Monday, May 31, 2010

Making Ladyfingers or Savoiardi




So I have not posted anything in the last week or so, and I am feeling really antsy.  My lack of posting hasn't been due to low level of inspiration or time in the kitchen, but rather because I have practically been living in the kitchen in the last few days or traveling.  I am building up a backlog of photos and recipes because have just not had a spare minute to post anything!  

This weekend, I flew from San Diego back to my hometown, good old Cleveland, Ohio.  I don't know about the rest of you, but it always seems that before a trip I get extra busy trying to organize everything, finish up last minute to-do items, and preparing for travel.  This trip was much of the same, with the added work to plan for both a bridal shower and a bachelorette party; one of my dearest friends from college and my sorority big sister is getting married this summer.  Soooo exciting!  I absolutely cannot wait for the wedding, and after seeing her in her for her dress fitting this past Friday, I know she will be stunning and the wedding will be fantastic.  I also adore our bridesmaid dresses (if you are feeling girly you can check them out here-no sash, sky blue color), and all the other lovely ladies in the wedding party are so much fun and sweet-as-pie.        


We had a gorgeous, sunny Saturday afternoon bridal shower, and the mother of one of the other bridesmaids was generous enough to host it at her beautiful home in Shaker Heights.  The whole thing was just amazing; everything went along without a hitch, all 20+ attendees had a great time, and (most importantly) our beautiful bride enjoyed it the most.  I think it really could not have been more perfect, and I promise, I will post some photos soon! 



When we were organizing everything for the bridal shower and bachelorette party, each of us bridesmaids pitched in something to help.  Is it any surprise that I ended up making a lot of food? :)  When I post about the whole bridal extravaganza later this week, I will divulge the entire delicious menu (just be patient, it is well worth the wait).  For now, I want to quickly share a component of one of the dessert dishes that I made: Ladyfingers! 





(Check out this crescent moon!)

I must admit, I was a little apprehensive about trying to make these at home, but I was pleasantly surprised to find they are much more simple to make than I had anticipated.  I have used this recipe to make ladyfingers about three times now, and each time they turn out perfectly, and have a taste and texture that is incomparable to the store-bought version.    



The recipe that I used is actually from the Daring Kitchen, so all you Daring Bakers have likely used it already to make a dish earlier this year.  The recipe was shared by Aparna and Deeba for the February Daring Bakers Challenge, but they got the recipe from Le Cordon Bleu at Home.  I basically followed their recipe verbatim, so for now I will just post the link to the Daring Kitchen website at the end of this post in lieu of writing out the whole recipe, and when I have time I will re-write in my own words with any tips I have.  



On the Daring Kitchen website, Aparna and Deeba give loads of helpful suggestions for making the ladyfingers, and even extra links and recipes for a gluten-free version.  From my end, I will give a few suggestions making Savoiardi: 

-Be sure to fold everything (both egg yolks and especially flour) very delicately.  You are depending on the batter not deflating.

-For the flour, I didn't have cake flour so I used the 3/4 cup all-purpose flour and 2 tablespoons cornstarch as they suggested.  Be sure to get your flour amounts very precise, because too much flour will make the batter gummy and it will lose all volume. 

-I used a pastry bag sans tip to pipe out the batter and it worked like a charm.

-For baking, I put one rack in the middle of the oven, and the second rack on the rungs just above the first.  I put two baking sheets in at once, and rotated them after 10 minutes as the recipe suggests. 

-After baking and cooling, I kept them in an airtight container for about four days before I used them and they were still moist.     



In these photos above, you can see the difference during baking: the top photo is after 10 minutes in the oven (just when you rotate the pans), and the bottom photo is after they are finished.  They should have a smooth, golden brown top, and they should still be soft.  Go for the golden brown color to check for doneness, but I would err on the side of lighter golden brown; if you overbake them, the ladyfingers will be dry and the sides will crumble when you touch them. 

Just for a little fun, I am not going to tell you what dessert I used these ladyfingers for: I want you to guess! ;)  I thought about giving a little prize to whomever gets it right... Maybe I can organize something, but I won't make any promises just yet.  Leave me a comment with your guess, and if you are one of the lucky people that got to eat my dessert this past weekend, shhhhh, it is a secret for now so don't tell. 

Next time you plan to make something that uses ladyfingers, be a little ambitious and make your own!  I can assure you that they are easy to make, and you will definitely not be disappointed with the result.



Ladyfingers or Savoiardi 

Get the recipe from the Daring Kitchen site (about halfway down the page), or from Le Cordon Blue at Home, it is perfect just the way it is written! :)

Le Cordon Bleu at Home  

46 comments:

  1. These ladies are lookin' good! Can't wait to try them!

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  2. Oooh, these are beautiful. Was it tiramisu? I'd have a hard time layering them and waiting. I think I'd just eat them all plain :) Welcome back to posting!

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  3. They really look beautiful !
    They are the first cakes we eat when we are babies in my place. The little hand can hold one, and it melts in the toothless mouth. LOL
    I often make mines pink, so they look good in charlottes.

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  4. Great post. Wonderful photos.

    Cheers!

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  5. Oh my, these look amazing! I don't think I've ever had FRESH lady fingers. Truly impressive!

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  6. I absolutely LOVE lady fingers and who knew you could make them at home. I am going to make these! Thanks for sharing!

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  7. Beautiful, as always. I know what you used them for, but I have an unfair advantage. ;) So lemme just throw out some nonsense to make you giggle: hot dog buns?

