Meringue and Ladyfinger Slices

Kardinalschnitten

Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Medium

  • Makes

    10 slices

Appears in

When the Viennese want to feel that they are eating a less sinful dessert, they order this ethereally light, spectacular-looking confection of alternating ladyfinger batter and meringue strips. It is said that the dessert got its name from the original red-currant filling, as red as a cardinal’s robes, but most bakeries now make it with apricot preserves. You will need two large pastry bags (at least 14 inches long) or extra-large plastic storage bags for the meringue and batter, two 7/16-inch-wide plain tips, and two 18-inch-long baking sheets.

Ingredients

Meringue

  • 8 large egg whites, at room temperature
  • ¾ cup plus 1 tablespoon granulated sugar

Ladyfinger Batter

  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 large egg yolks, at room temperature
  • cup granulated sugar
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • pinch of salt
  • Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting and garnish

Method

  1. Position two racks in the upper third and center of the oven and heat to 375°F. Line two 18 X 13 half-sheet pans with parchment paper.
  2. To make the meringue: Beat the whites in a large bowl with a handheld mixer on high speed until the whites form soft peaks. Gradually beat in the sugar and beat until the peaks are stiff and shiny.
  3. To make the ladyfinger batter: In another large bowl, beat the eggs, yolks, and granulated sugar on high speed until the mixture is very light and fluffy in texture and forms a thick ribbon that falls back on itself when the beaters are lifted a few inches, about 3 minutes. Beat in the vanilla. Sift the flour and salt over the mixture and fold it in.
  4. Fit two large pastry bags with 7/16-inch-wide plain pastry tips (such as Ateco Number 805). Spoon half of the meringue into one bag, and half of the ladyfinger batter into the other. Starting ½ inch from a long edge of one baking sheet, pipe a 16-inch-long strip of meringue. Now pipe a strip of ladyfinger batter alongside and touching the meringue. Repeat, alternating meringue and ladyfinger batter, to make a total of 4 meringue and 3 ladyfinger strips, forming a rectangle about 7 inches wide and 16 inches long. Repeat to make another rectangle on the other sheet. Sift confectioners’ sugar over the layers.
  5. Bake until golden brown and a ladyfinger strip springs back when pressed in the center, 15 to 20 minutes. (The layer on the upper rack may be done before the lower layer.) Cool completely on the sheets.
  6. Sift confectioners’ sugar over the cooled layers. With the strips running horizontally, place a baking sheet over one layer, invert, and peel away the parchment, leaving the layer upside down. (Don’t worry—the cake is pretty flexible.) Using a serrated knife, trim the short ends, and cut the layer in half vertically. Brush one half with ¼ cup of the warm apricot glaze. Top with the other half, right side up; the two halves are now back to back. Slice vertically into 5 pieces. Repeat the procedure with the other layer and remaining preserves. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate until serving.

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