Ladyfingers

IMG_3196

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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Lemon Cake with Lemon Filling

Melissacake

The cake unfortunately turned out to be on the dense side, which is why I’m categorizing it as a “failed abomination,” but it could be an excellent ice cream cake.  The lemon filling was delicious.

You can find the original recipe here:
Original recipe

We replaced the heavier, butter frosting in the original recipe with a fluffy egg white-based frosting instead, which I will write up in a separate post.  (The egg white-based frosting also allows you to use up the extra egg whites.)

Lemon Cake with Lemon Filling
Adapted from allrecipes.com

Cake:
2 cups gluten-free OR all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter
1 1/4 cups sugar
3 eggs1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup milk

Filling:
1 1/4 tablespoons lemon zest
a little over 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
1 1/4 tablespoons tapioca starch OR cornstarch
7 tablespoons butter
a little under 1 cup sugar
5 egg yolks, beaten until smooth

  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF.  Grease and flour two 9-inch round cake pans.
  2. Beat together butter and sugar, then beat in eggs and vanilla.
  3. Mix in baking powder and salt.
  4. Beat in flour alternately with milk.
  5. Pour batter in pans and bake for 30 minutes.  Allow to cool in the pans while you make the filling.
  6. For the filling, stir together lemon zest, lemon juice, and tapioca OR cornstarch in a medium saucepan.
  7. Add butter and sugar and bring mixture to a boil over medium heat.
  8. Boil filling for 1 minute while stirring.
  9. Mix egg yolks and a few spoonfuls of the lemon mixture in a small bowl.
  10. Add egg yolk mixture back into the saucepan while stirring constantly.
  11. Decrease heat to low and cook (don’t boil) the filling for 5 minutes or until it becomes thick.  If you are using tapioca starch, you will probably need to increase the time.  Stir constantly.
  12. Pour filling into a bowl and press plastic wrap onto the surface.  Allow filling to cool to room temperature.
  13. Assemble the cake.  Place one cake layer (domed side up) on a serving plate and spread with the filling.  Top with the other layer (domed side down).  Frost the cake if desired.