Ladyfingers

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Ladyfingers are light, fluffy desserts that are good to eat in hot weather.  My gluten-free, corn-free ones turned out to be distressingly sticky (maybe a final sugar dusting just before serving would have helped), but other than that, my friends liked them.

Ladyfingers
Adapted from Dorie Greenspan’s Baking Chez Moi

Yield: 24 ladyfingers

  • 1/4 cup gluten-free OR all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons tapioca starch OR cornstarch
  • 3 eggs, separated
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting

 

  1. Cut a piece of parchment paper the size of your baking sheet.  Working the long way, draw two lines spaced 4 inches apart.  Leave some space and draw another 4-inch-wide band.
  2. Flip paper over and line the baking sheet.
  3. Fit a pastry bag with a plain 1/2-inch tip or have a large zipper-lock bag ready.
  4. Sift flour and starch together onto a piece of parchment or wax paper.
  5. Working in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, or in a large bowl with a hand mixer, beat the whites at medium-high speed until they turn opaque, begin to thicken, and hold their shape.
  6. Very gradually beat in the sugar and, when it’s fully incorporated, increase the mixer speed to high and beat for about 2 minutes more, or until the meringue is firm but still glossy.
  7. Whisk the yolks in a small bowl just until smooth.
  8. Gently spoon about 1/4 of the meringue over the yolks and whisk to blend.
  9. Scrape the yolks into the bowl with the meringue and, using a flexible spatula, fold the mixtures together lightly.  (Don’t be too thorough; you’ll mix it more later.)
  10. Add dry ingredients to the bowl, using the paper as a funnel, and start folding for real.  Work quickly and lightly, and don’t be discouraged when the meringue deflates a little.  Just blend the batter as completely as you can.  Make sure there are no pockets of flour, but specks of egg white are fine.
  11. Fill pastry bag or zipper-lock bag with half of the batter.  If using the bag, snip off a corner to make a 1/2-inch opening.
  12. Working with a long side of the baking sheet toward you, pipe out fingers.  Start at the top line of one of the bands and pipe to the bottom, making the fingers 4 inches long and 1 inch wide.  (You can pipe the logs so close together that they almost touch; they’ll bake together and you can separate them when they cool.)
  13. Repeat with the rest of the batter.
  14. Dust the tops with confectioners’ sugar and let them rest for at least 15 minutes while you preheat the oven.
  15. Preheat oven to 400ºF.
  16. Dust ladyfingers again with confectioners’ sugar and bake for 8-10 minutes.  The ladyfingers will be a pale golden color.
  17. Lift parchment from baking sheet onto a cooling rack.  Let ladyfingers cool to room temperature.
  18. To remove the ladyfingers, run a long offset spatula under them to ease them off the parchment.  Use a long sharp knife or pizza wheel to cut into individual ladyfingers, if necessary.
  19. You can serve them plain, or accompanied by whipped cream, mousse, or jam.  You can also dust them with confectioners’ sugar one more time before serving.
  20. The ladyfingers can be stored for up to a week.  Layer them between sheets of parchment paper and keep them in a closed container in a dry place.
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