Savoiardi are a sponge-like cookie originally from the Aosta Valley of Italy in the Alps, once known as the Duchy of Savoy (whence its name is derived). This Piemontese biscotti resembles lady fingers, though they're about twice as thick. Savoiardi also figure prominently in several desserts, including puddings, charlottes and tiramisu, as they absorb liquids excellently. The French call them biscuits à la cuillère and are a common ingredient also in many French desserts.
I have a hard time finding ladyfingers, particularly here at the lake. I can never rely on the ones I occasionally find at the stores for their shelf life is limited and they often taste stale. Making them from scratch is an option as they are fairly easy to make and will last in an airtight container 2-3 weeks.
The recipe below is from The Cordon Bleu At Home and makes a delicate and perfect accompaniment to your coffee or tea. They are light (but not too fragile), crispy and slightly sweet.
By the way, I also make my own amaretti cookies for the same reason. You can get the recipe in Lindaraxa's Garden by clicking here.
Makes 24-34 ladyfingers, depending on size
Eggs, 3 separated
Granulated Sugar, 6 tbs
Cake Flour, sifted, 3/4 c
Confectioner's Sugar, 6 tbs
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, then brush 2 baking sheets with softened butter and line with parchment paper.
2. Beat the egg whites with a whisk or electric mixer until stiff peaks form.
3. Gradually beat in the granulated sugar and continue beating until stiff peaks form again; the meringue will be glossy and smooth..
4. Lightly beat the egg yolks with a fork, and fold into the meringue with a wooden spoon. Don't overfold or the batter will deflate and lose volume resulting in ladyfingers which are flat and not spongy.
5. Sift the flour over the mixture and fold in gently.
6. Pipe the ladyfingers: Fit the pastry bag with the large plain tip and fill with the ladyfinger batter.
7. Pipe strips of batter 5 in. long and 3/4 in. wide diagonally onto the baking sheets, leaving 1 to 2 in. between each strip.
8. Sprinkle half the confectioner's sugar over the ladyfingers; wait 5 minutes and sprinkle with the remaining sugar. 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.
9. Holding the parchment paper in place with your thumb, lift one side of the baking sheet and gently tap it on the work surface to remove excess confectioner's sugar.
10. Bake without opening the oven door for 10 min.
11. Then, rotate the baking sheet so the ladyfingers color evenly.
12. Cook until lightly golden, about 5 more minutes.
13. Remove the ladyfingers from the baking sheet with a metal spatula while still hot, and let cool on a rack.
Photo Credit La Tartine Gourmande