donut pan idea no. 61: boudoir biscuits (ladyfingers) for round tiramisu

Adventures in pastry! Embarking on a recipe I've never made before is such an education. Like, did you know that ladyfingers are more commonly known as "boudoir biscuits" around the world? It's certainly more appropriate here, baked in a donut pan and not finger-like at all. 

Stella thought to bake ladyfingers in the donut pans as we were trolling the aisles of the grocery store during the holidays. I had hoped to make them before everyone started their new year resolutions, especially me, because I cannot resist tiramisu. Especially when it is fresh and sitting in my refrigerator in nice big individual serving containers. But I didn't get to it until yesterday, and it is dangerous over here right now!

The ladyfingers/boudoir biscuits are simple enough to make. The mascarpone pastry cream is a bit more difficult, but SO worth it. Click on "read more" below to read more!

I adapted this ladyfinger recipe and this tiramisu recipe, both from Joy of Baking. The ladyfinger recipe yields about 16 cookies, which can then translate into four or five large individual round tiramisus. I'm going to walk you through how to make the ladyfingers (biscuits) in the donut pans and how to assemble your round tiramisus, but if you need the cream and syrup, prepare those ahead of time from the Joy of Baking recipes.

For the boudoir biscuits you will need 1/2 c. cake flour, three eggs (separated), 5 tbsp. granulated sugar (divided), 1/2 tsp. vanilla, 1/8 tsp. cream of tartar and powdered sugar to sprinkle on top. You will also need three donut pans, a pastry bag without the tip screwed on and baking spray for the pans.

As I mentioned above, for the tiramisu you will need the full mascarpone cream recipe and about half (or less) of the coffee syrup recipe found in the recipe linked above, along with your batch of boudoir biscuits (heretofore referred to as ladyfingers). AND, don't forget the cocoa powder to dust the tops with! 

I layered my round tiramisu in Weck jars, but they would also fit in working glasses with lids.

Start by preheating your oven to 350º. Separate three eggs, reserving the whites, and place the three yolks in the bowl of a stand mixer with 2 tbsp. of the granulated sugar. 

Beat with the paddle attachment for about 5-6 minutes, until it becomes pale yellow and somewhat thicker. While that is going, spray your donut pans with baking spray and set aside. After the 5 or 6 minutes, mix in the vanilla, then move the yolk mixture to a separate bowl and sift the 1/2 c. of cake flour over the top. Do not stir the flour into the eggs, just let it sit there.

Next, clean out your mixing bowl, making sure it is completely dry and free of any residue. Add the three egg whites to the bowl. Beat the whites with the whisk attachment for a few minutes until foamy. Add the cream of tartar and beat until soft peaks form. With the mixer running, gradually add the remaining 3 tbsp. of granulated sugar to the whites and beat until stiff peaks form. 

Fold the egg whites into the yolk/flour bowl until just incorporated. I used a small bowl so this took more folding than was probably advisable. But they still turned out lovely!

Pipe the batter continuously into the donut pans in a layer about 1/2" thick or so. 

When your pans are filled, dust a little powdered sugar over the tops. Bake at 350º for eight minutes, until the tops are getting just a little bit golden. The bottoms will get darker faster, so watch carefully and pull out before eight minutes if needed. They will spring back when pressed lightly with your finger.

I was able to peel each one out of the pans with no problem. If you let them set up in the donut pans, you might have trouble getting them out, so remove them from the pans immediately and let cool on a rack.

When your biscuits are completely cool, gather your tiramisu components together. Here you see the "ladyfingers", the mascarpone cream, the cofffee syrup and cocoa powder.

Place a ladyfinger in the bottom of a jar or glass. Brush liberally with the coffee syrup. Top with a layer of cream, letting some fill the hole in the donut as well. Add another ladyfinger, brush with syrup, top with more cream, and repeat until you've reached the top of the jar or glass. 

When I used my shorter Weck jars, I had to refrigerate them with tin foil over the tops instead of using the original lids because I came too high up with three ladyfingers and lots of cream. Play with the height and amount of layers and use different height jars depending on how much tiramisu you want to serve. Fun!

Don't forget to sift cocoa powder over each one!

Here's the bad news. You have to let them set up in the refrigerator overnight. So cover them up, set them in the fridge and walk away.

This one didn't make it to the fridge.  Irresistible! 

And this is what it looked like this morning. Firm and creamy, with the layers of the coffee-and-rum-saturated donuts showing through. Ordered chaos in a jar. It's okay if my resolutions wait one more day, right?

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