Mostarda di Fico d’India

The Prickly Pear (Fico d’India in Italian) is a popular seasonal fruit in many Mediterranean countries including Italy, Malta, Morocco and Palestine. This dish is based on a traditional Sicilian recipe.


  • 25 ripe, peeled prickly pear fruits
  • 2 cups semolina
  • 1 heaped teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 10 cloves
  • 5 green cardamon pods
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon grated orange or mandarine peel
  • 1/2 cup crushed roasted almonds
  • 1/2 cup chopped pistacchio nuts
  • Sugar to taste


1. Place peeled prickly pears in a large pot to stew over a medium flame for about 30 minutes. Do not add water, as the fruits will soon dissolve to form a liquid.

2. When the fruits have dissolved, strain the liquid to remove the seeds.

3. Return the liquid to a smaller pot, at this point you should have over a litre of liquid. Add the cinnamon, cloves, cardamon and nutmeg and boil until the liquid has reduced a little. At this point you may prefer to remove the cloves and cardamon pods.

4. Slowly add the semolina to the liquid, sprinkling small amounts on the surface and stirring in well before adding more to avoid creating lumps.

5. Add the sugar and grated orange peel and mix thoroughly.

6. Transfer the liquid to suitable bowls and allow to cool.

7. Finish with a sprinkle of crushed/chopped almonds and pistacchio nuts.

Serves 6

Peeled prickly pears.
Stewing the prickly pears.
Straining the seeds.
Spice mix.
Finished product.