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  • Writer's pictureSibel

Vegan Ladyfingers (Savoiardi)

Crunchy outside and soft on the inside, these vegan Ladyfingers (vegan Savoiardi) are easy to make and they’re ready in less than 30 minutes. They’re perfect for tiramisu, trifle or just for dunking in coffee!

ladyfingers

Last week I visited almost every supermarket looking for vegan ladyfingers, and let me tell you, they’re not easy to find! I was really craving some vegan tiramisu, and I didn’t want to have to use soaked cookies instead of the traditional Savoiardi, so I made it my mission to perfect my Savoiardi (Ladyfingers) recipe. I feel like I got quite lucky in this instance as I only had one failed attempt, and my second attempt was quite close to perfect! This simple and versatile Ladyfingers recipe is essential in your vegan baking repertoire as they’re delicious on their own and can be used in a variety of classic desserts.




ladyfingers

Why you’ll love these vegan Ladyfingers:


If you’re looking for the most identical vegan version of ladyfingers, then this is the recipe for you!


  • They’re the perfect texture: soft and sponge-like in the centre, and a little crisp on the outside.

  • They’re not overly sweet: They’re just lightly sweetened with some caster sugar and flavoured with a hint of vanilla extract. They’re perfect for use in desserts but taste just as delicious on their own.

  • You don’t need any fancy baking equipment: you probably already have all the equipment you need in your kitchen! Sure, a piping bag would help but it isn’t essential. You could use a small sandwich bag with a whole cut into one of the corners to pipe the ladyfingers onto the tray.

  • They keep their shape: You can soak them in hot liquids, and won’t won’t go mushy! Some shop-bought ladyfingers can go mushy quite quickly when soaked, but these will keep their shape and absorb the soaking liquid to soften up nicely.

  • You’ll need a few simple ingredients: This recipe is made with a handful of readily available ingredients, most of which you’ll probably already have at home.



What are Ladyfingers or Savoiardi cookies?


Ladyfingers, or Savoiardi in Italian, are an Italian shortbread cookie traditionally used in the classic Italian dessert, tiramisù. They’re kind of like a combination of a sponge cake and biscuits – crunchy outside and soft of the inside.


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What is Aquafaba?


If you’ve used canned legumes in your cooking, you will have already come across aquafaba. Aquafaba is basically the viscous water in which legumes such as chickpeas and cannellini beans have been cooked. Over the last few years, this amazing liquid has found its way into vegan cooking as it’s properties make it the perfect plant-based replacement for egg whites.


What type of aquafaba is best for making Ladyfingers?


The best aquafaba for making ladyfingers is chickpea brine. I wouldn’t recommend using the aquafaba from other legumes as I haven’t tested them for this recipe and it’s likely they’ll change the colour and taste of the ladyfingers.


How to store vegan ladyfingers


The best part about this recipe is that it’s ideal for making up to a week in advance. If you’re planning on using them to make tiramisu, stale ladyfingers are ideal as they’re absorb the espresso better.


To store vegan ladyfingers if you’re using in the next few days: Let the baked ladyfingers cool down completely, then place into an airtight container or Zip lock bag and store at room temperature.


To store vegan ladyfingers for longer: These ladyfingers can be stored the same way as above and kept in the freezer for up to 6 months.


Ingredients for making vegan Ladyfingers:


Here’s everything you’ll need for this recipe – consider it your shopping list!


  • Chickpea brine (aquafaba)– I’ve used the liquid from a can of chickpeas. Make sure that the chickpea are in unsalted water, and If your chickpea liquid has too much of a watery consistency, you will need to reduce it to concentrate the amount of protein. This is done by boiling the bean water in a saucepan. You will want to reduce the aquafaba until, when warm, it feels slimy when rubbed between two fingers.

  • Caster Sugar - The caster sugar will give the ladyfingers a subtle sweetness. You could use granulated sugar instead of caster sugar.

  • Cream of tartar – Cream of tartar stabilizes the tiny bubbles in the aquafaba and it speeds up the whipping process and contributes to a stable, crispy ladyfinger.

  • Plain flour – you’ll need some all-purpose flour.

  • Baking powder – the baking powder will help the ladyfingers to rise as they bake.

  • Oil – I recommend using a neutral tasting oil such as sunflower oil or vegetable oil.

  • Cornstarch - This creates a soft texture once you bite into your crisp ladyfinger. You can use wheat starch or arrow root powder as an alternative.

  • Vegan yoghurt – any neutral tasting vegan yoghurt will do. I used plain soya yoghurt.

  • Vanilla extract – the vanilla extract will add a lovely flavour to the ladyfingers. You could use almond extract as an alternative.

  • Icing sugar – you can totally skip this step, but dusting the ladyfingers with icing sugar will make them look more appealing and will add extra sweetness.


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How to make vegan ladyfingers


STEP 1:

Preheat the oven to 180C and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.


STEP 2:

Place the aquafaba (chickpea liquid) into a large mixing bowl and using a hand mixer, whip until it becomes foamy. Add the cream of tartar into the bowl and continue to whip until stiff peaks start to form. Add the sugar, one tablespoon at a time while whipping at a medium speed.


STEP 3:

Add in the oil and vegan yogurt. Mix just until incorporated (the mixture won’t be stiff peaks anymore, which is how it should be!).


STEP 4:

In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, vanilla powder, salt, and cornstarch. Place a sieve over the bowl with the wet ingredients and sift in the dry mixture, gently fold again, but make sure not to over mix.


STEP 5:

Spoon the mixture into a piping bag with round 1 ½ cm round nozzle, and pipe 8-10cm long ladyfingers onto your baking sheet, separating them by about 4cm as they'll expand when baked. You should yield about 35 ladyfingers. Dust with the icing sugar before baking.


STEP 6:

Place the baking trays into the oven to bake for 12-15 minutes, or until the ladyfingers are lightly golden and crisp. Once baked, remove from the oven, and place them on a cooling rack to cool completely. Enjoy just as they are or use them in your favourite dessert recipes.


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Notes and Tips

  • I recommend using the gram measurements, rather than the cup conversions. When it comes to baking, accuracy is key, and cups conversions are never as accurate as grams.

  • Make sure the aquafaba is the ideal consistency: Use chickpeas that the chickpeas are in unsalted water, and if your chickpea liquid has too much of a watery consistency, you will need to reduce it to concentrate the amount of protein. This is done by boiling the bean water in a saucepan. You will want to reduce the aquafaba until, when warm, it feels slimy when rubbed between two fingers.

  • Sift the flour: sure, it’s easier to just dump the flour right in, but sifting it will make a huge difference. This helps to prevent any clumping in the vegan ladyfingers for a smooth batter.

  • For a crunchier cookie: Bake them for 3-4 minutes longer in the oven for a deeper colour and cruncher texture.

  • Piping the ladyfingers: The ladyfinger batter will be quite thick, so you may need to use a knife to trim the ladyfinger batter as you’re piping them onto the tray.

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