pavesini (the other ladyfingers)


Upon first coming back from Europe, I had a few friends over for dinner. I'd planned to make lemon pasta and roasted vegetables. The pasta was going, I'd preheated the oven, and when I went to put the tray of vegetables in to roast, the tray stopped. It didn't fit.

Part of the charm of my new 1920's apartment is that in my tiny (albeit cute) kitchen, I have a tiny (albeit cute) stove and oven. These pavesini were the first thing I baked in it. 

What are pavesini? Well, pavesini are technically a brand and variation of Italian savoiardi, or ladyfingers. They're not as tall and airy, they're not as well known, and they kind of look like turds. Think of them as ladyfingers' ugly step sister. But in this fairy tale, being a step sister isn't so bad. Turns out, this step sister is just the quiet bookish type still figuring out her personal style. Sure, she's not as glamorous as her popular step sister, but she's sweet and subtle and perfect with your morning cup of tea.

And when it comes to the big leagues (i.e. tiramisu), little ol' pavesini really shines. But more on that later.

makes about 50 cookies

1 1/2 cups cake flour
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2/3 cup sugar
4 eggs
splash of vanilla


Separate the egg yolks and whites into separate bowls. Beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form. In the other bowl, mix the yolks with the sugar and vanilla until the sugar granules dissolve. Fold half of the egg whites into the yolk mixture. Sift in the flour and cornstarch and mix. Fold in the remaining egg whites while trying to keep the mixture as fluffy as possible.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper (if you have my oven, line a pizza pan). Put the mixture in a pastry (or ziploc) bag and pipe 3-4 inch strips onto parchment paper. Bake for 8 minutes at 400°F. Sprinkle with sugar and dip into your tea.

Or save them to make tiramisu (recipe coming soon.)

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