Here is what I’m told on good authority is a classic cardinal slice: two meringue-layfinger layers sandwiching raspberry jam. Of course because I can’t leave anything alone I stirred lots of fresh raspberries into the jam and spiked the whole mess with kirsch. Hello Vienna!
It’s easy to see where this has a stronger claim to the name “cardinal”. Its colors are much more reminiscent of a Cardinal of the Catholic Church: gold, white and crimson. How does it compare to the espresso cream version below? Well, both are airy-light yet full of eggy flavor and elegant texture contrasts. Whereas the espresso cream version is rich to boot, the raspberry version is sweet and tangy. It’s very difficult for me to pick a favorite, honestly.
This slice calls for bigger layers. So if you want to try it, cut your parchment strips so they’re five inches wide versus three, and put them on separate sheet pans so they don’t run together. Use a pastry bag without a tip to pipe, making sure that the opening is right around an inch wide. Squeeze the very end of the bag gently as you pipe so that the opening doesn’t collapse, and pipe fat, tubular stripes.
The same amount of batter will provide enough for either version. You’ll have a little extra meringue batter, and just barely enough ladyfinger batter. Bake the layers a little longer, 7-9 minutes at 375, then a good 10-15 at 300, rotating the pans top-to-bottom. After cooling, you don’t necessarily need to freeze the layers. Just dust them amply with sugar so they’re easier to handle.
When you’re ready to shape, dust a work surface with powdered sugar, up-end one of the layers onto it and carefully peel off the parchment. Spread on the filling of your choice. Cut the other layer into serving-sized pieces and lay the tops on. Then just cut and serve. If you’re using raspberry, you’ll want to assemble just before serving so the jam doesn’t soak into the pastry.