This recipe, which was inspired by reviewing the movie “Pride & Prejudice & Zombies”, has more “blood” in it than the movie, and is much more enjoyable! Of course, I’m not talking about actual blood, but the juice that comes from the lovely and aptly named, Blood Orange, which is in season now, just in time for this recipe! For my full movie review and recipe show-how see Sweet Movie Review at: https://youtu.be/0dcuNChNZ-o
These “Zombie Fingers” which are of course in reality, Ladyfingers, are a very versatile cookie and a necessity in any baker’s repertoire. They are most commonly used in the positively delicious dessert Tiramisu, but are also very nice on their own. They are somehow firm, yet light, perfect for coffee dunking, or soaking up all that liqueur in the aforementioned Tiramisu, or other layered desserts.
The history of Ladyfingers is quite interesting: They were served in 11th century France in the royal court to Peter the Great, and I assume the not-so-great Catherine, who liked them so much, that instead of just asking for the recipe, they actually bought the baker, and took him back to Russia with them. They are presumably called Ladyfingers, because they represent a lady’s finger, although one wonders just how large a lady’s finger was back then. But I guess it just wouldn’t have done to call them Man Fingers! Somehow it doesn’t sound as appetizing!
I’m a little at the back of the pack with the adoration of the Blood Orange. I have, of course, seen them in recipes and on the menus at restaurants, but never seen them in person or bought one, until this recipe came to mind! What better to have with Zombie Fingers, then Blood Orange Sauce. Not just the name is appropriate, but the amazingly beautiful red color. This juice on its own would be perfect to serve at a Halloween brunch or breakfast…no food coloring required! Just look at this, straight from the orange itself:
Blood oranges taste quite a bit like regular navel oranges, but maybe a little sweeter and just a hint of bitterness, mostly popular for their color. Wouldn’t it be beautiful in a Mimosa?
So first, it’s basically standard procedure: separate your eggs while they are still cold, then let them sit at room temperature, covered, until they are, well, room temperature! See how yellow the yolks are:
Now I know you’re not an idiot, that you’ve seen egg yolks before! I’m showing you this to compare what your yolks should look like after you’ve beaten them into submission for about five minutes! They will double in volume (not get louder, silly!) and will be light yellow in color.
See? These are the yolks after beating, with sugar added, but before the vanilla. Now a special note: I like to beat my egg whites first (with the sugar and cream of tartar), before the yolks, then I don’t have to wash my beaters (not a euphemism!) in between. If you beat the yolks first, you will have to get every drop of yolk off the beaters before you touch the whites, or the whites and yolk will have a showdown and the whites will lose! (they won’t fluff it up!) So here are the whites, with first cream of tartar added when just foamy and with sugar beaten in until they are glossy and stiff, but not dry:
Then it’s time to fold in the flour alternately with the egg white mixture to the yolk mixture, being extremely careful not to over mix! There’s nothing worse in life than to have deflated eggs! Here’s a picture of the batter, with the last of the white mixture going in:
Notice the using of a spatula for the folding! Fascinating, isn’t it?! (Rhetorical, really.)
And here we have the “piping of the fingers” onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper: notice the exact precision with which they have been piped! (Just kidding. But if you do want perfection, draw a line on the back of the parchment to guide you in your piping endeavors!)
Now they are ready for the all-important, never-to-be-forgotten step of sprinkling with powdered sugar BEFORE you put your fingers into the oven (okay, that sounds cruel), your ladyfingers into the oven. Putting it on before, ensures the crisp outside on your cookie.
This picture shows how they look right out of the oven, just a little puffier, and just barely beginning to brown around the edges. The best way to tell if they’re done, is to lightly touch one on top, and if you don’t leave a fingerprint on your finger, they’re done!
So here are the recipes, with photos of the making of the blood sauce toward the end!
Celeste’s Zombie Ladyfingers
3 egg whites, room temperature
2 egg yolks, room temperature
1/2 sugar, divided
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup cake flour
Powdered sugar (about 1/4-1/2 cup) for finger sprinkling
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
In small bowl, beat egg whites til foamy. Add cream of tartar, continue beating, gradually adding sugar. Beat until glossy and stiff (the egg whites, naughty)! Now beat the yolks in a separate medium bowl, adding sugar gradually. Beat in vanilla toward the end when yolks become the consistency of pancake batter, are light yellow in color and have doubled in volume.
Add flour alternately with egg whites, to your egg yolk mixture, folding in each addition gently with a spatula.
Put mixture in a pastry bag (or see tip in youtube video) and pipe onto parchment lined baking sheet.
Sprinkle generously with powdered sugar before baking.
Bake for 8-10 minutes. Makes about 18 zombie fingers.
Blood Orange Sauce (can also be used as cake filing, yum!)
3/4 cup blood orange juice (about 2 oranges)
1 tsp. grated orange zest (optional)
3 Tablespoons sugar (may vary on the sweetness of your oranges and how tart you like your sauce)
1 Tablespoon cornstarch
1 Tablespoon of water
1 Tablespoon of butter
Place sugar, cornstarch, and salt into a small saucepan, whisk together. Whisk in juice and water. Add zest, if using. Place over medium low heat, constantly stirring with wooden spoon, just until bubbles appear around the edge of the sauce and sauce is thick.
Off heat, stir in the butter until melted. Pour into your serving dish and while still warm, place a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the sauce to prevent zombie skin from forming. Chill until ready to use.
Makes about 3/4 cup.
Even better with a full moon!