The Ladyfingers are very light and crumbly biscuits, oblong, prepared with a dough in which the egg whites, mounted separately until stiff, make a remarkable lightness.
During cooking, the air bubbles expand by inflating the cookies, which thus take on the typical foamy consistency.
Makes about 24 large or 34 small ladyfingers
- 3 eggs, separated
- 6 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 3/4 cup cake flour, sifted (or 3/4 cup all purpose flour + 2 tbsp corn starch)
- 6 tablespoons confectioner’s sugar
Preheat oven to 350 F (175 C) degrees. Lightly spray 2 baking sheets with non-stick spray and line with parchment paper.
In a small bowl, beat the egg yolks lightly with a fork and fold them into the meringue, using a wooden spoon. Sift the flour over this mixture and fold gently until just mixed. It is important to fold very gently and not overdo the folding. Otherwise the batter can deflate and lose volume resulting in ladyfingers which are flat and not spongy.
Fit a pastry bag with a plain tip (or just snip the end off; you could also use a Ziploc bag) and fill with the batter. Pipe the batter into 5″ long and 3/4″ wide strips leaving about 1″ space in between the strips.
Sprinkle half the confectioner’s sugar over the ladyfingers and wait for 5 minutes. The sugar will pearl or look wet and glisten. Now sprinkle the remaining sugar. This helps to give the ladyfingers their characteristic crispness. Hold the parchment paper in place with your thumb and lift one side of the baking sheet and gently tap it on the work surface to remove excess sprinkled sugar.
Beat the egg whites using a hand held electric mixer until stiff peaks form. Gradually add granulated sugar and continue beating until the egg whites become stiff again, glossy and smooth.
Bake the ladyfingers for 10 minutes, then rotate the sheets and bake for another 2-3 minutes or so until the puff up, turn lightly golden brown and are still soft. Allow them to cool slightly on the sheets for about 5 minutes and then remove the ladyfingers from the baking sheet with a metal spatula while still hot, and cool on a rack.
Store them in an airtight container. They should keep for 2 to 3 weeks.