A Cardinal Slice is supposed to be a traditional Austrian dessert of meringue/ lady fingers layered between a caramel/ coffee pastry cream.
The only thing Cardinal about my dessert was the one that may have been needed to say a prayer for it once I realized that I left out a key ingredient in my lady finger batter.
It was going along swimmingly up until that point.
I had researched the recipe and had a plan. Since I knew that meringue and foam batters were a nemesis of mine (and this recipe required both to be baked into alternating strips - at the same time), I was going to do whatever I could to be successful.
I woke up early on Sunday morning to beat the humidity.
I pre-measured all the ingredients and had them at the correct temperature.
I made the burnt caramel/espresso syrup.
Precut my parchment strips.
Had piping bags and tips ready.
My meringue came out looking great and piped out beautifully.
The ladyfinger batter was a bit runny, but I figured it was just me... So I piped it out anyway. I placed the pans in the oven, turned around and immediately saw the bowl with the flour still sitting on the counter.
The best made plans of mice and men, and all that.
At that point, there wasn't much to be done but forge ahead and make the best of it. Heck, with all those eggs and sugar it couldn't be all bad, right?
Fortunately, there was enough structure in the meringue stripes to keep this from becoming a total loss. Once the whipped cream was sandwiched between the meringue layers, the dessert looked less disastrous.
At this point, I had a house showing in less than two hours that I needed to start cleaning for, so I tossed it all in the freezer and crossed my fingers.
When it came time to serve the dessert, I threw some macerated strawberries (with a little Triple-Sec thrown in for good luck) on top of the slice and topped it with the espresso flavored whipped cream. I decided that the fact that the dessert was supposed to be three inches taller could remain the cook's secret... All's fair in love and baking, right?
1) I enjoyed the process of this dessert. I will probably never (ever) attempt to make it again, but I am glad I tried it.
2) Mise en place only works if you use it...
3) Strawberries and whipped cream can save almost anything.
This post participates in Tuesdays with Dorie. A version of this classic Viennese show stopper can be found here. I appreciated the journey that one man took to perfect this dessert.