Pimento cheese spread is so common these days I can buy several brands of prepared spread in the grocery cheese case. When I am really desperate, it’s not a bad option.
But when I taste a homemade spread, I am transported to a picnic from my childhood in my grandmother’s yard: The buzz of cicadas, the cows gently grazing just beyond the fence, and the precious shade provided by her huge oak trees are all part of my memory. For me, white sandwich bread with a thick slather of freshly made pimento cheese, a sweating Ball jar of sweet iced tea and potato chips delivered in a can is backyard picnic heaven.
While just a basic recipe, the secret to my Classic Pimento Cheese Spread is letting the cheese and cream cheese come to room temperature before mixing them with a stand mixer. Having a paddle attachment is helpful but not necessary. Unlike a food processor or chopper, the mixer combines the ingredients without obliterating them, so there’s a touch of cream cheese, a lump of cheddar and a discernible pimento in every bite.
You can make your pimento cheese as spicy as you’d like by adding additional black pepper and cayenne. As the recipe is currently written, it’s a mild mixture with only the slightest heat at the finish.
Contact Alicia Ross at Kitchen Scoop, c/o Universal Uclick, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106, or send email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Classic Pimento Cheese Spread
Start to finish: 10 minutes
Yield: About 3 cups
3 cups sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (at room temperature)
8 ounces cream cheese (at room temperature)
½ cup light or regular mayonnaise
1/3 cup jarred pimento peppers, drained well and chopped
½ teaspoon onion powder
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper, or more to taste
1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper, or more to taste
Combine all the ingredients using a mixer with paddle attachment if possible. Mix just until blended. Serve immediately, or store covered in the refrigerator until ready to serve. Best if brought back to room temperature before serving. Will keep, sealed and refrigerated, for up to 5 days.
Approximate values per tablespoon: 55 calories, 5 g fat (3 g saturated), 13 mg cholesterol, 2 g protein, 1 g carbohydrates, no dietary fiber, 87 mg sodium.