|Creator||15th century official cuisine of the Duchy of Savoy (may pre-date in vernacular cuisine)|
|Main ingredients||Sponge cake (egg whites, egg yolks, sugar, flour), powdered sugar|
Ladyfingers (often called savoiardi and in British English sponge fingers) are low density, dry, egg-based and sweet sponge biscuits roughly shaped like a large finger. They are a principal ingredient in many dessert recipes, such as trifles, charlottes, as fruit or chocolate gateau linings and for some types of tiramisu instead of similar sponge cake layers. 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.
Ladyfingers originated in the late 15th century at the court of Catherine of Medici at the Duchy of Savoy, invented by the use of officially created to mark the occasion of a visit by the King of France as biscuits à la cuillère (cooked twice cakes (biscuits) with the spoon) their French name. Two spoons are traditionally used to bisect the mix from the centre to avoid spoiling the texture and resulting in their shape and original name.
Later they were given a global alternative name Savoiardi and their status reinforced 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.
They have gained many regional names:
- In Argentina: vainillas
- In Australia: "Sponge fingers"
- In Austria: Biskotte ("cookie, twice baked")
- In Bosnia/Croatia/Serbia: piškote/i
- In Brazil: bolacha/biscoito champagne ("champagne biscuits")
- In Bulgaria: Bishkoti
- In Catalonia: Melindro
- In Chile: Galletas de champaña ("champagne biscuits")
- In the Czech Republic: Dlouhé piškoty ("long sponge biscuits") or Cukrářské piškoty ("Konditor's biscuits")
- In France: Biscuits à la cuillère ("spoon cookies/biscuits")
- In Germany: Löffelbiskuite ("spoon cookies/biscuits")
- In Hungary: babapiskóta ("baby sponge cake")
- In Indonesia: Kue lidah kucing ("cat's tongue cookies")
- In Iran: latifeh
- In Italy: Savoiardi ("from Savoy")
- In Mexico: Soletas
- In the Netherlands: lange vingers ("long fingers")
- In the Philippines: broas
- 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 Turkey: kedi dili ("cat's tongue")
- In the United Kingdom: "sponge-fingers", "boudoir biscuits", "baby biscuits", or "boudoir fingers"
- In the United States: "ladyfingers"
- In Uruguay: plantillas
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.
Before baking, powdered sugar is usually sifted over the top to give a soft crust. The finished ladyfingers are usually layered into a dessert such as several forms of archetypal tiramisu or trifle.