Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Jalapeño Pimento Cheese Canapés

Jalapeño Pimento Cheese Canapé, overhead view on black

Perfect for Super Bowl festivities

Come Super Bowl time, we start thinking of party fare, like dips and snacks. Which makes sense—in the US, the Super Bowl is almost synonymous with munchies.

Want to change up your appetizer routine this time? Well, you’ve probably seen pre-made pastry shells at your supermarket (the ones that often are made from phyllo—fillo—dough). Just fill them with a dip or spread, and you’ve got instant canapés.

Easy! And with these morsels on the table, you’re ready for gridiron glory.


Jalapeño Pimento Cheese Canapés

Recipe: Jalapeño Pimento Cheese Canapés

We’ve written about Pimento Cheese before. This delicious combo of cheddar cheese and pimentos is a staple in the southern US. Add jalapeños to the mix, and you’ve made a good thing even better.

Jalapeño Pimento Cheese tastes better if made a couple of hours ahead of time (so the flavors get to mingle). Better yet, make it the day ahead. But don’t fill the pastry shells with the cheese spread until an hour or so before you’re ready to serve—so the shells don’t get soggy.

It takes about 5 minutes to prepare the jalapeño pimento cheese, plus another 5 minutes to fill the pastry shells.

This recipe makes about 1½ cups of pimento cheese, enough to fill around 2 dozen shells. You can store leftover pimento cheese in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week.

Ingredients
  • ½ pound grated cheddar cheese, preferably sharp or extra-sharp (I often buy packaged, pre-grated cheese; see Notes)
  • 1 or 2 jalapeño peppers (to taste)
  • one 4-ounce jar canned pimentos (see Notes)
  • ¼ to ½ cup mayonnaise (to taste; I prefer more rather than less)
  • black pepper to taste (about ¼ teaspoon for me)
  • salt to taste (optional, but I find some is needed; a couple big pinches of Kosher salt is usually enough)
  • cayenne pepper to taste (about ½ teaspoon for me; but it you don’t like spicy, use less or omit it)
  • pre-made, ready-to-serve pastry shells (often sold frozen; see Notes)
  • garnish of jalapeño pepper slices (optional)
Procedure
  1. Grate the cheese (if not using the pre-grated variety). Place the cheese in a mixing bowl.
  2. Wash the jalapeño peppers and cut them lengthwise. Use a teaspoon to scoop out the ribs and seeds (be careful, the oil on these is hot; keep fingers away from your eyes). Chop the peppers into very small dice (or use a mini food processor). Add the chopped peppers to the mixing bowl with the cheese. Then wash your hands with soap and water to remove the hot jalapeño oil from your skin.
  3. Drain the pimentos. Add them to the mixing bowl with the cheese.
  4. Add about half the mayonnaise you think you’ll need, then mix all the ingredients together. In addition to adding flavor, the mayo helps “dilute” the cheese so you’ll get a nice, spreadable texture. Keep adding mayonnaise until you get the consistency you want.
  5. Add black pepper, optional salt, and cayenne to taste. (You may want to add a bit at a time and keep tasting.) Stir well to incorporate. The longer you mix the ingredients, the smoother the cheese will become. But a chunky texture is nice—and that’s what I usually make.
  6. Pack the Jalapeño Pimento Cheese into an airtight container and refrigerate for at least two hours, so the flavors develop (although you can serve it right away if you wish).
  7. When ready to serve: If you purchased frozen pre-made pastry shells, remove them from the freezer and allow them to thaw at room temperature for about 10 minutes. Fill each shell with about a tablespoon of jalapeño pimento cheese (a #60 scoop works perfectly for this; see Notes). Garnish with a slice of jalapeño pepper if desired, and serve.
Jalapeño Pimento Cheese Canapés

