Homemade ladyfingers - When all I wanted was Tiramisu
July 15th, 2010

So odd. Despite this historical heatwave consuming us all alive, all I can think of is Tiramisu? Ssshh, I hate to know what that says about my personal craving profile. It was Sunday morning and neither the luscious cherries nor strawberries chilling in our fridge had a real chance of changing my mind. Tiramisu. Ahhhh, a small sound of relief, as I finally found the big cup of mascarpone, I had bought a week ago, buried behind half a dozen semi-emptied glasses of homemade jam (major recipe testing underway…). I had farm-fresh eggs and some ladyfingers in the pantry…, so I thought. But wait, didn’t I use them all up for a trifle?

Of course, my gut feel was right. No more ladyfingers in our pantry. But I had already firmly latched onto the idea of whipping up some Tiramisu, all I needed now was a quick way out of my misery. Enough eggs were at hand, perhaps it was time to conquer the art of making ladyfingers myself. A brief online research brought me to Bea’s recipe and another one from Joy of baking – I compared, I mixed, I adapted and soon I had a recipe that went straight into my tried-and-trusted-recipes binder.

Sure, it may take a little practice to pipe neat and equally shaped ladyfingers, but you’ll get better with each piece, I promise. And the outcome has not much in common with the store-bought ones, these feel almost soft to the touch, have a little chewiness to them and a distinct egg-y flavor. These ARE MADE to be drowned in black coffee between layers and layers of thick mascarpone concoction. Oh, and concerning Tiramisu recipes, there is no argument. It is this recipe or none at all. It’s definitely far from “light”, but heck, we’re talking Tiramisu and not fruit salad.

Preheat the oven to 200°C (390 °F). Line two baking trays with parchment paper.

Divide the eggs and beat the egg yolks together with half of the sugar (45 g) until creamy and pale (~4 minutes on medium to high speed with a KitcheAid). Mix in the vanilla extract.

In a separate bowl beat the egg whites until soft peaks form, now add the remaining sugar (45 g) by the tablespoons and continue to whisk until the egg whites look glossy and form stiff peaks.

Sieve the flour into the bowl containing the creamy egg yolks and fold it in with a rubber spatula. Then carefully fold in the whipped egg whites, making sure not to over-mix the batter.

Fill the batter into a piping bag (I used a disposable one without a nozzle, just snipped of the end) and pipe the batter into ladyfinger shapes, about 10 cm/4 inches long, leaving enough space between them as they expand during baking. Generously dust with confectioners’ sugar, then bake at middle level until they just start to reach a slight golden color, 11 to 13 minutes in my oven. Remove from oven.

Carefully pull the parchment paper from the baking tray and remove the ladyfingers from the parchment paper while still warm using a thin spatula (it’s even easier, if you pull the parchment paper onto a wet tea towel – the arising steam helps to loosen and remove the ladyfingers). They keep in an airtight container (divided by parchment or waxed paper) for a couple of days, but are best consumed freshly baked.

Ladyfingers

Recipe source: a mix of different recipes

Prep time: ~20 min., baking: 11-13 min.

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Ingredients (yields ~20 ladyfingers):

3 (large) eggs, divided

90g white sugar, divided

1 tsp vanilla extract

60 g all-purpose flour

~2 tbsp confectioners' sugar

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