Peach and Thyme Clafoutis

It’s stone fruit season, hell yeah!!!  Peaches are one of my all-time favorite fruits and this time of year I tend to put them in everything.  This week alone I’ve already planned some recipes sweet, savory and alcoholic: Old Fashioned Peach Pie, Grilled Peach and Carrot Salad with Carrot Top Mint Pesto and Boozy Peach Slush, to name a few.

Clafouti is traditionally made with cherries and I managed one in a few weeks back with some beauties from my buddy Pete’s CSA.  Yesterday, though, the peaches at the Los Feliz Farmer’s Market were sweet, juicy and on point, so that’s what I used.  This is a delicious custard dessert best served luke warm with a dusting of powdered sugar and some whipped cream or crème fraîche.

Serves 6


¼ stick butter, room temperature

1 ¼ cup milk

¼ cup sugar

3 eggs

1 tbsp vanilla

Splash brandy

Pinch salt

2 tbsp fresh thyme, chopped

½ cup AP flour

4 ripe peaches, sliced

¼ cup brown sugar

Whipped cream or crème fraîche, for garnish


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Butter an 8-cup baking dish and set aside.

In a blender, add the milk, sugar, eggs, vanilla, brandy, salt, thyme and flour.  Blend until smooth.  Pour a ¼ inch layer of the mixture into the prepared dish and bake for approximately 3-5 minutes to set the batter.  Remove the baking dish from the oven and spread the peaches evenly throughout.  Top with the brown sugar and pour the rest of the batter over the peaches.  Bake for until the clafouti has puffed up, is golden brown and a knife inserted into the center comes out clean.  This takes approximately 35-45 minutes.

Serve the clafoutis warm with a dollop of whipped cream or crème fraîche for added extravagance.


Cardamom Rice Pudding with Golden Raisins and Mango

When I land in the nursing home, I want you all to do me a big favor (I’m looking directly at my nephews Bennett and Harrison) and please make sure you give this recipe to the cooks.  In my diapered, toothless state of decay I would much rather eat this glorious version of rice pudding than the gelatinous instant garbage I would otherwise be fed.  Rice pudding is one of those desserts that is mostly just okay 99% of the time and I will never understand how that weird place in SoHo, Rice to Riches is still in business.  In fact, I’m partially offended that I have to see it out the window when I’m having morning beers at The Spring Lounge; a constant reminder that NYC dive bars are dying because people would rather pay $8 for a cup of pudding than sit next to a toothless old man drinking beer and regaling days of yore.  All this complaining aside, I do think rice pudding deserves better than it is mostly treated.  It is an extremely economical way to use up leftover rice and with a few jazzy ingredients like rose water and cardamom, it becomes almost elegant considering it’s still a pudding.  It can also be made ahead of time, served at room temperature or cold, and it’s great for all ages, especially for our dentally challenged young and old.

Serves 4


1 cup cooked rice

½ cup whole milk

½ cup heavy cream

1 can coconut milk

1 tbsp rosewater

¼ cup sugar

½ tsp cardamom, ground

¼ tsp cinnamon, ground

Pinch salt

½ cup golden raisins

½ cup mango, diced


In a medium pan, add the rice and milk and bring to a boil.  Turn the heat down and add the cream, coconut milk, rosewater, sugar, cardamom, cinnamon and salt.  Simmer, stirring frequently for 10-15 minutes or until the rice has thickened.  Remove from the heat and stir in the raisins.  Transfer the pudding to individual serving bowls.  Garnish with the mango.

*Note:  This pudding can be served at room temperature or cold.  If you are planning on chilling the pudding, make sure that you put a layer of plastic wrap on the surface of each pudding to prevent a film from forming.


Simple Blueberry Cream Cheese Tart

This insanely easy tart is a perfect last-minute,HOLY CRAP-PEOPLE ARE COMING OVER-I NEED A DESSERT PRONTO-dessert! Do yourself a favor and keep a package of store-bought puff pastry in your freezer at all times.  It will come in handy for moments like this and when you’ve got a buttload of veggies that are about to go bad, you can make a quick pot pie with very little effort.  I learned to make puff pastry or as the French say, pâte feuilletée, at the former French Culinary Institute (now International Culinary Center) and while there is no comparing delicious homemade puff with Pepperidge Farm, I don’t always have time to be wacking a solid pound of butter into flour and folding it a thousand times.  You can use any fruit you’d like on this tart, cook ’em or throw them on juicy and raw, it’s all good in the hood.  This would be pretty and delicious as part of a brunch buffet too.  If you’re gonna go that way, make one of my mimosa variations, My Darling Clementhyme for buzzy good times.

Serves 6


1 pkg puff pasty, thawed

1 egg, beaten

4 tbsp sugar

1 pkg cream cheese, softened

½ cup heavy cream

1 tsp vanilla extract

¼ cup confectioner’s sugar

2 pints blueberries

1 lemon, juice and zest


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

On a floured surface, roll the puff pastry into a long rectangle, about 10×14.  Place on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper.  Score a 1” border around the outside of the pastry being careful not to cut all the way through.  Brush the border with egg and sprinkle it with half of the sugar.  Bake until it puffs up and is golden brown, about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, place the blueberries, lemon juice and zest and the remaining sugar in a small pot.  Cook over medium heat just to break down the blueberries slightly and for the sugar to melt, about 5 minutes.  Remove from the heat and cool.

While the blueberries and pastry are both cooking, mix together the cream cheese, heavy cream, vanilla.  Sift in the confectioner’s sugar and set aside.

When the puff pastry is done, remove from the oven and immediately rescore around the edge and lightly press down the inside of the pastry to flatten it.  Allow it to cool.

To assemble the pastry, spread the cream cheese onto the baked tart within the border and top with the blueberries. Dust with powdered sugar et voila!