Baked peaches for a baking planet.

A few of Steve’s “friends” (mostly the Facebook and “Fox & Friends” kind) might deny any existence of global climate change. Try as they might, though, they can’t deny it’s been horribly hot in Gourmandistani territory the past week or so. All-time heat records are being broken every day. The astonishing heat contributed to something called a “land hurricane” that swept through not too far from here, killing several and knocking out power to millions without any letup in temperature. One of Steve’s meatspace mates has been bemoaning the loss of his childhood vacation dude ranch as Colorado Springs continues to burn. Our response to the apocalyptic hellscape unfolding before us? Resent our neighbors’ appalling inaction, redouble our own (possibly insignificant) efforts to tread lightly on the planet, and renew our acquaintance with Donna Hay and her recipe for Baked Vanilla Rice Peaches. (It’s Gourmandistan. Whatever happens, we’re going to eat.)

An author, editor and food stylist, Hay has produced numerous beautifully-photographed cookbooks and magazines with simple recipes. Some leftover rice, a little sugar, cream and vanilla and some fresh peaches are really all you need. The light, lovely little dish brings out the sweetness of our summer peaches with only about 30 minutes of oven time, and that’s something we really appreciate right now. Remembering this recipe reminded us that Sydney, Australia’s answer to Martha Stewart might call to us again—but right now it’s just too damn hot.


(adapted from Donna Hay’s Off the Shelf: Cooking From the Pantry)

  • 1/3 c. cooked rice
  • 1/6 c. crème fraîche or heavy cream
  • 1 t. vanilla
  • 1/2 TB white sugar
  • 2 peaches
  • Butter
  • Demerara sugar

Combine rice, cream, vanilla and white sugar in a bowl.

Lightly butter the bottom of a small baking dish.  Halve the peaches and remove the stones.  If the halves don’t sit straight, slice off a bit from the bottoms.  Place in baking dish.  Put a tiny bit of butter in the cavities.  Sprinkle peaches lightly with demerara sugar.  Mound the rice mixture over the peach halves.  Sprinkle more demerara sugar on top.

Tent aluminum foil over.  Bake in a 350° oven for 20 minutes or so.  Remove the foil and bake for 5 minutes more.  Then turn on broiler and cook until sugar on top is browned.



  1. If locusts and frogs are next, I’m moving to Canada!

    It’s true that this weather has been insanely extreme this year. We are already. We are already getting peaches and corn — early for the northeast! And it’s hot, hot, hot! The city has turned into a giant pizza stone and I have seen nothing all day but chihuahuas barking at their owners to put them in their handbags. It’s sad really.

    But these baked peaches look yummy. What kind of rice did you use? I was thinking carnaroli or another risotto rice would be nice. Kind of like back rice pudding. I have done a similar recipe with crushed up amaretti biscuits instead of rice, thick cream poured on top. Peaches and cream!

    • Thanks, Daisy! This was just some sort of Spanish rice. We made it previously with some leftover jasmine. Actually, after I’d thrown it into the rice cooker today, I spied some arborio in the pantry and thought, “why in the world didn’t I use that?” We both laughed out loud at your description of the chihuahuas and the purses! And, we’ll join you in Canada. This is brutal.

  2. I’ve seen many baked and grilled peaches but none were topped with sugary rice. I like the sound of that, especially when placed under the broiler. I’l definitely be giving these a try before peach season ends this year. Thanks!

    • It was a clever idea, wasn’t it? I really like some of Donna Hay’s cookbooks, especially that one. I used to buy her magazines as well, but they got mighty expensive + the different hemisphere thing made them seem a bit jarring.

  3. Oh.. do all come to Canada.. Calgary, in fact, you’d cool right down since we’ve had countless rain storms and such unseasonably cool weather this year! Those peaches.. fantastic with their little scoops of rice.. I’ve seen peach recipes popping up, but we won’t have peaches for another month.. I guess that’s one reason you may not want to come here, lol!

    • Thanks, Roger. I was trying for it. But, between the oppressive heat prohibiting outside anything and the fact that we’ve got a slew of house painters here and things are strewn everywhere, it was impossible to find decent light.

  4. I just stopped by my favorite orchard for their latest fresh picked unnamed peaches #34 and boy the sample made me buy large in lieu of the 1/2 peck I usually buy. This will go great with pork tenderloin.

  5. What a lovely dessert. We don’t have sweet peaches in New England as yet. We all need to be aware of how the climate is changing. Happy that the terrible storm didn’t hit where you are.

    • Thanks, Karen! Yeah, we lucked out on the most recent storms. I loved your piece about the loons. It’s all rather depressing. But, like the folks at Chez Panisse during the earthquake, I guess we’ll at least eat and drink well in the meantime.

  6. I’m so happy that you escaped the catastrophe. Eating and drinking well is very important during stressful times. You should have seen the food that I prepared for my friends after Hurricane Andrew destroyed south Florida when we lived in Key Largo. I’m glad you enjoyed my post about how all the weather problems have effected the wildlife at our summer cottage in Maine. Thanks.

  7. This post made me sad and hungry at the same time. I’m sorry to hear Gourmandistan is broiling. The peaches seem like good consolation, though.

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