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Ladyfingers, or Savoiardi in Italian, are very tasty crisp cookies whose long oval shapes look like big fingers. They can be eaten on their own with a good cup of tea or coffee, but they are most often used in desserts such as Tiramisu or Zuppa Inglese, or custard.
You are probably thinking that buying them is much faster and easier. Well, the good thing is that the recipe is quite easy, but you need a ladyfinger baking sheet that you can buy on the internet (I bought mine on Amazon). Baking ladyfingers without it might be frustrating because your cookies won’t rise properly. Moreover, they will cook much more evenly in a ladyfinger baking sheet.
These cookies are truly Italian, but they come in several versions. It is said that they date back to the XIV century when they were first baked by a famous chef for King Amedeo of Savoy. After, they were brought to other Italian regions under Savoy control, mostly Piedmont, and Molise. Although it is a very old cookie, the recipe hasn’t changed over the years.
What are Italian ladyfingers made of?
Ladyfingers are made of very plain ingredients found in any supermarket: sugar, eggs, all-purpose flour, cornstarch, and lemon zest. These cookies provide your children with a delicious treat; adults who don’t like sweets definitely will appreciate them, too.
- 2 cups of sugar (250g)
- 4 eggs
- 2 tbsp of honey
- 2 cups of all-purpose flour (250g)
- ½ cup + 2 tbsp of cornstarch (70g)
- 1 tbsp of lemon zest from 1 large lemon
- Beat the eggs and sugar until light and very fluffy for at least 10 minutes. Use an electric mixer (KitchenAid) with a whip attachment (if you have it). When the eggs are foamy and thick enough to hold their shape when dropped from the whisk, add the honey and lemon zest.
- Sift in the flour and cornstarch. Fold gently with a flexible spatula until all the ingredients are well combined.
- Grease and flour the ladyfinger baking sheet;
- Use a pastry bag with a ½-inch round tip (size 10 if you can find it) and pipe the batter onto the baking sheet;
- Sprinkle with powdered sugar and bake immediately; otherwise, the egg mixture will lose its fluffiness;
- If you have only one ladyfinger baking sheet, you will have to bake them in several batches, so be fast, or the batter will go flat;
- Bake at 400°F (205°C) for about 10 minutes until golden and firm. They should be opaque, not shiny;
- Use them immediately in tiramisu or store them as they will lose their crispness if they sit out.
How can you store the Ladyfingers?
You can use these cookies to make more complex desserts, or you may store and enjoy them with a creamy cappuccino or a good tea. Keep them in an air-tight glass container for a week. If they get wet, they will get too soft and sticky.