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.
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
- 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.
- Flip paper over and line the baking sheet.
- Fit a pastry bag with a plain 1/2-inch tip or have a large zipper-lock bag ready.
- Sift flour and starch together onto a piece of parchment or wax paper.
- 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.
- 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.
- Whisk the yolks in a small bowl just until smooth.
- Gently spoon about 1/4 of the meringue over the yolks and whisk to blend.
- 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.)
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.)
- Repeat with the rest of the batter.
- Dust the tops with confectioners’ sugar and let them rest for at least 15 minutes while you preheat the oven.
- Preheat oven to 400ºF.
- Dust ladyfingers again with confectioners’ sugar and bake for 8-10 minutes. The ladyfingers will be a pale golden color.
- Lift parchment from baking sheet onto a cooling rack. Let ladyfingers cool to room temperature.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.