers that I'll be posting for you comes directly from one of the best sources of baking know-how, "The Joy of Baking".

Joy of Baking Tested Recipe for Ladyfingers


1/2 cup (65 grams) cake flour, sifted
3 large egg yolks, room temperature
2 tablespoons (25 grams) granulated white sugar, divided
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
3 large egg whites, room temperature
1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
3 tablespoons (36 grams) granulated white sugar
Powdered (icing or confectioners) sugar for dusting the tops of the cookies


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (177 degrees C) and line two baking sheets with parchment paper. To make the piping of the cookies easier, use a pencil and ruler to divide the parchment paper into three - 3 inch (7.5 cm) rows, with about 1 inch (2.54 cm) between rows. Have ready a large pastry bag fitted with a 1/2 inch (1.25 cm) round tip.

In your electric mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the egg yolks and 2 tablespoons (25 grams) white sugar on high speed for about 5 minutes or until the mixture becomes thick and pale yellow. (When you raise the beaters the batter should fall back into the bowl in a slow ribbon.) Beat in the vanilla extract. Sift the cake flour over the batter but do not fold in.

In a clean bowl, with the whisk attachment, whip the egg whites until foamy. Add the cream of tartar and continue to beat until soft peaks form. Gradually add the 3 tablespoons (36 grams) white sugar and whip until stiff peaks form and the whites are glossy. Fold the whites into the egg yolk and flour mixture in three additions, mixing only until incorporated.
Transfer the batter to the pastry bag and, holding the bag at about a 45 degree angle to the baking sheet, pipe the batter into 3 inch (7.5 cm) long ladyfingers, using the lines drawn on the parchment paper as your guide. Pipe the batter leaving about a 1 inch (2.54 cm) space between the cookies.

When you have piped all the cookies, place the powdered sugar in a wire strainer, and lightly sift the sugar over the tops of the cookies. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until the ladyfingers are firm but barely browned and are still spongy when pressed with a finger.

Remove the baking sheets from the oven and slide the parchment paper from the baking sheets onto a wire rack. Let the ladyfingers cool for a few minutes and release them from the parchment paper, with a flat spatula, while they are still warm. If you left them completely cool before removing them from the parchment they stick and hard to remove without breaking. Finish cooling the ladyfingers on the wire rack before using or storing. If you are not using the ladyfingers right away, freeze them. Ladyfingers stale very quickly unless they are soaked in a liquid. To store, place in a plastic bag between layers of wax or parchment paper and freeze up to 2 weeks.

Makes about 4 1/2 dozen 3 inch (7.5 cm) Ladyfingers.

Have fun making these cookies and especially making Tiramisu.

Mary Cokenour

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