With Ladyfingers quick treats at hand

August 11, 1993|By Diane Stoneback | Diane Stoneback,Allentown Morning Call

A little bakery just west of Harrisburg is working to sell the country on ladyfingers, telling cooks that keeping ladyfingers on hand puts many an easy dessert well within reach.

They claim these little strips of sponge cake, lighter in calories and weight than regular cake and available ready-made from grocery stores, are treats from the past that are right for the 1990s.

They can be used in sweet terrines, tortes, ice cream cakes and pies that can be made without ever turning on an oven or burner -- a strong point in their favor during summer.

They still can be used to make traditional desserts like trifles, charlottes and tortes as well as the trendy Italian dessert called tiramisu.

"They've been forgotten, but they need to be remembered," said John Piotrowski, chief executive officer of Specialty Bakers of Marysville, Pa., the bakery that has billed itself as "The ladyfinger specialist since 1901."

Specialty Bakers, a company that produces bakery products that no one else wants to make, is the largest in the United States, sending out its products by the single case to individuals or by the pallet-load to grocery store chains in 47 states.

Here are a selection of no-bake desserts using ladyfingers, as well as some variations on tiramisu, the Italian dessert whose name means "pick me up" because it contains a hint of chocolate and coffee orespresso blended with liqueur

Fresh berry terrine

Makes eight to 10 servings

2 packages (3 ounces each) ladyfingers

1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese

1 3/4 cups milk

1 package (4-serving size) instant vanilla pudding & pie filling mix

1 container (8 ounces) frozen whipped topping, thawed

1 cup fresh blueberries, raspberries or sliced strawberries

Additional fresh berries for garnish

Line 9-by-5-inch loaf pan with wax paper. Line with ladyfinger halves, split sides up. In large mixer bowl, beat cream cheese until smooth and fluffy. Gradually add 1 cup of the milk, beating well. Add remaining milk and pudding mix, beating 1 to 2 minutes or until mixture begins to thicken. Fold in 1 1/2 cups of whipped topping. Pour half of pudding mixture into ladyfinger-lined pan. Top with berries and remaining pudding mixture. Gently press additional ladyfinger halves, split sides down, onto top. Cover and refrigerate several hours.Invert onto large serving plate. Garnish with remaining whipped topping and additional fresh berries before serving.

Tropical dream cake

Makes eight to 10 servings

2 packages (3 ounces each) ladyfingers

1 can (8 ounces) crushed pineapple, well-drained

1 medium banana, sliced

1 1/2 cups milk

1 package (4-serving size) instant French vanilla pudding & pie filling mix

3/4 cup flaked coconut

1! 1 container (8 ounces) frozen whipped topping, thawed

Sliced kiwi fruit for garnish

Line bottom of 12-by-8-inch glass baking dish with ladyfinger halves, split sides up. Top with crushed pineapple and sliced banana. In medium bowl, combine milk and pudding mix. Beat with wire whisk or fork until well-blended. Pour and spread over fruit in pan. Top with additional ladyfinger halves, split sides down. Fold 1/2 cup of the coconut into whipped topping. Spoon and spread over ladyfingers in pan. Sprinkle with remaining coconut. Cover and refrigerate several hours.Garnish with kiwi slices before serving.

Supreme no-bake cheesecake

Makes 10 to 12 servings

2 packages (3 ounces each) ladyfingers

1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese

1 1/2 cups milk

1 package (11.2 ounces) no-bake cheesecake mix

1 container (8 ounces) frozen whipped topping, thawed

1 can (21 ounces) strawberry, cherry or blueberry pie filling

Line bottom and side of 9-by-3-inch springform pan with ladyfinger halves, split sides up. In large mixer bowl, beat cream cheese until smooth and fluffy. Gradually add milk, beating well after each addition. Blend in cheesecake filling mix. Fold in whipped topping. Spoon into ladyfinger-lined pan. Cover and refrigerate several hours. Top with pie filling.

Fudge walnut ice cream cake

Makes 10 to 12 servings

2 pints any flavor ice cream

2 packages (3 ounces each) ladyfingers

3/4 cup hot fudge topping, room temperature

1 container (8 ounces) frozen chocolate whipped topping, thawed

1 jar (5 ounces) walnut dessert topping

Let ice cream stand at room temperature about 10 minutes to soften. Meanwhile, line 9-by-3-inch springform pan with wax paper. Line bottom and side with ladyfinger halves, split sides up. Stir ice cream with spoon until spreading consistency. Spoon and spread into ladyfinger-lined pan. Working quickly, spoon and spread fudge topping over ice cream. Spoon and spread whipped topping over ladyfingers. Cover and freeze. Top with walnut topping.

Peach brandy tiramisu

Makes 4 servings.

1 package (8 ounces) lite cream cheese (Neufchatel)

2 tablespoons peach brandy

1 tablespoon milk

1/2 cup unsifted confectioners' sugar

1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1/2 cup heavy or whipping cream

1 package (3 ounces) ladyfingers

2 to 3 tablespoons espresso or strong coffee, cooled

1 cup diced fresh or canned peaches, well-drained

Baltimore Sun Articles
|
|
|
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.