Ladyless Fingers...Vegan Boudoir Biscuits, sponge fingers!
Updated: Mar 5
I couldn't find a recipe for vegan Lady Fingers aannnnnyyyyywhere....so I made my own. Not just like that, not abracadabra, took a couple of near misses first, but got there in the end. The recipe is really easy, the trickiest part is the piping if you aren't used to it, but even that is nice and simple.....
The secret ingredient is Aquafaba, teamed with its usual 2 sidekicks, cream of tartar and xantan gum. I also reduced the aquafaba to make it robust enough to hold the flour. I'm not a siever generally in baking, much to Chris's despair, who is, but it is important to sift the flour and cornflour to get a good mix and get rid of the lumps. Likewise, if I was a purist, I would probably use caster sugar, but I used granulated and it worked out perfectly well
One thing to note about these is that when you use them in your usual recipes, bear in mind that they take longer to soak any juice up, and when they do, they don't hold their form quite as well as a regular biscuit. I would say use less liquid in tiramisu or suchlike, but allow longer to soak the sponge layer to stop it turning to mush
The key to a nice smooth procedure here, is prep...I get everything lined up, piping bag good to go, and trays lined
I just used the connector to pipe as I don't have a tip big enough. It measured 12mm in diameter and that did the job perfectly!
The cooking process is in 2 stages. The first is to cook the finger through, the second, cooler stage, is to dry it out and crisp it up
These biscuits are the perfect base for any dessert....English trifle, tiramisu, or lemoncello type trifle, but are actually really quite nice on their own for a light, fat free little nibble!
Don't forget to make use of the chickpeas...you have no idea how much hummus I have eaten in the development of this recipe!!
This recipe makes around 20 fingers. They need keeping in an airtight container to maintain their crispiness
The juice from a standard 400g can chickpeas
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
1/4 tsp xanthan gum
1/2 tsp vanilla essence
65g sugar (see notes above)
65g plain flour
1 tbsp cornflour
2 tbsps extra sugar for sprinkling
Drain the liquid from the chickpeas and put into a small pan. Bring to a gentle bubble until the liquid has reduced to 80ml. You can keep tipping it out and checking if needs be and putting back in, this will only take about 15 minutes. Put the reduced liquid into the fridge to cool, it just needs to be room temperature
Preheat the oven to 180c
Line 2 baking sheets with greaseproof paper and prepare your icing bag for loading (see notes above)
Put the cooled liquid into a large bowl and add the cream of tartar and xanthan gum. Whisk with an electric whisk until white and fluffy and holds its shape...it takes around 2 minutes. Whisk in the vanilla extract
Add the sugar and whisk in bit by bit. It does't change the appearance at all, but does feel a little stiffer
Sift in the plain flour and the cornflour, and carefully fold in with a big spoon. It will look like a big powdery, rubbery mess, but with some careful folding it will all blend into a smooth mix. Take care not to overmix though and burst the bubbles
Load this mix into your piping bag
Pipe into sausage shapes that measure around 15mm width and about 7cm in length. Use a dinner knife to neatly cut away from the nozzle. You should get around 20 fingers out of the mix
Sprinkle the extra sugar on the top of the fingers and place into the oven. Set the timer for 11 minutes
After the 11 minutes are up, WITHOUT opening the oven door, turn down the heat to 120c (see notes above) and leave for 25 minutes
Remove the trays from the oven. The fingers will be pale golden and feel crispy but slightly soft to the touch. Don't worry, leave them on the tray to cool for 5 minutes by which time they will be crisp, light and easy to remove
You are no good to go with whatever recipe you care to recreate with your vegan fingers!