Savoiardi – lady fingers at Chef Academy in Umbria

I am very excited to bring this post to you today. In it, renowned pastry chef Maurizio Di Mario teaches a class of aspiring pastry chefs how to make savoiardi (also known as “ladies fingers”) at Chef Academy. Firstly a bit about Maurizio – he runs the renowned Pasticcieria Adriano in Orvieto, the cellars of which are rather amazingly in an Etruscan labyrinth ; he is on staff for the italian tv show Chef per un giorno (Chef for a day); and he teaches international students of cooking at Chef Academy, in Terni, in the beautiful region of Umbria in Central Italy. Today in this post he shares not only his recipe for savoiardi and but also a couple of cooking tips to make sure that you will be able to make perfectly crisp and light savoiardi.

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Savoiardi have a royal tale to accompany their inception. Sometime in the late 1400s, in the kitchen of the court of Amadeo VI, Duke of Savoy, an italian chef whose name we shall never know created a light sweet biscuit fit for a King, in fact fit for the King of France who was visiting the Savoys at the time. The King and the ladies of the court rather liked these finger-like biscuits, singing the praises of the unknown chef and so the savoiardo was born. It became very popular, spreading throughout the regions where the Savoy family reigned (notably Sardegna and Piemonte) and later on throughout Italy and France.

They even made their way to Melbourne as I grew up eating “Unibic” savoiardi. Mamma always had them in the pantry, ready to make tiramisu, or her special italian-inspired trifle. They were great for dunking in milky coffee, trying to eat them before they dissolved completely. I love eating savoiardi but I have never made them before, mainly because I have a terror of recipes that involve whisked egg whites (eg macarons). Maurizio has, through Chef Academy’s media person Alessandra Bigiarini, provided a foolproof recipe plus a whole series of photos taken at a class he taught that details how to make these biscotti. Alessandra asked him a few questions for me, specifically about how to get light and crisp savoiardi.

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TIPS for perfect savoiardi by Maurizio di Mario:

1. When incorporating the eggs with the flours, make sure that you fold in a small amount of egg white last – this will make sure they are light
2. Scatter some icing sugar on the lined tray before piping the savoiardi – this will help make them crisp

If you look at the photos at the end of the recipe, they follow the steps you need to take to make savoiardi. Maurizio makes it look so easy – I think I will overcome my egg white terror and give it a try! And make sure you have a look at the Chef Academy website – their pastry making certificate courses looks amazing.

Savoiardi


120g (4.2 oz) caster sugar
120g (4.2 oz) egg yolks
160g (5.6 oz) egg whites
120g (4.2 oz) flour
120g (4.2 oz) corn flour
for sifting over piped biscotti:
50g (1.7 oz) icing sugar
50g (1.7 oz) white sugar

Preheat the oven to 190 degrees (375 degrees Farenheit). Beat the egg whites with half the caster sugar until stiff peaks form. In another bowl, beat the egg yolks with the other half of the caster sugar and beat until thick and creamy. Sift together both flours. Gently fold a small amount of egg white mixture into the egg yolk mixture, followed by some of the sifted flour. Continue to alternate the addition of egg white and the addition of flour to the egg yolk mixture, making sure the last thing you add is egg white. Be careful when folding through, try to fold from the bottom of the bowl to the top.

Sift some icing sugar onto a lined baking tray. Carefully place the mixture in a piping bag and pipe onto your prepared tray. The “fingers” should be as long as your index finger and spaced apart (see photo below).

Sift the icing sugar onto the piped savoiardi and then sprinkle on the caster sugar, allowing a couple of minutes for the sugar to sink in. Bake for 13-14 minutes. Slide the baking paper off the tray and allow the savoiardi to cool before carefully separating them from the paper.

This series of photos is all about mixing the eggs and sugar and then how to incorporate them with the flours:

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These photos are all about piping the savoiardi and baking them:

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Thanks so much to Alessandra, Maurizio and all those at Chef Academy who made this post possible.

14 comments on “Savoiardi – lady fingers at Chef Academy in Umbria

  1. hmmmm…It is STAR wars day….May the fourth be with you and the kids are making stamped sugar biscuits with their millennium falcon etc. cutters and now I really want to make these!!!!!

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  2. Thanks for the recipe, I tried making these last night. The taste is delicious, but they look like flat firm pikletts. I followed the recipe exactly, can you tell me what I did wrong.

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    • Hi Carrnel I cannot tell you what you did wrong sorry – but perhaps it was something to do with the folding of the egg whites – that is the most sensitive step. If it is any consolation I have made macarons (which are also very technique sensitive) twice and they never worked for me (but tasted great). I understand your frustration !

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