All throughout Italy the cities are stirring with the infectious energy that comes with the Christmas season. Italy’s Christmas traditions date back centuries, and everyone can feel the energy as distinctly as children see and feel the spirit of Babbo Natale. In Italy the season officially starts on December 8th, the Feast of the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, which is an official “bank day”. Each little town’s decorations include something varied and particular to that town and it is nothing short of enchanting. And in homes, kitchen ovens are spilling out goodies daily. Our kitchen is no different and here are a few of our favorites that we’ve been working on.
“In Spoleto blue twinkling lights decorate the trees while shop windows sparkle with glitter”
SAVOIARDI HAND MADE
(Savoiardi Fatti con Mane)
Savoardi, also know as Lady Fingers are classic Italian sponge biscuits, used as the basis for many desserts but especially enjoyable with a hot cup of coffee or a small glass of Vin Santo.
2 EGGS – separated
¼ CUP SUGAR – plus a little extra
1 CUP + 2 TBS FLOUR
½ TSP BAKING POWDER
1 TBS CORNSTARCH
Preheat your oven to 350º and line a 10 X 14-inch pan with parchment paper.
Combine the egg yolks and sugar in a bowl and with an electric mixer beat on medium speed for about 12-15 minutes.
In a clean bowl, with clean beaters, beat the egg whites until they hold stiff peaks and then gently fold them into the egg yolks.
In a small bowl, sift together all the flour, baking powder and cornstarch. Fold the mixture a little at a time into the egg mixture until all completely combined.
Spoon the batter into a pastry bag fitted with a large round tip and form 1 ½-inch long logs on the baking sheet, spacing them so that they do not stick together as they spread while baking. Sprinkle with a little additional sugar and bake for 10 – 12 minutes (checking after 8) until they are golden. Let the cookies cool completely before serving or storing or using to make a dessert.
Note: These cookies can be used for many desserts and especially for Tira mi -su! If just serving as a dessert cookie, sprinkle with powdered sugar after completely cooled.