How about something sweet ? This confection, which I’ve known about as long as I’ve known my husband (that would be…19 years or so, yikes), is no longer something I can eat, as it has almonds – but I remember it fondly from our college days (when he made it recently for a work potluck he got roundly scolded for making something his wife couldn’t eat). It’s been handwritten in the back of our old Moosewood Cookbook forever, along with the Sour Cream Coffeecake and the Red Bell Pepper Pesto. I hadn’t realized the story behind the recipe’s name until recently, so I asked him to write a little about it:
It’s amazing how one rarely questions the things with which one has grown up. Take this dessert. Chocolatey and creamy, it’s almost a mousse, but then there are the ground almonds, giving it a firmer texture and a little bit of gritty crunch before it dissolves. That’s not a mousse; it’s caribou. Or at least that’s what we called it in my family.
Only when I got into cooking and baking in college and begged the recipe from my mother did I discover that it had another name – La Reine de Saba (the Queen of Sheba). Once again, I didn’t question the name. I had suspected that caribou was not the actual name, and La Reine de Saba sounded reasonable.
Except that this dessert isn’t like any of the other versions of La Reine de Saba that I have found. Those versions all have eggs, and most have at least a little bit of flour, yielding a dense, fudgy cakelike product. My family’s version is definitely not fudgy or cakelike. But it is mighty tasty.
Caribou (Reine de Saba)
- 12 oz chocolate chips
- 4 oz German sweet chocolate
- 1 stick unsalted butter
- 4 oz ground almonds
- 2 Tbsp Creme de Cacao, Grand Marnier, Tuaca or other liqueur
Whip 1 cup cream. Fold it into the chocolate mixture. Scrape into a buttered 1 qt casserole and chill 2-3 hours. Cut into squares and serve. Getting the first piece out is always hard – better eat that one.