If you've ever eaten a pillowy, homemade ladyfinger from a bakery, you know that the ones that come pre-packaged in the cookie aisle are about as similar to the fresh ones as a dishtowel is to a cashmere sweater. No idea what we're talking about? Keep reading...
Ladyfingers are commonly referred to as small sponge cakes in the elongated shape of a (rather pudgy) finger. But really, we don't think of them as sponge cakes at all. They are delicate and airy in the middle, with a flaky crust that's usually covered in powdered sugar.
A grocery store in our hometown used to hand them out to kids who came through the bakery section. Once that store stopped selling them, we went looking for a substitute. And they are very hard to find. At least good ones are. You can find them packaged in stores, but those are tough and tasteless compared to real ones.
And while good ladyfingers are perfectly heavenly snacks on their own, they're essential for making a charlotte or a tiramisu. We also have a rum mousse cake that has a fence of ladyfingers around the perimeter.
So, we searched for a recipe to make them at home and found a kindred spirit in Béatrice of the blog La Tartine Gourmande. She created a recipe out of necessity, she says, because store-bought ladyfingers are so unacceptable.
• A Necessity for Ladyfingers, at La Tartine Gourmande
The key is that the eggs are separated; you beat the whites until fluffy and fold them into the batter, which you then pipe out into elegant little fingers. The whole process actually looks pretty simple.
Who else out there loves ladyfingers? Do you have any other recipes you want to share?
Related: Kitchen Challenge: Tiramisu Tips and Help
(Image: Béatrice of La Tartine Gourmande. Used with permission.)