Notes
  • It’s traditional to use sharp cheddar cheese in this recipe, but regular or mild cheddar also works, if that’s what you prefer. Most people use yellow cheese, but feel free to substitute white cheddar.
  • If you’re buying supermarket brand cheese (which is fine for this recipe), you might want to consider buying the stuff that’s already grated. I once did a taste test comparing the regular and grated cheddar cheese sold under my supermarket’s house brand. I couldn’t tell the difference. Plus, the grated variety was actually cheaper than the chunk cheese. Go figure.
  • It’s fun to use a mix of cheeses in this dish (for example, half cheddar and half mild white cheese, such as Monterey Jack). Or for added flavor, maybe a Pepper Jack.
  • Some people like to include a bit of cream cheese. For this recipe, you might try adding 2 ounces. If you do so, you’ll probably need less mayo—probably no more than ¼ cup.
  • Bottom-line when it comes to cheese: Use what you like. (I suggest making the recipe as written once so you’ll know the basics; then start playing with it.)
  • Canned pimentos are traditional in this dish. They add some flavor, but it’s mainly their color that’s appealing. 
  • If you want to go all out, you can roast a whole red pepper instead of using canned pimento. Once the pepper is roasted, remove the blackened skin and cut the pepper into small dice.
  • If you live in the southern United States, you’ll probably use Duke brand mayonnaise when you make Pimento Cheese. But Duke is not available in most of the country, so elsewhere the mayo of choice is Hellmann’s (in the western US, it’s called Best). Or you can use Homemade Mayo, of course. BTW, Miracle Whip doesn’t work well in this recipe (it’s too sweet). 
  • If you want, you can heat the filled pastry shells in the oven for a few minutes to melt the cheese a bit—turning a cold canapé into a hot one. 
  • You can also fill the pastry shells with almost any dip or spread you can imagine. 
  • You’ll often find pre-made pastry shells in the frozen foods section of your supermarket. You can store them at room temperature, but they keep for months in the freezer. They usually thaw in a few minutes and are ready to use—perfect for impromptu parties. 
  • We find that a #60 disher (scoop) digs out just the right amount of cheese for each shell. (It’s called a #60 disher because the bowl is sized so that each scoop is about 9/16th of an ounce, or a little over 1 tablespoon. Thus, you’ll get 60 scoops per quart of cheese when you use this size disher.)
Jalapeño Pimento Cheese Canapés

Dips R Us

“Good stuff!” said Mrs. Kitchen Riffs, biting into a Jalapeño Pimento Cheese Canapé. “And eating these little pastry shells makes me feel fancy.”

“Some of our other dips would work great in these shells too,” I said. “Like our classic California Clam Dip. Or Smoky Salmon and Cream Cheese Dip. That one would be particularly good heated in the oven. So would our Artichoke Dip with Cheddar Cheese.”

“Or you could use one of our Asian-themed dips,” said Mrs K R. “You know, the Shrimp Toast Dip or the Crab Rangoon Dip.”

 “Then there’s that universal favorite, Velveeta Tex-Mex Dip,” I said. “That one’s always best served warm. But I think I’d prefer it with tortilla chips, rather than in one of these little pastry shells. Tradition is tradition, you know.”

“Speaking of which,” said Mrs K R, “you’ll recall my tradition of never watching the Super Bowl.”

“Yes, though you always sample the snacks I make for the big game.”

“Of course,” said Mrs K R. “And I’m sure you’ll be making a main course, too. Because Riffs do not live by dip alone.”

“Absolutely,” I said. “In fact, I’m working on a new recipe for an old favorite.”

“Sounds intriguing,” said Mrs K R. “Can you reveal it?”

“Well,” I said, “we haven’t had mac ‘n cheese for ages. So I’m going to make us a Bacon Macaroni and Cheese for game day.”

“Cool,” said Mrs K R, crunching a pastry shell. “Cheesy and dippy, that’s us.”

She has such a way with words.

You may also enjoy reading about:
Smoky Salmon and Cream Cheese Dip
California Clam Dip
Artichoke Dip with Cheddar Cheese
Velveeta Tex-Mex Dip
Shrimp Toast Dip
Crab Rangoon Dip
Homemade Mayonnaise
Pimento Cheese
Or check out the index for more recipes

118 comments:

  1. These are so cute but I bet they pack a punch!

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    1. Hi Caroline, these can pack a bit of a punch! Although pretty tame if you skip the garnish of a jalapeño pepper slice. Thanks for the comment.

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  2. Replies
    1. Hi Underground Restaurant Chef, aren't these nice? And so easy, too! Thanks for the comment.

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  3. Hi John , boy do these canapes look so delicious , I love the heat and all the ingredients . What a surprise I will have at my Super Bowl party , and like you I will make it a day ahead so the flavors can mix . Have a wonderful week and thanks so much for sharing :)

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    1. Hi Nee, aren't these nice? Loads of flavor, and really fun to eat. Thanks for the comment.

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  4. tell Mrs. KR that eating those little pastry shells makes me feel very fancy, as well. :) great recipe! And a great way to make pimento cheese land on my superbowl food list.

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    1. Hi Shannon, it's fun to be fancy, isn't it? ;-) Thanks for the comment.

