The Biscuits à la Cuillère, or Sponge Fingers, are one of the oldest traditional French cookies. They are prepared with the same ingredients and method for the past 400 years.
The Biscuit à la Cuillère literally translates to « Spoon Cake ». This unusual name dates back to the 17th century, when these cookies were placed on baking trays with spoons. Closer to the 19th century, their original round shape became elongated when the spoon was replaced by a funnel, then by a pastry bag. Although its shape has changed, the French continue to call them “Spoon Cake”!
The Sponge Fingers are soft, fluffy and lightly sweetened. They are commonly enjoyed alone or dipped in a coffee at Goûter Time, the French snacking time. These traditional cookies are also essential ingredients for amazing French desserts such as the Charlotte aux Fraises (Strawberry Charlotte).
Want to impress your guests? Here’s the recipe of the Strawberry Charlotte made with authentic French Sponge Fingers.
Preparation time: 45 mins
Cooking time: 5 mins
Ingredients for 4
For the syrup:
1/4 cup granulated white sugar
1/2 cup water
1 tbs lemon juice
For the filling:
18 Sponge Fingers
10 lbs fresh strawberries (you can also use frozen unsweetened strawberries)
½ cup granulated white sugar
6 sheets gelatin, soaked
1 ½ cup 35% cream
1. In a saucepan, bring ¼ cup of water with the sugar and lemon juice to a boil, stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Add the remaining water
2. Put 8 strawberries aside and place the rest in a blender or food processor whiz until smooth then push through a sieve to remove the seeds.
3. Place the gelatin in a bowl and cover with cold water for 5 minutes.
4. Transfer ¼ of the strawberry mixture to a sauce pan and add the drained gelatin and the sugar.
5. Pour the warm mixture into the cold one and let cool to room temperature.
6. Beat heavy cream in a mixer until stiff peaks form. Gently fold in the strawberry mixture until well mixed.
7. Slice the 8 last strawberries.
To assemble the Strawberry Charlotte:
8. Quickly dip the Sponge Fingers into the lemon syrup before lining up the bottom of the pan. Repeat the process and place them upright, flat side inward, along the inner walls of the pan.
9. Spread half of the strawberry cream and arrange half of sliced strawberries. Cover it with the remaining strawberry cream and top with a 2nd layer of sliced strawberries.
10. Gently cover and refrigerate the Charlotte at least 6 hours overnight to chill the mousse.
She is the co-founder of Bon Appétit Box. She was born & raised in Montpellier in the South of France and then spent 5 years exploring the culinary offerings of Paris. In her free time she loves to walk on the beach watching the sea scenery in every season. When she comes back to France, her favorite thing is to sit on terrace with friends and enjoy some cheese (she’s a fan of Roquefort!) with a glass of red wine of course!