Vermont Pimento Cheese Spread

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At about the same time Spaniards started shipping preserved pimento peppers to the U.S. in 1870, farmers in upstate New York began making cream cheese. It was only a matter of time before these two unlikely companions met and an all American picnic, potluck, and football noshing favorite was born. This simple, limited ingredient version seeks a flavor balance pleasing to nearly everyone. Vermont cheddar adds a zing--the minerals in the water and soil that sustain the grass eaten by cows provides a unique flavor profile to the cheese that distinguishes this spread from other regional American cheddars. The ubiquitous orange character of most pimento cheese spreads comes from annatto, an additive used to standardize the color of cheese because milk color varies seasonally. New England cheese makers vehemently oppose adding dye to their cheese so this version is an uncharacteristically creamy white color. Whether served between ultra thin slices of white bread, atop Ritz crackers, or as a dip for veggie crudités, this spread crowd pleases.

 

Kitchen Notes

Any cheddar may be substituted, however the color will change to a bright orange if using orange cheese and the taste may be sharper. Vermont cheddar is less sweet, tangier, and more buttery tasting than Wisconsin cheddars. To get the similar flavor results using other cheddar, choose a sharper version. The taste will not be affected. This spread keeps 1 week in the refrigerator.

Ingredients

8 ounces Vermont mild cheddar cheese

3 tablespoons Hellman's mayonnaise

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

2 ounces Philadelphia cream cheese

1/2 cup pimento peppers, diced

Kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper

French mini toasts, thinly sliced white bread, crudité, optional

 

Directions

1. Cut the block of cheese into 4 pieces. Use the shredding disc to shred the cheese in the bowl of a food processor. Remove the cheese and change the blade to the sabatier blade.

2. Add the cheddar, cream cheese, mayonnaise, and cayenne pepper to the food processor bowl and whir to combine, but do not over do it. 

3. Pour the mixture into a glass bowl and fold in the pimento peppers. Season with salt & pepper to taste.

MAKES 1 CUP

 

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