Ladyfingers in transparent plastic packages
|Sponge cake (egg whites, egg yolks, sugar, flour), powdered sugar|
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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 Italy: Savoiardi (meaning "from Savoy")
- In Catalonia: Melindro
- In France: Boudoirs
- In Spain: "Bizcochos de Soletilla" ("Soletilla sponges")
- In the UK: sponge-fingers, trifle sponges or boudoir fingers
- In Portugal and Brazil: "Biscoitos de champanhe" ("champagne biscuits") or "Palitos la Reine"
- In South Africa: Boudoir biscuits
- In Persian: latifeh
- In Dutch: lange vingers ("long fingers")
- In Germany: Löffelbiskuit ("spoon cookie")
- In the Czech Republic: Cukrářské piškoty ("Konditor's biscuits")
- In Slovakia: Cukrárske piškóty ("Konditor's biscuits")
- In Slovenia: bebi piškoti ("baby cookies")
- In Bosnia/Croatia/Serbia: piškote/i
- In Turkey: kedi dili ("cat's tongue")
- In the Philippines: "broas"
- In Uruguay: plantillas
- In Argentina: vainillas
- In Chile: "Galletas de champaña" ("champagne biscuits")
- In Austria: "Biskotte" ("cookie, twice baked")
- In Romania: Pișcoturi
- In Hungary: "babapiskóta" ("baby sponge cake")
- In Indonesia : "Kue Lidah Kucing" ("cat's tongue cookies")
- In Poland: "kocie języczki" (cats' little tongues)
- In Australia: Sponge fingers
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.