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  5. I might even consider watching the game if these were on the table. I love pimento cheese. Growing up in Texas, every woman in my family has her own favorite recipe. Don't tell anyone (especially my aunt), but I don't use pimentos in the jar, I just use regular chopped, raw red bell pepper and love it that way. I love putting it in the little pastry cups. Thanks for this idea.

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    1. Hi Karen, I almost always use the jarred pimento, although I've tried chopping up raw red peppers, too. And you're right: it's good that way. But pimento cheese is good any which way! Thanks for the comment.

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  6. These are beautiful little bites and I'm sure it will be a winner come game time. Can't wait for this Sunday. It will be loud at our house that's for sure. Thank you John. :)

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    1. Hi Ray, aren't these fun? And incredibly tasty! Thanks for the comment.

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  7. Pimiento cheese IS fancy. I have attended more than one social, reception, or tea, where little pimiento cheese finger sandwiches were served on silver trays.

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    1. Hi Sage Trifle, I really like the idea of pimento cheese sandwiches being served on silver trays! Thanks for the comment.

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  8. I don't think I can make these cus I'd just eat all of them!

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    1. Hi Shikha, I totally know all about eating all of them! ;-) Thanks for the comment.

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  9. Do not put these in front of me. I would eat them all!

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    1. Hi Abbe, you too, huh? :D Thanks for the comment.

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  10. wow. These are adorable. And to just use purchased phyllo cups is brilliant! Love the jalapeno slice!

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    1. Hi Mimi, aren't they nice? It's fun coming up with ideas for those little phyllo cups. ;-) Thanks for the comment.

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  11. It is a very fancy looking appetiser. And what a great dish to pass around while watching the game. I love the look of the pastry cases. I love anything with jalepenos and pimentos so I'm sure I'll love these. xx

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    1. Hi Charlie, this really is a fun little appetizer. And so tasty! The pastry shells are really fun, and rather pretty. Thanks for the comment.

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  12. These look so good and perfect for 'the big game' that cannot be mentioned for legal reasons. I saw where Stephen Colbert is calling it Superb Owl. :)

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    1. Hi Maureen, Superb Owl is funny! But Colbert usually is. ;) Thanks for the comment.

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  13. Dee.lec..table, John! I was thinking of filling up won-tons as canapes but now that I see these phyllo canapes, I'm not taking any chances! The best part is I can make them as spicy as I want for me and a bit milder for Marion. She just informed me today that she has every intention of watching the game. Go figure! (I guess I shouldn't be too surprised she watches that wrestle mania stuff all the time, lol...Thanks for sharing, John. Sunday's dish sounds intriguing...

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    1. Hi Louise, won-tons work really well too, but these little pastry shells are so cute! And good idea making yours spicy, and Marion's milder. Thanks for the comment.

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  14. Pimento cheese gone upscale! Love it. Perfect for watching the Super Bowl in high style.

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    1. Hi Carolyn, upscale indeed! I should have photographed these on a silver platter. ;-) Thanks for the comment.

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  15. This is the kind of party food that I would stand near and casually wind up eating WAY too many of - yum!

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    1. Hi Alyssa, it really is too easy to overeat with these! Don't ask me how I know. ;-) Thanks for the comment.

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  16. You mentioned Velveeta Cheese- that brings back memories from the 50's - going shopping at Safeway and seeing that rectangular box of Velveeta on the shelves! We could use this Canapé recipe here in Australia- we need something to spice up all those very long Cricket games we watch on TV!

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    1. Hi Fran, Velveeta cheese is a hoot! I actually do use if for that dip -- it works really well! -- but that's about it. But when I was a kid, people used it all the time for mac 'n cheese and other stuff. Thanks for the comment.

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  17. Now you're singing my tune, John! You know I'm a southern boy and pimento cheese runs through my veins. I love it but putting it in a phyllo is over the top. Such a great Super Bowl party app! Awesome stuff!

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    1. Hi Bill, the phyllo shells really are a nice touch, if I do say so myself. ;-) This is truly a fun dish. Thanks for the comment.

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  18. These appetizers turned out so good, I bet they would make anyone reaching for one smile.. and then go for one more!

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    1. Hi Pamela, they really are great! And you can't stop at just one. ;-) Thanks for the comment.

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  19. This looks like an easy, yummy appetizer...and, like you mentioned, so many great options depending on what filling you choose. I'd be happy with any that you mentioned!

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    1. Hi Liz, this recipe -- more of an idea, really -- really does have a lot of alternatives. And all of them tasty! ;-) Thanks for the comment.

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  20. These look so cool and love that they're easy to make!

