Peppadew® Cheese, a Fresh Twist on a Southern Classic
Peppadew® cheese is my version of a classic spread I grew up with. It’s perfect for stuffing celery sticks, spreading on crackers, or making the most decadent grilled cheese or quesadilla you’ll ever eat. Best of all, it’s the easiest appetiser you’ll ever make!
Warning: Peppadew® cheese is seriously addictive. In fact, it is so addictive that it drove the cultivation of 25,000 acres (10,117 ha) of pimentos in the American state of Georgia in the 1930s and 40s!
In the American South pimento cheese is a beloved staple. When I was a little girl, no holiday party was complete without a tray of pimento cheese stuffed celery sticks, and pimento cheese toast was a beloved treat.
Living in South Africa today, I am struck by what a fantastic variation of pimento cheese peppadews® create. They add an additional layer of sweetness and — if you use the hot variety — that extra little kick of heat southerners love.
Fortunately, South African peppadews® are now available in supermarkets worldwide. So, varying up your pimento cheese game with peppadews® is a no brainer!
The Peppadew® piquanté pepper comes from Limpopo province, South Africa, where it was discovered in 1993. It is a variety of capsicum baccatum, which comes from Central America. Nobody knows exactly how this unique pepper arrived in South Africa. However, thanks to world class bottling facilities in Limpopo, they’ve become a global phenomenon.
Significantly, all peppadews® are mildly spicy. In supermarkets they are labeled “mild” or “hot”. The mild variety has a slight bite, while the hot variety is several times milder than a jalapeño. Hot peppadews® are loosely comparable to poblanos.
However, it’s their mild sweetness that makes peppadews® truly unique. Their sweetness is very similar to that of pimentos, which is why they are an ideal substitute in recipes.
About the Recipe
This peppadew® cheese recipe comes together in mere minutes! It is the easiest holiday treat you will ever make.
However, as with any simple recipe, the devil is in the details! The few simple things I think are most important are as follows:
Homemade mayonnaise is lots better than store bought — and it’s dead easy to make. For this, and just about any other recipe, it’s well worth the effort to make your own. Once you realise just how easy (and inexpensive) good mayonnaise is, you will never buy it in a store again!
Though not essential, I strongly recommend homemade mayonnaise.
Buy the best quality cheese you can afford. I prefer cheese that’s been aged. However, you should choose the cheddar you like best.
Then, shred the cheese on a box grater or in a food processor. Avoid pre-shredded cheeses. Freshly shredded cheese works best.
If you enjoy mild heat, you will want to use hot peppadews®. If, on the other hand, your family is pepper averse, do stick with the mild peppadews®.
Depending on your kitchen, you can either chop the peppadews® by hand or with a mini chopper. Either way, be sure to leave a little texture, as it adds a bit of interest to the spread.
Following these few simple tips will result in a peppadew® cheese you can be proud of, and one your friends and family will adore. I hope you enjoy it as much as my family does. Bon appétit!