Ladyfingers, one of the oldest and most delicate of sponge cakes, dates from the House of Savoy in the eleventh century France. The Doigts de Dames is as popular today as it was in the courts of Versailles as a light dessert, snack or ingredient in more elaborate desserts.
The recipe, which has changed little in nine hundred years, was carried throughout Europe by the marriages of the many daughters of Bertha of Savoy to the scattered thrones of Europe. Folklore has it that Czar Peter the Great of Russia and his wife, the peasant empress Catherine, so enjoyed Ladyfingers when visiting Louis XV of France, that they purchased the Baker and sent him immediately to Saint Petersburg.
Today, the Ladyfinger is a delicacy considered by many to be one of the rarest of the bakers' arts. It has grown in popularity in America since it was first introduced probably by the earliest French settlers in the Northeast and New Orleans. It is used extensively in the country's finest restaurants as an ingredient for elaborate French and Italian Desserts.
Very few Ladyfingers are produced today. Specialty Bakers Incorporated, a small, highly efficient bakery company on the banks of the Susquehanna River in Marysville, Pennsylvania, is
known as The Ladyfinger Specialist. Virtually all the commercially available Ladyfingers in this country
have been baked by Specialty Bakers since 1901.
A convenient product, Ladyfingers are consumed as a snack
food, or filled with cream, jellies, puddings and fruits. As a dessert ingredient, the Ladyfinger is a perennial and versatile favorite.
Since the earliest times, the Ladyfinger has provided the baker and homemaker with a quick and convenient alternative to cake batters and piecrusts. With the advent of refrigeration, it became possible to create a stunning dessert with the use of Ladyfingers without baking or spending hours in the kitchen. Such popular desserts as Charlotte
Russe, or refrigerator cakes and pies are still the staple of many an accomplished amateur chef.