It has been too hot and humid to bake lately. In Pittsburgh the humidity has been extremely high, so I didn’t even want to put the oven on. Today it is beginning to cool down a little, so I fired up the oven to bake some Lady Fingers. These are a French spongelike cake/ cookie, I haven’t made these in many years. I thought that some fresh summer fruits, layered with ice cream and a homemade sauce would be refreshing. A typical Charlotte Russe is filled with either whipped cream or custard. We are going to make a different version of this French classic. Let’s get baking! These don’t take long to bake so we can have the oven off rather quickly…….
Orange Lady Fingers
- 3/4 Cup + 2 Tblsp Cake Flour
- 3/4 Cup + 2 Tblsp All Purpose Flour
- 1/4 tsp Salt
Whisk together in a bowl, set aside.
- 6 large Eggs (room temperature)Separated
- 3/4 Cup Sugar
- 1 tsp Vanilla
- Zest of one Orange
- Powdered Sugar for Dusting
Mix the egg yolks with the paddle attachment on high, add in 6 Tblsp of the sugar. Beat until thick and Ribbon like. About 4 minutes. Scrape into a bowl and fold in the vanilla and orange zest. Set aside. Clean out bowl and whip the egg whites with the wire whisk attachment on high, when whites get frothy add in 6 Tblsp of sugar. Continue to whip until medium stiff peaks.
Stir one fourth of the whites into the yolks, with a folding motion, which is with a rubber spatula down through the middle and up towards the side of bowl. Fold in one fourth of the flour mixture. Proceed with the whites and flour into the yolks three more times. Be gentle with the batter, we want to keep it light and airy.
Set oven at 350 degrees, line baking sheets with parchment paper.
Using a pastry bag, I always have disposable ones on hand, cut off the tip to an approximate 1/2 inch opening. Put some batter into the bag and pipe 3″ lengths about 1″ apart. I used a quarter sheet pan and piped them six across and four rows on each sheet. There will be 48 lady fingers in total.
Dust them with powdered sugar. They will bake for 5 minutes then change the position of trays, top to bottom, for 5 more minutes. Let cool. While they are cooling let’s make some fresh Blackberry Sauce!
Fresh Blackberry Sauce
- 12 0z Blackberries (rinsed)
- 1 Cup Sugar
- 1/4 Cup Water
Place all ingredients into a saucepan on medium high heat. Stirring occasionally. Let cook for 20 minutes, stirring and smashing the fruit. Place a fine mesh strainer over a bowl and pour sauce into it, using a spatula to smash the berries to release more juice. Let cool, the refrigerate. You can make this sauce in advance, it will last for a week in the frig.
Get some fresh summer fruits like Blueberries and Strawberries. Wash them, then quarter the Strawberries. Set out a half gallon of your favorite ice cream, I went with Vanilla Bean. Now all we have to do is assemble. You can have your guests make their own desserts or make them when ready to be eaten. Use whatever glasses that you have, using a variety of different styles will look great. Place a small scoop of ice cream in the bottom of each glass, then lay the lady fingers around the inside, more ice cream, blackberry sauce, then berries, and keep building up each layer to the top. Have some whipped cream on hands to dollop on top. You will have enough lady fingers and sauce for four desserts.
They look so pretty! The orange flavor of the lady fingers pairs well with the different summer fruits and blackberry sauce. The lady fingers and sauce can be made in advance, so all it takes is assembling them when you want to have dessert. Since we only have the oven on for a few minutes, this is my kind of summer dessert. Give these a try at your next picnic, all the recipes can be doubled if needed.
Yes, we can make dessert even in the hottest dog days of Summer! Bon Appetit!