History of the Ladyfingers
Let’s start with a little bit of history. According to Wikipedia, Ladyfingers were created in the 15th century to mark the occasion of a visit by the King of France. Other names for these cookies include savoiardi in Italy, sponge fingers in British English and Langues de Chats in Quebec. The spongy texture of Ladyfingers makes them ideal for soaking in sugar syrup or liqueur, or in coffee or espresso as a part of tiramisu. Infants enjoy these cookies because they are soft, yet easy to grasp and firm enough not to fall apart.
Why I make my own
My history with them is simple. I wanted to enjoy Tiramisu without the alcohol and with a little bit less sugar than a traditional recipe. I find that the quantity of sugar in the store-bought dessert often overwhelms my taste buds. So I studied both desserts – the Ladyfingers, and the Tiramisu – and finally found my successful recipe! I love my Tiramisu because you can taste the Mascarpone cheese, the vanilla, the coffee, and the cocoa. And as for the ladyfingers, those are the best cookies in the world according to my kids! They loved the texture, the sweetness and mostly that they could dip the cookies into my chocolate Ganache!
- ½ cup all-purpose unbleached flour
- 5 tbsp cornstarch
- 3 eggs (separated and at room temperature)
- 7 tbsp white sugar
- 1 tbsp lemon juice (or ¼ tsp cream of tartar)
- Preheat the oven to 400° F and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Sift the flour and cornstarch together in a bowl and set aside.
- Whip the egg yolks with 3 tbsp of sugar until thick and pale. You stop whisking when you get a ribbon of the batter when the beaters are lifted.
- In a separate bowl, whip the egg whites with 1 tablespoon of lemon juice until foamy, then slowly add the remaining 4 tbsp of sugar and continue whipping until the whites hold a medium peak when the beaters are lifted.
- Fold the whites into the yolk mixtures using a whisk, then fold in the flour until just incorporated.
- Fill a piping bag fitted with a large plain tip. If you don't have a piping bag, you can use a Ziploc bag, put the mixture in and cut a small opening in one of the corners of the bag with scissors.
- Pour the mixture onto the prepared trays. Make them 4 inches long and an inch apart. They will expand a little bit during cooking.
- Bake for about 10 minutes, until the fingers are an even golden brown.
- Allow the fingers to cool completely before removing them from the trays, otherwise, they will stick or break.