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Homemade Ladyfinger Cookies (for Tiramisu)

Ladyfinger cookies just sound so…out there. Like something about which Violet, Dowager Countess at Downton Abbey, would toss out a little bon mot, reminding kitchen maid Daisy about the importance of delicately handling a situation whilst simultaneously praising the “pudding”. In other words,  ladyfingers don’t sound like something you and I are going to be making anytime soon.

ladyfingers finished

Except, we are. And it’s really quite easy. We’ll show that Dowager Countess who’s boss.

(And, yes, I might be a little too obsessed with Downton Abbey. Partly because Dame Maggie Smith is full of awesome).

ladyfingers finished closeup

I didn’t really intend to make my own ladyfingers, but I called a few different grocery stores to see if they had them for my tiramisu (recipe to follow), and they didn’t, so I had to review my other options. You can use pound cake or angel food cake, but those have a very different texture. You can also use madeleines, which I wish I’d remembered at the time but I didn’t, so here we are. I was pleasantly surprised at how easy making my own ladyfingers was. 

Preheat oven to 400 F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper (I used tin foil but still had serious sticking problems). If you’re using a pastry bag, fit a large pastry bag with a plain 1/2 inch round tube. I used a gallon ziploc bag (because I’m lazy and hate cleaning out my pastry bag) and just snipped the corner and it worked just fine. Don’t be scared, this is going to be painless…

ladyfingers eggs separated

Start by separating the egg whites and egg yolks. It is SUPER IMPORTANT (yes, yell-y caps) that you don’t get even the tiniest thought of a whisper of egg yolk in the egg whites, or the egg whites will never, ever set up when you whip them. How do I know this? Well, let’s just say that a lot of eggs were killed in the making of this recipe…

ladyfingers egg whites whipped

So with your egg whites free of yolk taint, whip those babies with an electric mixer (either stand or hand-held) until soft peaks start to form. Then slowly add 2 tablespoons of the sugar and continue to beat until they’re stiff and glossy.

ladyfingers egg whites whipped2

Gently transfer them to another bowl and set aside.

ladyfingers egg yolks & sugar

Next, add the yolks to the mixer bowl and stir in remaining sugar. Whip on at least medium until they’re thick and very pale in color. In a separate bowl (if you’re not as lazy as me), sift the flour and baking powder together in a separate bowl.

ladyfingers combining batter

ladyfingers combining batter2

Again, gently, fold half of the egg whites into the egg yolk mixture. Fold in the flour and baking powder mixture, and then fold in the remaining egg whites.

ladyfingers batter pastry bag

Transfer the whole mixture over to your pastry bag or ziploc and pipe them out onto the prepared baking sheet. Again, I can’t stress enough how much better parchment paper works for this.

ladyfingers batter ready to bake

ladyfingers batter ready to bake closeup

Bake for about 8 minutes, until they’re golden. But be careful and watch them really carefully, because they go from golden to overdone very quickly!

ladyfingers finished2

Let cool and then peel off the parchment paper. From here, you can eat them, put them in a trifle, or use them in tiramisu (which was my end game, and recipe to follow).

Homemade Ladyfingers

  • 4 large egg whites
  • 2/3 cup of sugar
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 1 scant cup of all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder

Preheat oven to 400 F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper (I used tin foil but still had sticking problems). If using a pastry bag, fit a large pastry bag with a plain 1/2 inch round tube. I used a gallon ziploc bag and just snipped the corner and it worked just fine.

Place the egg whites in the bowl of an electric mixer and whip until soft peaks start to form. Slowly add 2 tablespoons of the sugar and continue to beat until stiff and glossy. Transfer to another bowl.

Add the yolks to the mixer bowl and stir in remaining sugar. Whip until thick and very pale in color and remove the bowl from the stand. Sift the flour and baking powder together in a separate bowl.

Fold half the egg whites into the egg yolk mixture. Fold in the flour, and then fold in the remaining egg whites. Transfer the whole mixture to the pastry bag or ziploc and pipe out onto your prepared baking sheet. Bake for 8 minutes, until golden (be careful, they go from golden to overdone very quickly!).

Original recipe here

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  1. […] In a small bowl or flat dish, pour hot, strong coffee (or espresso) and some liquor, preferably flavored. I use kahlua most often, but you could use whatever you want (Grand Marnier, amaretto, etc.). Add a tiny bit more sugar as well. Get your ladyfingers ready. Ladyfingers are the hardest part of this recipe to locate, so if you can’t (and you can’t find a good substitute like madeleines), you can quite easily make your own—I did. Recipe here. […]

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