It’s that time year again in Terra Australis, when lush summer fruits are bursting forth. One fave is figs. If yours are ripe or the store is now stocking them, try this mouth-watering recipe from Katie and Giancarlo Caldesi’s tantalising new book, Tuscany – Simple Meals and Fabulous Feasts from Italy (Hardie Grant Books). If anyone knows how to finesse figs, the Italians do, and this one makes an ideal snack for those hot halcyon days.

We have a lovely old photograph of Giancarlo’s father, Memmo, picking figs with our son Giorgio when he was little. Giorgio is carrying a little basket and looking up at his grandfather with joy as he fills it with ripe figs from the tree outside Memmo’s house.Do use the ripest figs when in season, when they are naturally sweet and jammy. Alternatively, use berries, peach or nectarine slices, or persimmon. Even without the bread, this is a wonderful concoction. Most hotels in Italy will offer fresh ricotta, fruit and honey, and some have nuts on offer, so I often rustle this up for a healthy breakfast when staying away from home.

Serves Two People


2 thick slices countrystyle


125 g (4 oz/. cup) ricotta

or mascarpone

2 ripe figs or other soft fruit,

washed and trimmed

50 g (2 oz/ ½ cup) shelled

walnuts, roughly chopped

mild runny honey, such

as acacia, for drizzling


Toast the bread on both sides. Spread the cheese thickly on one side of each slice. Now slice or squash the figs, if really ripe and jammy, on top, scatter over the walnuts and drizzle with a little honey.





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