My third year of college, I spent fall semester in Florence, Italy. Immediately, I fell in love with the place–the different-from-home hum of the streets, trips to the market, gelato strolls, counter side cappuccinos, and, of course, the figs.
Hang on, I think “fell in love with figs” might be the understatement of the decade. This was no fleeting love, this was deep, down, stupid, do-anything love. Fig season was in full swing when I arrived and if I hadn’t been similarly mesmerized by all the other foodstuffs that I was surrounded by, I could have lived off them. I took long walks, casing neighborhoods and hillsides that had fig branches hanging over gates and fences. I was not afraid to scale walls, I…should probably stop there.
If I managed to get any of the figs back to my apartment, I mostly I just quartered them and ate them in their natural state or with a bit of honey and a wedge of cheese. If I had slowed down long enough, I like to imagine I would have baked something like this cake. This is another distinctly Italian tasting cake–not too sweet, not too heavy, moist with ricotta cheese and loaded with almond flavor–topped with thick slices of juicy, ripe figs. It’s delicious as dessert with a spoonful of whipped cream and heavenly next to a cappuccino in the morning.