|Sponge cake (egg whites, egg yolks, sugar, flour), powdered sugar|
|This article does not cite any references or sources. (December 2009)|
Ladyfingers are light and sweet sponge cakes roughly shaped like a large finger. They are a principal ingredient in many dessert recipes, such as trifles, charlottes, and tiramisu. They are typically soaked in a sugar syrup or liqueur, such as coffee for the tiramisu dessert. They are also commonly given to infants, being soft enough for teething mouths but easy to grasp and firm enough not to fall apart.
These iconic biscuits have gained many colourful regional names.
- In Argentina: vainillas
- In Australia: Sponge fingers
- In Austria: "Biskotte" ("cookie, twice baked")
- In Bosnia/Croatia/Serbia: piškote/i
- In Bulgaria: "Bishkoti"
- In Catalonia: Melindro
- In Chile: "Galletas de champaña" ("champagne biscuits")
- In Dutch: lange vingers ("long fingers")
- In France: Boudoirs
- In Germany: Löffelbiskuit ("spoon cookie")
- In Hungary: "babapiskóta" ("baby sponge cake")
- In Indonesia : "Kue Lidah Kucing" ("cat's tongue cookies")
- In Italy: Savoiardi (meaning "from Savoy")
- In Mexico: Soletas
- In Persian: latifeh
- In Poland: "kocie języczki" (cats' little tongues) or "Biszkopty"
- In Portugal and Brazil: "Biscoitos de champanhe" ("champagne biscuits") or "Palitos la Reine"
- In Romania: Pișcoturi
- In Russia: "Damskiye palchiki" (lady's fingers)
- In Slovakia: Cukrárske piškóty ("Konditor's biscuits")
- In Slovenia: bebi piškoti ("baby cookies")
- In South Africa: Boudoir biscuits
- In Spain: "Bizcochos de Soletilla" ("Soletilla sponges")
- In the Czech Republic: Cukrářské piškoty ("Konditor's biscuits")
- In the Philippines: "broas"
- In the UK: sponge-fingers, trifle sponges or boudoir fingers
- In Turkey: kedi dili ("cat's tongue")
- In Uruguay: plantillas
Ladyfingers originated in the late 15th century at the court of the Duchy of Savoy, and were created to mark the occasion of a visit by the King of France.
Later they were given the name Savoiardi and recognized as an "official" court cookie. They were particularly appreciated by the young members of the court and offered to visitors as a symbol of the local cuisine.
Like other sponge cakes, ladyfingers traditionally contain no chemical leavening agent, and rely on air incorporated into the eggs for their "sponge" texture. However, some brands are known to contain ammonium bicarbonate. The egg whites and egg yolks mixed with sugar are typically beaten separately and folded together with flour. They contain more flour than the average sponge cake. The mixture is piped through a pastry bag in short lines onto sheets, giving the cookies their notable shape.