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    1. Hi Ashley, I'm always up for easy! As long as it's tasty. ;-) Thanks for the comment.

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  21. I know you guys get all excited about Super Bowl but I hardly know what it is. I know its sport of some kind but that's all - probably American football? Anyway, if all these tasty appetizers come out of it, then it's all good by me.

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    1. Hi Suzanne, yup -- American Football. The Superbowl is to the US what the World Cup is to most of the rest of the world (though not quite as crazed). Thanks for the comment.

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  22. Delicious! Great party food.

    Cheers,

    Rosa

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    1. Hi Rosa, isn't this nice? And truly delish, as you say. Thanks for the comment.

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  23. I could easily polish off a tray of these! Totally adorable and the jalepeno balances off the cheese filling so well!

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    1. Hi Shashi, it's all too easy to entire an entire tray of these! ;-) Thanks for the comment.

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  24. Hi, John! These canapes look fantastic for the super bowl and other festivities as well. What a fun starter!!!!

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    1. Hi Denise, aren't these fun? Nice little packages of flavor. ;-) Thanks for the comment.

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  25. We do not watch super bowl - not an european thing, but we do love good snacks :D

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    1. Hi Marta, you'd probably be in bed about the time the Super Bowl starts, or shortly thereafter because of the time difference! For a lot of people in the US it's just a good excuse for a party. ;-) Thanks for the comment.

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  26. Gorgeous, dainty and delicious. Perfect party food. I like the chili.....the heat, to match the creaminess and the crunch.

    Thanks for sharing

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    1. Hi Kitchen Butterfly, a little spicy heat is always good in an appetizer! Thanks for the comment.

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  27. Perfect snack for Super Bowl!!! My boys are husband are looking forward for the game and I have to make the super bowl food too :) Its fun even though I don't watch the whole game just like Mrs. Riffs, but preparing the food and enjoying it together is fun!!!

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    1. Hi Shibi, the food is the best part about the Super Bowl -- great excuse for a party! Thanks for the comment.

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  28. John, these look so cute and delicious. Make a couple of cocktails from your blog - and you're all set for the Super Bowl this weekend! :)

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    1. Hi Julia, don't these look like fun? Perfect with cocktails! ;-) Thanks for the comment.

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  29. How Gorgeous are these! I do watch the game game including the half time show.. It's my one day to indulge in some "feet up" time.. though the feet won't be up and the heart would be skipping a beat or two. #Go Broncos !

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    1. Hi Ansh, these really do look nice, don't they? And so tasty! Hope the SB is a great game! Thanks for the comment.

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  30. These are cute and definitely perfect for any party, especially a Super Bowl party!

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    1. Hi Laura, there really are great at any kind of party. Really tasty! Thanks for the comment.

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  31. Replies
    1. Hi Kiran, these are cute! And tasty. ;-) Thanks for the comment.

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  32. I love these. They sound like they are fast to make and really tasty.

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    1. Hi Dawn, these really can be made in a jiffy! Which is often a good thing. ;-) Thanks for the comment.

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  33. What a fabulous, bite-sized super bowl appetizer! These look so good John. Thank you for sharing them!

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    1. Hi Monet, these are really fun, not to mention tasty. Great combo, huh? ;-) Thanks for the comment.

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  34. I almost wish we were celebrating the superbowl so we could make these. Guess it'll just be something I'll have to keep for myself. A really appetizing looking appetizer!

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    1. Hi Ala, keeping them for yourself is always a good option! You get a lot more than way. ;-) Thanks for the comment.

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  35. Set a plate of these beauties in front of me and they would disappear. WOW! These would be very addicting!!! Great snacks for Sunday! Thanks John!

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    1. Hi MJ, these really are addictive. As you might guess, I know this from personal experience.;-) Thanks for the comment.

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  36. YOU HAD ME AT CHEESE!!!
    Yum!
    ...such a gorgeous way to serve it as well, I will have to hold this recipe in reserve for our football season ;)

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    1. Hi Julie, really hard to resist cheese, isn't it? Especially with a bit of added spice! Thanks for the comment.

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  37. These have me hungry just looking at them, and craving that extra crunchy juicy bite of spice that the jalapeno brings. No little cups for me in India unless I make 'em from scratch myself, but I did bring a jar of pimentos back with me from last year's travels, so this is very much within reach--and no superbowl sharing here neither!!

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    1. Hi Deepa, you can make these little cups at home, but it's a pain. Just use chips, or spread this on crackers! Thanks for the comment.

