Makes approximately 4 dozen
- 6 egg yolks
- 2/3 cup granulated sugar
- a pinch of salt
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup cake flour, sifted
- 6 egg whites, room temperature
- ½ teaspoon cream of tartar
- 6 tablespoons granulated sugar
- confectioners’ sugar for sifting over lady fingers
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. With a pencil and a ruler mark 3 1/2- inch long lines (spaced out approximately 1 inch apart) in rows on two pieces of parchment paper. Line each of 2 large sheet pans with the marked parchment paper turning them upside down so that the pencil marks are on the underside and set them aside.
- Have a pastry bag ready with a large round tip or a freezer bag with a ½ inch hole cut off one corner. Set aside.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer, using the paddle attachment, combine the egg yolks, sugar, salt, and vanilla on medium speed. Add the cake flour on low speed, and blend well.
- Turn the mixer on high speed and beat until the mixture is a pale yellow. When you stop the machine and lift up the paddle, the batter should fall like a ribbon back into the bowl. This will take 1-2 minutes. Pour mixture into a large bowl.
- Wash the electric mixer bowl and dry completely. Place egg whites into the bowl and, using the whip attachment, beat the whites until they get foamy. Add the cream of tartar and continue beating until soft peaks form. Gradually add the 6 tablespoons of sugar and continue beating until stiff peaks form.
- With a rubber spatula, scoop a small amount of whites and whisk into the yolk mixture to lighten it up. Scoop the remaining whites into the yolk mixture and fold (do not stir) gently using a rubber spatula until blended. The batter should look puffy.
- Scoop some batter into the pastry bag and squeeze out 3 ½ -inch long finger shapes 1 inch apart on the prepared sheet pans, using the pencil marks as a guide.
- With a sieve, dust each lady finger with some of the confectioners’ sugar.
- Bake approximately 12 minutes, or until lady fingers are barely browned. They should not have too much color and should feel spongey to the touch.
- Cool and gently remove from the parchment. Lady fingers can be stored in an airtight container with each layer separated by waxed paper.