Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Welcome to my Boudoir,

Wrap Your Lips around my Lady Fingers...

Fred didn't believe me when the other day I told him I could make some Boudoir biscuits, known in other parts as Ladyfingers. Well, make some I did and he was thoroughly impressed by their authentic taste, not too far removed from those you buy in a packet, but better of couse! I am sharing the recipe, adapted from Le Cordon Bleu at Home, because there is a very strong chance that I might be referencing these basic instructions in a future recipe or two that you might be interested in.

photograph picture DESCRIBE PICTURE HERE

3 eggs
6 tablespoons caster or baker's sugar
6 tablespoons powdered or icing sugar
3/4 cup all purpose flour
6 more tablespoons (or thereabouts) of caster/bakers sugar.

- Preheat the oven to 350F
- separate all three eggs
- in a small bowl, beat the eggs yolks together with a for or small hand whisk.
- With an electric whisk, Kitchenaid or food processor, whip the eggs until they are stiff and firm peaks form.
- Gradually beat in, still using your whisk attachment, the first 12 tablespoons of sugar. The mixture will become smooth and glossy.
- Gently fold the egg yolks into the egg white mixture
- Next, sift the flour into the mix, and further fold until all the ingredients are fully blended together. Be gentle, the idea here is to retain all of the fluffy volume you have created!
- Fit a large piping bag with a large, plain pastry tube and fill the bag with the boudoir mixture.
-Pipe 5" fingers onto a couple of baking sheets that have either been lined with parchment and butter, or a silpat, allowing an inch of space between each one.
- Sprinkle the boudoirs with half of the remaining 6 tablespoons of caster/baker's sugar. Let them rest for five minutes, and then re-sprinkle with the remaining sugar.
- Bake for the first ten minutes without ever opening the oven door, then rotate them 180% and allow to bake for a further 5 minutes until golden.
- Transfer to a wire rack to cool down completely.
- Boudoir biscuits dry out pretty fast. Keep them in an air-tight container if you prefer them softer and don't intend to use them straight away.

*Note: My recipe is much sweeter than the original which calls for only half the amount of sugar in the first stage of the recipe.

PS - When I was growing up, my mum always kept a container of Boudoir Biscuits, hidden away in a cupboard, ready for making Sherry Trifle. I was secretly fond of them in their raw state. (Actually, I was fond of them in their sherry-soaked state too, but that's another story.) I didn't care that she purposely filled the official 'Biscuit Tin' with boring old Rich Teas to stop us snacking whilst she was out, I simply used to help myself to her secret stock of Boudoirs instead.

Links, Resources and Further Reading

Bay Area Resources:
Delicious Eggs from | Marin Sun Farms

Other Resources:
Ladyfingers | on Wikipedia

Archive Alert! On this day in 2005: Saucisson Sec, our saviour!

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Welcome to my Boudoir,


  • At 13/4/06 08:35, Blogger Alanna Kellogg said…

    For our Christmas trifle, I've resorted to pound cake and sponge cake because lady fingers are hard to find and ... well, too sweet. What a dunce: it never occured to make to MAKE them! Now I will! PS Can't wait to see how you'll be using them up!

  • At 13/4/06 08:51, Blogger Sam said…

    My own lady fingers are ultra sweet - but you could easily get away with half the amount of sugar in the first part of the recipe.

  • At 13/4/06 09:20, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Wow, that is a super idea! I even never thought to make them and I always have a hard time finding them here to make charlottes, which I love! Thanks for this super idea! I need to go and try that right now!!

  • At 13/4/06 10:06, Blogger Delphine said…

    I used to sneak into the secret boudoir place too!

    It was really naughty of me : boudoirs, in the early 70' in France, where given to babies as comfort food and exercice for new teeth ( these special boudoirs were not sugar coated. Sometimes the box contained coated ones, what a delight). I was sneaking in my baby brother stock...I have absolutely no regrets.

    I still have a sweet tooth for boudoir, lovely with champagne indeed!

    Pink ones!! Give me pink ones now!

