the dish

Mercado Little Spain’s Cardenal Is a Whipped Cream Cloud of Pastry Perfection

Like the rest of the sprawling food hall that is Mercado Little Spain, its pastry case is practically a Eurail Pass through regional Iberian gastronomy, where, alongside Galician almond cakes and fried Catalan xuixos, you’ll find a cream-sandwich delicacy called the cardenal. While the Majorcan town of Lloseta has historically claimed ownership, Mercado partner Albert Adrià learned the recipe at an illustrious Barcelona pastry shop whose founder had gleaned it from a visiting Austrian chef. Murky provenance notwithstanding, the cardenal is a cloudlike confection worthy of a New York stage. The customary large-format version has undergone a few tweaks for its local debut, including a reduction in size and the addition of a warm chocolate sauce, but its essence — ethereally light and tantalizingly rich — endures.

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On the menu at the Pasteles stand at Mercado Little Spain; $10; 10 Hudson Yards; 646-495-1242

*This article appears in the April 29, 2019, issue of New York Magazine. Subscribe Now!

Mercado Little Spain’s Cardenal Is Pastry Perfection