Löffelbiskuit – Ladyfingers

There’s definitely a German flavour to my bakes lately, with Luisa Weiss’s Classic German Baking providing so much insipiration.

Today I made Löffelbiskuit (p27), but added my own twists to create piped GF and DF cake-like biscuits with a hint of spice (see Spicing Footnote for other options).

Makes: 2-3 dozen biscuits depending on size


Ingredients

  • 4 medium eggs, separated (50-56g each when weighed in their shells)
  • 1 lemon, just a slice (and 1/2 the finely grated zest – optional)
  • 125g caster sugar (golden or white); weighed into 2 bowls, 75g & 50g
  • 115g plain gluten-free flour
  • 50g cornflour
  • 1/4 tsp xanthan gum
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg or mace
  • 1/4 tsp ground allspice
  • Melted chocolate, to dunk/drizzle (optional)
  • Icing sugar, to dust (optional)

Kit

  • 2 baking trays
  • Baking/parchment paper to line both trays
  • 2 large mixing bowls, plus 2 small bowls for sugar
  • An electric mixer (hand-held, or stand)
  • A spatula
  • A sieve
  • A piping bag, and a 1/2″ round nozzle
  • A cooling rack

Steps

  1. Preheat oven to 180 C (160 C fan assisted). Line both baking trays with paper. Wipe the lemon slice around one large mixing bowl; if you leave blobs of lemon pulp, just wipe off with the edge.
  2. Separate the eggs into 2 bowls, putting the whites in the lemon-swiped bowl. Whisk the whites starting at low speed, and gradually increase to high speed as the colour and texture change. When you have ‘soft peaks’ (lift the beaters up; the peaks formed flop over immediately), start adding the 75g sugar a large tablespoonful at a time. Continue whisking until all sugar is added, and whisk until you feel no sugar grains along the bottom of the bowl (stop the mixer whilst testing!), and you have ‘stiff peaks’, i.e. you could turn the bowl over your head without consequences.
  3. Whisk the egg yolks at medium-high speed with the 50g sugar until creamy and as pale as you can get it. There’s no need to clean the beaters from the whites.
  4. Fold the yolk mixture carefully into the whipped egg whites. Then sift the dry ingredients (flour, cornflour, gum, spice, and lemon zest [if using]) over, and continue folding until well combined. It is a very creamy dough, more like a batter.
  5. Scrape the dough into a piping bag fitted with a 1/2″ round nozzle. Pipe the dough into lines (see Size footnote), pressing harder at each end to create that ‘ladyfinger’ shape if you can.
  6. Bake for around 15 minutes, turning trays halfway through for even baking, until they’re golden and dry to a light finger touch (longer biscuits will need a few more minutes). Remove the trays from the oven and leave for 5 minutes for the biscuits to firm up, before removing them to a cooling rack. If you have remaining dough, let the trays cool for 5 more minutes before loading up again, and baking.
  7. Dunk the biscuits into (or drizzle with) melted chocolate; and/or dust with icing sugar when cooled, if you like. These should keep in an airtight container on the counter up to a week.

Size
I piped many different lengths/widths to get a feel for how long they need to bake. The 2-3″ biscuits were done between 13-15 minutes; longer/wider ones took up to 17-18 minutes.

Spicing
Luisa’s classic recipe has no spicing at all. Mine may not be traditional Löffelbiskuit, but I do love a bit of spice in an otherwise plain cookie. You could use any ground spice(s) you prefer – cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, etc.

I might also suggest orange zest as an alternative to lemon zest. If doing so, see the Dried Orange Zest footnote on my Strawberries & Cream Tartlettes recipe for tips on drying/crushing grated orange zest.

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