    What a "madeleine" you gave me, I completely fogot about it and now I even remember the color of the box

    33 years ago!

  • At 13/4/06 10:19, Blogger Jocelyn:McAuliflower said…

    I love the name Boudoir biscuits- that's a new one for me! Its a good reminder how sexy the name Lady Fingers is... :)

  • At 13/4/06 12:22, Blogger teacherarbc said…

    i make my own ladyfingers also. but thanks to sam, i'll refer to them as, 'boudoir biscuits,' from now on, lol...kaiser bakeware has a cool ladyfinger/eclair pan and it's not at all expensive...

  • At 13/4/06 15:54, Blogger bobgirrl said…

    I've got to try these! (Although, I've never actually "piped" anything.) And I do love the name "boudoir biscuits."

  • At 13/4/06 17:37, Blogger cookiecrumb said…

    Is this going to be a Whim-Wham?
    (I just got the Stefan Gates book; I'm learning all sorts of horrible secrets.)

  • At 14/4/06 01:19, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I'm glad they were a success Sam, I did know your little secret, 'there are some things mothers ignore'

  • At 14/4/06 12:20, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    We made ladyfingers this week, too, in culinary school. This was the second time, and instead of piping them out as before, we used a mold. It was a rectangular metal frame that we put onto parchment paper, poured the batter into, and then scraped through with a large comb-like instrument. Since they come out baked as a whole sheet of strongly attached ladyfingers, we then cut out a round and a strip to line a cake ring that would be filled with bavarian cream and berries to make a Vanilla Charlotte. It looked nice with a raspberry atop every finger/column.

    The sheet of lady fingers was good for that application, but in general, I think it's easier to make them come out more consistently shaped and cleaner-edged by piping them.

    I'm looking forward to seeing what you have planned for these boudoir biscuits... :)

  • At 14/4/06 16:50, Blogger Nic said…

    These really do look perfect, Sam. Beautiful job.

  • At 14/4/06 17:12, Blogger Owen said…

    That unusual place that inspires hate and love, Trader Joe's, has pretty decent lady fingers - we use them for trifle - and that is what I see in Sam's future.

    Let me add that a really good trifle is the best dessert there is - better than ANYTHING else - like a trifle eaten out of a glass bowl with two spoons, shared with your girlfriend , that you've carried three miles just to have as part of a picnic at the center of the Hampton Court Maze on English Spring Day. Now that's a trifle!

  • At 14/4/06 20:30, Blogger Cate said…

    They look gorgeous, Sam, and probably taste even better than the real thing. Not British, but I have a great recipe for South African Trifle that calls for ladyfingers ... mmmm....

  • At 14/4/06 21:34, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Sam, I can't wait to try this recipe -- I so love lady fingers! "Boudoir biscuits" huh? That would definitely get noticed on a menu!

  • At 15/4/06 17:33, Blogger Dana said…

    Oooh, I didn't know they were called, "boudoir biscuits". I love that.

  • At 15/4/06 20:09, Blogger Joycelyn said…

    hi sam, how awesome! i can only imagine how pleased fred must have been. i can't say i'm a huge fan of boudoir biscuits by themselves, but as part of a charlotte, now that's a different story altogether! thanks for sharing the recipe

  • At 17/4/06 22:12, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    sam, your ladyfingers look magnificent. Any chance you'll be making a tiramisu in the near future?

    You mention substantially increasing the sugar in one part of your recipe. Is there a particular reason why?

  • At 17/4/06 22:38, Blogger Sam said…

    well - it was like this - I misinterpreted the recipe, BUT they tasted perfect to me, so I decided tokeep my mistake. I think commercial ones are more sweet anyway, as AK pointed out in the first comment, so since i was trying to replicate the taste i remembered, I wasnt too bothered. I just wanted people to know that they could be made with less.

    Tiramisu probably not in my future cos I am just not a coffee girl. Maybe I can make a chocolate or caramel tiramisu instead?

  • At 22/4/06 10:37, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    your title is so very...naughty naughty! or maybe my mind is always in the gutter. haha!


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