These ladyfingers are delicious and light biscuits that are made with simple ingredients. You can enjoy them on their own or use them to create more sophisticated desserts.
What are ladyfingers and where to use them?
Ladyfingers, also known as savoiardi, are light and delicate biscuits that are typically 3 ½ inches long (but the batter can also be baked in one, continuous layer). The biscuits are made with eggs, sugar, flour, and sometimes baking powder or cornstarch.
You can use ladyfingers in different desserts, especially those that require a soft and airy texture. They are often used in the classic Italian dessert tiramisu, where they are soaked in coffee syrup and layered with a creamy mascarpone cheese filling. Ladyfingers are also used as a base for many other desserts, such as trifles and Charlotte cakes, where they are layered with fruit puree, mousse, custard, and whipped cream. They also can be enjoyed with a cup of coffee or tea.
Ingredients you will need
Eggs – Use eggs at room temperature. Cold egg whites will take more time to whip to stiff peaks.
Lemon juice – You can replace it with ¼ teaspoon of cream of tartar to stabilize the meringue.
Flour – I use all-purpose flour, but you can use pastry flour with lower protein content to make this ladyfinger recipe. You can also replace ⅓ of the flour with cornstarch if you prefer crispy ladyfingers.
Salt – You can add salt in the middle of whipping the egg whites, which will provide more stability to the meringue. Or you can do as I did and add mix it with the flour.
Sugar – You can use white granulated sugar or castor sugar.
Vanilla extract – It’s an optional ingredient, but if you want to make this ladyfingers recipe to enjoy as cookies, I highly recommend adding some type of flavoring.
Be careful separating the eggs. If you break the egg yolk by mistake and contaminate the whites, you’ll need to discard the egg whites and start from the beginning. The reason is that egg whites that have even a little bit of fat inside won’t whip to stiff peaks.
Weigh the egg whites and egg yolks using a digital kitchen scale. If you want to achieve the right texture, you’ll need to be precise. In my case, I used the egg whites of 3 large eggs – but because the egg yolks were rather small, I had to crack one extra egg to get to 75g of egg yolks. If you use extra-large eggs, you might get away with using 3 eggs for both your egg whites and egg yolks.
Whip the egg whites and sugar until thick and pale. The key to making fluffy ladyfingers is to beat the egg whites and sugar until they are thick and pale in color. This will help to incorporate air into the batter and give the ladyfingers their signature texture. To make it right, you should whip the egg whites without the sugar first. When the mass becomes foamy and no liquids are left on the bottom of the bowl, start adding sugar a little bit at a time while keep whipping with your mixer.
Sift the dry ingredients before folding them into the batter. Sifting will help to remove any lumps and make it easier to fold the dry ingredients into the egg mixture.
When adding the flour to the batter, use a gentle folding motion. This will help to avoid deflating the batter and ensure that the ladyfingers are light and airy after baking. Also, do not overmix the mixture. Once you see that there are no dry ingredients left, the batter is ready. Mixing more will deflate the mixture and your ladyfingers will bake flat.
Dust with powdered sugar both before baking and before serving. Dusting your ladyfinger cookies right before baking will help with the rise while preventing them from spreading. Then, to give your freshly-baked ladyfingers a finishing touch, dust them with powdered sugar before serving. This will not only add a touch of sweetness but also make them look more visually appealing.
Step by step directions
1. Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C) and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
2. In a bowl, combine the flour and salt. Set aside.
3. In a mixing bowl, beat the egg yolks with 35g of the sugar until pale and doubled in volume.
4. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, add the egg whites and lemon juice and beat until foamy, then gradually add the rest of the sugar and keep beating on medium. When you added all sugar, switch to medium-high and beat to stiff peaks.
5. Gently fold the egg yolk mixture into the egg white mixture.
6. Sift the flour mixture over the egg mixture and fold gently until just combined.
7. Transfer the mixture to a piping bag fitted with a 1 cm round piping nozzle such as Wilton M1.
8. Pipe the mixture into 3 ½” (9cm) long fingers on one of the sheets, spacing them 1 inch apart.
9. Dust the tops with powdered sugar and bake for 10-12 minutes, or until lightly golden and firm to the touch. Remove from the oven and let cool completely on the baking sheet.
10. Pipe another batch on the second sheet, dust with powdered sugar, and bake. In total, you should get 40-50 ladyfingers, depending on how thick and long you piped them.
Cocoa powder – Add Dutch-processed, unsweetened cocoa powder to create chocolate ladyfingers.
Citruses - Add lemon or orange zest or juice to the batter to create a zesty and refreshing flavor. Orange or lemon ladyfinger cookies are great for pairing with fresh berries or using to create berry trifles.
Shredded coconut – To make coconut ladyfingers and give a tropical vibe to a very classic pastry, you can add a little bit of shredded coconut inside the batter as well as on top of the piped fingers right before baking.
How to make even-sized ladyfingers?
There are two ways to do it. First, you can buy a special baking mat for eclairs that has a pattern printed on it which will visually guide you while you’re piping the cookies. Second, you can draw two lines on your parchment paper that will signify the beginning and the end of the cookies. The standard length for ladyfingers is 3 ½ inches or approximately 9cm.
Store them in air-tight containers lined with a paper towel at room temperature for up to 4 days.
Yes, you can freeze homemade ladyfingers for up to 2 months.
Once you’ve prepared the batter, it should be piped and baked right away because it will deflate the longer you wait. If you bake your cookies in batches, pipe one batch and bake it; the rest of the batter can wait for 10 minutes inside the piping bag.
If your oven has a very even heat distribution, you can bake two trays at a time. Otherwise, you will need to bake in batches.
More recipes you may like
- Digital kitchen scale
- Stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment or hand mixer and a large mixing bowl
- Rubber spatula
- Piping bags
- Wilton 2A nozzle
- 4 large eggs separated (75g egg yolks/ 112g egg whites)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 100 g granulated sugar
- ½ teaspoon lemon juice
- 125 g all-purpose flour
- A pinch of salt
- Powdered sugar for dusting
- Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C) and line two to three baking sheets with parchment paper.
- In a bowl, combine the flour and salt. Set aside.
- In a mixing bowl, beat the egg yolks with 35g of the sugar and vanilla extract using a hand mixer until pale and doubled in volume.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment (or use a hand mixer with clean and dry beaters, plus a bowl), add the egg whites and lemon juice and beat until foamy. Then gradually add the rest of the sugar and keep beating on medium. When all sugar has been incorporated, switch to medium-high and beat to stiff peaks.
- Gently fold the egg yolk mixture into the egg white mixture using a rubber spatula.
- Sift the flour mixture over the egg mixture and fold gently with a rubber spatula until just combined.
- Transfer the mixture to a piping bag fitted with a 1 cm round piping nozzle, such as Wilton A2.
- Pipe the mixture into 3 ½” (9cm) long fingers on one of the sheets, spacing them 1 inch apart.
- Dust the tops with powdered sugar and bake for 10-12 minutes, or until lightly golden and firm to the touch. Remove from the oven and let cool completely on the baking sheet.
- Pipe another batch on the second sheet, dust with powdered sugar, and bake. In total, you should get 40-50 ladyfingers, depending on how thick and long you piped them.