Tuesday, February 12, 2013
Ladyfingers generally are not served on their own, but are used to make more complicated desserts. The obvious is tiramisu, but they work great for trifle and stacked shortcake concoctions. You can even bake them in the bottom of muffin cups, then fill the rest after it has cooled with a filling like mousse or a no-bake cheesecake.
I got this recipe from The Cupcake Project. She fixed the one on Allrecipes, which generally received either average reviews, or good ones if you made certain changes. I also trusted her on the quantity needed for tiramisu. If that's your aim, cut this recipe in half. It makes a lot. Or, just freeze the rest and have them at a moment's notice for another dessert.
Eggs have a peculiar property, in that the whites and yolks each whip up better if they are not combined with the other. So, while it sounds stupid to whip them separately when they're just going to get folded together, it actually works better this way.
For aesthetic reasons, I would suggest sprinkling the tops with granulated sugar on their way into the oven if you are not putting them into something else. Taste-wise, they are plenty sweet.
As for the Silpat vs Parchment debate, the ones on the Silpat baked more evenly and turned out softer, but I had a very hard time getting them off without breaking them. Go for the parchment and keep an eye on them.
4 eggs, separated
2/3 C and 2 Tb sugar, divided
1 C flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1. Preheat oven to 400º and line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Fit a pastry bag with a 1/2" round tip or snip of the end of a quart ziplock bag and place in a glass to stabilize.
2. Beat egg whites to soft peaks. Add 2 Tb sugar and beat to glossy, firm peaks.
3. Beat egg yolks and other 2/3 C sugar until pale and fluffy.
4. Sift together flour and baking powder. (Yes, we're up to 3 bowls.)
5. Fold half of egg whites into egg yolks. Fold in all of flour. Fold in remaining whites. Get the pastry bag ready to go.
6. Fill pastry bag with the gooey mess. Pipe out cookies 3" long. They will spread out on their own, so leave at least 1" between and on either end. Place in oven immediately and set timer for 7 minutes while you pipe out the other one. Note how long it took you to do the second one when you put it in. If you have more dough, reload the pastry bag and set it in the glass until you're ready to go again.
7. Check first pan when the timer goes off. They should be lightly golden, with pale centers. Remove from oven. After about a minute, you can transfer the cookies to a cooling rack and pull the second pan. Reload the first (you can reuse the parchment once) and put it in while you deal with the second pan. Seven minutes later, that last pan will be done and you can cool the last of them.
Makes 4 dozen
Difficulty rating :)