Snacking is a favorite pastime of many people. Watching television, playing games, reading bestseller novels, or even working in the office are not complete without some snacks on hand. However, sometimes, we would feel bored with ordinary snacks like crisps, biscuits, and chocolate candies that are commonly found in the neighborhood’s grocery stores. In these cases, do you want to taste something new? Savoiardi will be a good choice.
What is Savoiardi?
Savoiardi are more commonly known as “Ladyfingers”, a type of dry and sweet sponge biscuits that are made in the shape of big fingers. They are also called Sponge Fingers in the UK, Boudoirs in France, Löffelbiskuits in Germany, Bishkoti in Bulgaria, Vainillas in Argentina, Soletas in Mexico, Cat’s Tongue in Turkey, Kue Lidah Kucing in Indonesia, and Damskiye Palchiki in Russia.
Historically, Savoiardi are developed in the late 15th century in the Duchy of Savoy, a state in Western Europe that is situated between France and Swiss Confederation at the time. It is first created in honor of the King of France’s visit. Later, it is recognized as an official biscuit of the Duchy of Savoy court and being offered to guests from abroad as a flagship for domestic cuisines. Most people nowadays think that Savoiardi are Italian specialty, but in fact, they come from France!
As time goes on, the influence of Savoiardi spreads all over the world. Savoiardi by themselves are soft enough for baby and children. But they are not only eaten as is. Adults may prefer Savoiardi dipped in melted chocolate, coffee sauce, or decorated with sugar icing. They are firm enough to be brought everywhere for souvenir and charity events. Savoiardi also become main ingredient for some decadent chocolate cakes that will make you melt, such as Italian Tiramisu, Fruit and Chocolate Trifle, and Russian Charlotte Cake.
Savoiardi soaked in coffee sauce made from Espresso and rum (or other liqueur) are used as cake base for Tiramisu and Trifle. Otherwise, they can be lined up inside the perimeter of baking pan to make the outer layer of Charlotte Cake. Of course, you can substitute it with other types of sponge cake or even stale cakes, but the result won’t be as good as the ones made with Savoiardi.
Be it Tiramisu, Trifle, or Charlotte Cake, they are known as the symbol of romance. No romantic dinner on Valentine’s Day or Wedding Anniversary celebration is complete without any one of the aforementioned cakes on the table, baked with some light liqueur and decorated beautifully with a lot of sugar frosting at the top. In preparation for when the special occasions grace your house and in order to stockpile some snacks to watch the TV, let’s learn how to make Savoiardi.
How to Make Savoiardi?
Just like any other biscuits, making Savoiardi can be easy for some people, but also can be difficult for some other. What should be remembered is the proportion of the ingredients and the strength used when you are mixing the batter. If you reduce or increase the proportion too much, then the Savoiardi may become more fragile or on the contrary, too hard. Therefore, for the first trial, just use the exact proportion. This recipe can be used to make 30 fingers and will be done in approximately an hour.
- 65 grams of all-purpose flour
- 3 eggs, separate the white and yolk
- 100 grams of granulated sugar, divided into two
- a bit of salt
- 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
- 2 teaspoons of freshly squeezed lemon juice, divided into two
- 1 lemon, grated and zested
- 2 tablespoons of cornstarch
- Powdered sugar
- Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees C (350 degrees F). Line parchment paper over baking pan. If you don’t have any parchment paper, you can also smear the baking pan with butter, then spread some flour so the dough will not stick to it later.
- In a bowl, beat egg whites, the first part of granulated sugar, and 1 teaspoon of lemon juice strongly until the mixture shows stiff peaks.
- In another bowl, beat egg yolks with 50 grams of granulated sugar, 1 teaspoon of lemon juice, lemon zest, vanilla, and salt. Mix them well until smooth. Sift the flour and cornstarch over this mixture, then blend it well. After that, mix in the batter from the first bowl and combine them.
- Put the batter into a piping bag with a simple line piping tip at the front. Otherwise, you can just cut the corner of a plastic bag to pipe the batter onto the baking pan.
- After all the batter have been transferred onto the baking pan, spread lightly some powdered sugar on top. Then bake it until golden, or around 15 minutes.
- Take the pan from the oven. Let it cool for a few minutes, then take the Savoiardi from the pan and store it in an airtight jar or serve them warm. Savoiardi may last for a month in a jar on room temperatures, or even longer in the fridge.
Chocolate-Coffee Savoiardi Dipping Sauces
As mentioned previously, Savoiardi can be served with dipping sauces. They can be quite messy if consumed by children, so this recipe is especially for adults who think that Savoiardi will be a good choice to accompany an afternoon chat or some other activities.
- 6 ounces of chopped dark chocolate
- 2 tablespoons of Kahlua (or other coffee liqueur)
- 1/4 teaspoon instant coffee granules
- 1/4 cup of heavy cream
- Chocolate chips (optional, can be ignored)
- Strawberry, chopped into four (optional, can be ignored or exchanged for other type of fruits)
- Melt the chocolate and cream, then whisk them until smooth. Add in the Kahlua and coffee granules, mix it again until dissolved.
- Place the dipping sauces into small wine glasses, shot glasses, or mini pudding bowls. Throw in some chocolate chips and strawberries, then put 2-3 Savoiardi on each glass. Serve them quickly before the chocolate harden.
This is very easy, right!? Get your friends to make them together while chatting about some controversial Russian TV Series, debating the latest sport competitions, or gossiping rumour du jour of beautiful and talented Russian female singers. You can also use the same dipping sauces (without strawberry) to decorate the Savoiardi. Let it dry, then store them in an airtight jar. They will last for a week or so if not stored in the fridge.