Friday, July 18, 2014

Homemade Ladyfingers (Sponge Biscuits)

Whenever I come across recipes calling for ladyfingers, the first that would appear in my mind is the image of an okra, the edible green plant, otherwise correctly known as lady's fingers. Haha! Then what exactly are ladyfingers? According to Wikipedia's explanation, "ladyfingers are light and sweet sponge cakes roughly shaped like a large finger". If you are familiar with making charlottes and tiramisu, I'm sure you'd know what they are. But honestly, I didn't know they are called ladyfingers except knowing them as sponge biscuits, or cakes maybe. *Oops! Many recipes mentioned using store-bought ladyfingers which I don't remember seeing at the supermarkets. After some recipe research, I realised that ladyfingers are actually made of few simple ingredients and I presume most people (especially those who bakes) would have in their pantry, and that's including me! So I have decided to give it a shot since it doesn't look quite complicated to bake. I bet you'll agree with me after you've tried it. ^_^

Homemade Ladyfingers (Sponge Biscuits)

Homemade Ladyfingers
Recipe referenced and modified from: Annie's Eats

Ingredients Required

3 large eggs, separated
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted, plus extra for sprinkling
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup all-purpose flour, sifted

Bakeware Used

Two large baking sheets lined with parchment paper

Preparation Steps
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. 
  2. Place the egg whites in a large bowl and whisk using an electric mixer until foamy. 
  3. Gradually add the sifted confectioners’ sugar, and continue whisking the egg whites until a stiff, glossy meringue forms. 
  4. In a separate bowl, combine the egg yolks and granulated sugar and beat using an electric mixer or balloon whisk until thick and pale yellow. 
  5. Using a spatula, fold the egg yolk mixture into the meringue until smooth and well combined, taking care not to deflate the egg whites. 
  6. Gently fold in the sifted flour until no streaks remain.
  7. Transfer the batter to a pastry bag fitted with a plain round tip. 
  8. Pipe the batter onto the prepared baking sheets according to the desired length and width.
  9. Sprinkle the extra confectioners’ sugar over the piped ladyfingers using a sieve. 
  10. Bake (one tray at a time) on the lower rack of the oven for about 8 to 10 minutes until light golden, rotating the baking sheet halfway through the baking. 
  11. Let the ladyfingers cool on the baking sheet for about 10 to 15 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
  12. Once completely cooled, store in an airtight container.

The Dream Baker's Experiment
  1. I used large eggs weighing approximately 60 grams each (with shell on).
  2. I baked my first tray of ladyfingers for 9 minutes while the second for 8 minutes. The baking time  varies across different oven so I suggest a baking time range although the original source recipe suggest to bake for 10 minutes. They don't take that long to bake so keep an eye on them and don't go away. 
  3. And don't be afraid to deflate them by opening the oven door midway to rotate the pan, especially if you tend to experience uneven heat with your oven. Rotating the pan gives the ladyfingers a nice and even colour. ^_^
I forgot if these two photos above were taken from the same angle before and after they were baked. But they've certainly "expanded" a bit after going through the heat.

So I piped them "thinner" and these ladyfingers turn out "slimmer" indeed. 
*Oops, I forgot to capture them before sending them into the oven.

My husband suggested that these ladyfingers taste just like "ji dan gao (鸡蛋糕)", the traditional Chinese egg sponge cake. And yes they taste very much like it since they were made of similar ingredients. This reminds me so much of the good old days while back at home, having egg sponge cakes with a cup of my favourite hot milo (a malted chocolate beverage). With these ladyfingers, I am "calling back" my favourite hot floral tea (which I have "abandoned" much since summer kicked in) for my afternoon tea in my comfy couch. What beats the wonderful invention of air-conditioner to overcome the summer heat?! *_*

I am sharing these Homemade Ladyfingers with Treat Petite July 2014 theme, Summer hosted by Kat of The Baking Explorer and Stuart of Cakeyboi because they make such delicious afternoon tea companions on a hot summer day.

And stay tuned as I will be sharing the uses of these ladyfingers in my upcoming bakes. ^_^

Dare to dream.
The Dream Baker

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