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  8. I really loved this post. Those lady fingers look mighty good to me. I'm amazed at how uniform you were able to keep them. I'll wager they taste as good as they look. Blessings...Mary

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  9. The result is incredible, they are so perfect!

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  10. As much as I love tiramisu, I'm going to wager a guess at a Charlotte Russe cake...

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  11. These look so tasty! Can't wait to read all the posts you've backlogged.

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  12. We keep wolfing ladyfingers down all the time and I keep buying them from TJs. It would be great to try making them at home!

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  13. They look perfect! I have never made these at home before but will give it a whirl!

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  14. what a great job with the lady fingers....I can't always find the Italian style for tiramisu...now I can make them!!
    thanks for sharing...

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  15. Gorgeous! I love that with nice cup of coffee.

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  16. Oh seems like a fun trip filled with lots of fun! your savoiardi are perfect, and so much better than the store bought ones! Beautiful recipe!

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  17. Your ladyfingers look perfect and so beautiful! Wow!

    Cheers,

    Rosa

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  18. Gorgeous ladyfingers, they are just picture perfect! Can't wait to hear about the rest of the menu!

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  19. Wow, I'm impressed! Your own lady fingers! Your photos are beautiful, as usual.

    I like the simplicity of the bridesmaid dress, by the way! :-)

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  20. Gourmande: LOVE the idea of giving these to small children. They truly are a perfect size for little hands, the texture is soft for little teeth, and there is not too much sugar to make little ones wild. ;)

    Penny: how is it that I never thought of eating these with coffee??? Thanks for sharing the simple idea.

    L&A: thanks for the compliment on the dress, I am very grateful to the bride that she picked out such a good one!

    And for all guesses so far: I did not use the ladyfingers to make tiramisu, or a charlotte russe cake (although I really should!). Per Jill's hilarious suggestion I think I will try them as hotdog buns next. ;) Keep guessing!

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  21. Ok, THIS is a recipe I can really use. I have a killer tiramisu recipe and the store bought ladyfingers just don't cut it. I'm guessing that whipping up a batch of these little beauties would take dessert to a whole new level. Thanks so much for sharing!

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  22. Wow, never thought in baking lady fingers...your sure look gorgeous...professionally done :-)

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  23. I just wanted to let you know I left you an award over on my site this morning. It's been a pleasure getting to know you and read about your delicious dishes!

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  24. I sure want to try this.

    I know one uses lady fingers in trifle- could that be what you made. Well, that's my dumb guess.

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  25. Those are so pretty! Every moment in the oven looks heavenly.

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  26. I was doing well reading about the trip, shower, dresses etc then started a bout of my baking anxiety disorder :) These look lovely and maybe (just maybe) accessible to the less-skilled in the baking department.

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  27. Being a scientist, I totally understand your kitchen adventures... these savoiardi look excellent...and surely taste excellent too...

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  28. I love ladyfingers and I don't know why I don't make them more often! This is a great recipe and the photos are wonderful; hope the wedding is as much fun and glamour as you anticipate and that we find out all about it!

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  29. Julie: Thank you SO MUCH for the blog award!!! I am honored to receive it and it has been wonderful getting to know you, as well as read about your adorable family and delicious food. :)

    Andra: Don't panic. I assure you, that if you follow the recipe exactly, it will work every time! (at least it has for me, three times over now)

    101natural: yay for scientists!

    TigerBeatle: A trifle as a dumb guess?? I think not. You happen to have guessed RIGHT! :) I hope to be posting the trifle this weekend so check back then!

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  30. The Lady Fingers look beautiful, especially with the sun coming down on them like that....
    Look forward to your coming posts-try not to get too antsy. It's not worth it (smile)!

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  31. I love this post - not only are Savoiardi a blast from my childhood, they are also conveniently dairy free! Guess what I'm whipping up this weekend...thanks!

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  32. I can't believe I never thought to make my own lady fingers. I can't wait to read your shower menu though. I just threw one and did a brunch--it was easier than I thought, but the bride showing up 20 minutes early with 5 people in tow killed my plans to take pictures of the food.

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  33. These look so delicate and tasty! Your pictures are so beautiful, time and time again!

    Jessie

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  34. The lady fingers looks so good, and the dress is lovely. It seems like a lot of fun.

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  35. I made some of these myself recently, I'm trying to perefct them for a project o' mine. But they're a real labour of love. Simple, but fussy.

    (Yours look perfect.) :)

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  36. I'm just jumping back in to thank you for the birthday wishes. Hugs and blessings...Mary

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  37. looks delicious :) never tried making these yet. will def try it one day!!

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  38. It was a good challenge, earlier this year when we made homemade ladyfingers and mascarpone for tiramisu with the Daring Bakers.

    Your ladyfingers turned out beautifully and good notes that you added. So...is it tiramisu or charlotte russe? =)

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  39. This is a great post. Will try this and make my famous tiramisu to go with it..... Love the blog!

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  40. beautiful bridal shower and beautiful dessert. White chocolate is my absolute favorite even though it's looks down upon in the foodie world.

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  41. Wow. I guessed right. Who would have believed that?

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  42. I love your blog!! (I'm following now :) )You have great photos!! I've never made lady fingers before. I might give these a try.
    Would you mind checking out my blog? :D http://ajscookingsecrets.blogspot.com/

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  43. Made these yesterday and they turned out great! Thanks for easy directions. I'm a home baker, cake decirator and love to cook and your blog came up when I searched for a video.:-)

    Thanks Susan's Decorated Sweets Facebook

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