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At the height of fig season in late summer and early autumn, use some of the fully ripe fruits to make these simple yet elegant toasts. At other times of the year, soak dried figs in very hot water for 30 minutes, then slice and use in place of the fresh ones. A small glass of sweet wine is the ideal partner.

Ingredients:

  • 6 Tbs. mascarpone cheese
  • 1 Tbs. sweet Marsala wine
  • 1 1/2 tsp. plus 1 Tbs. sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 6 slices coarse country bread, each 5 by 3 inches
  • Unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 6 ripe figs, sliced

Directions:

Preheat a broiler.

In a small bowl, stir together the mascarpone, Marsala and the 1 1/2 tsp. sugar. In another small bowl, stir together the 1 Tbs. sugar and the cinnamon.

Place the bread slices on a small baking sheet. Broil until nicely toasted on the top. Remove the bread from the broiler and turn the slices over. Spread each slice with butter, then sprinkle with 1/2 tsp. of the cinnamon sugar, dividing it evenly. Return to the broiler and broil until beginning to brown.

Remove from the broiler. Spread about 1 Tbs. of the mascarpone mixture over each toast. Top with the fig slices, arrange on a platter and serve immediately.
Serves 6.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Lifestyles Series, After Dinner, by Kristine Kidd (Time-Life Books, 1998).