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    2. Precisely my plan--the cups are a pain even for the most ardent of DIYers. On a separate note, your patience in responding to every comment is remarkable. Makes me feel right at home :)

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    3. Hi Deepa, glad you feel at home! I appreciate all comments, so I want to answer them. Plus the comments are fun! I often learn things from them, and definitely get to know people better through them!

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  38. Oh my goodness ... you just put all of my favorite things into another one of my favorite things ... it's beautiful!

    I'm definitely making a batch of these soon!

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    1. Hi Kimberly, aren't these fun? Tasty, plus they look pretty. Touchdown! ;-) Thanks for the comment.

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  39. This is such a cool dish. I was looking to serve some canapes in a party I am hosting next week, and this is perfect. Thanks so much! I think I might even try roasting the peppers.

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    1. Hi Minnie, isn't this fun? Really easy, and looks rather attractive. Best of all, it's delish! Thanks for the comment.

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  40. Where I come from we say "Pah-MEN-ah". GREG

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    1. Hi Greg, I call them Dee-LISH! ;-) Thanks for the comment.

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  41. Se ve muy delicioso y bonito sus canapè,un aperitivo fantàstico,abrazos.

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    1. Hi Rosita, doesn't this look nice? It's really a delish dish. ;-) Thanks for the comment.

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  42. I saw this picture in my rss feed and wanted to jump right into it! Great app for game day, looks gorgeous and I'm sure tastes even better!

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    1. Hi Kristy, isn't this nice? Tasty, and so easy to make! Thanks for the comment.

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  43. I had never heard of pimento cheese until I moved to the US and we had a pimento cheese sandwich that was served at the restaurant we owned. I wasn't even sure what it was made of, but I didn't dislike it, it had an addictive quality to it. This however, is much better! Love the idea of stuffing inside phyllo cups. Looks like your Super Bowl is set with some great eats! I do hope you're supporting The Broncos, John!!

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    1. Hi Nazneen, pimento cheese is really tasty stuff! And with a bit of kick like this one has? Wonderful! Hope you enjoy the big game, and thanks for the comment.

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  44. Love pimento cheese and these are so fun What a great idea to put it in little shells, great finger food!

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    1. Hi Chris, isn't pimento cheese so nice? Love its flavor! Thanks for the comment.

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  45. I love those little premade phyllo cups!! What a great idea, I think I will pick some up tomorrow and make this for my husband and his friends!

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    1. Hi Kristi, isn't this a fun (and tasty!) idea? And so easy to do, too. Thanks for the comment.

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  46. Have I ever stuffed phyllo cups with something savory?
    Gosh I don't think so, it's always been sweet or custard-like.
    I make pimento cheese on burgers and nacho's, so yeah I can see how good this way must be. Happy Superbowl Day. And thank you for all your thoughtful comments on my blog.

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    1. Hi Dawn, those little phyllo cups work really well with savories. Sweets, too, of course (and that's how I most often use them, too), but they really shine with something like this. Happy Super Bowl day to you, too, and thanks for the comment.

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  47. Well well this is a super great post my friend. Very easy to make and very spicy. I would use Pepper Jack as you suggested. I'll be waiting for your macaroni and cheese recipe.

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    1. Hi Amira, isn't this nice? Really tasty. Pepper jack is quite nice in this. Thanks for the comment.

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  48. Replies
    1. Hi Candy, aren't these wonderful? Thanks for the comment.

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  49. a very good color combination, the way she looks, gotta have a great and delicious taste ;)

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    1. Hi Aurica, isn't this nice? And I, too, like the way it looks! Thanks for the comment.

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  50. The flavours of this sound great! And they are such darling looking canapes.

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    1. Hi Amanda, isn't this a fun appetizer? Really delish, too. ;-) Thanks for the comment.

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  51. Replies
    1. Hi Sarah & Arkadi, really good ones! Thanks for the comment.

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  52. Love the vibrant and colorful canapes. Anything cheesy gets my attentions :) Thank you for sharing.

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    1. Hi Lail, I really like colorful food! And I agree with you about cheese -- such wonderfully good stuff! Thanks for the comment.

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  53. Great idea. So pretty! Hope no one missed any important part of the game because they were admiring them! :P

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    1. Hi Alex, lol! Actually two of the more interesting plays occurred right at the beginning of each half -- a time when a lot of people are just getting settled in with their drinks and appetizers. So I'll bet some folks did miss those. Thanks for the comment.

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  54. Hi John, oh my... this is so cute and pretty. Very impressive, like from 5 stars hotel. Thanks for sharing your wonderful recipe.

    Best regards.

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    1. Hi Amelia, isn't this fun? And so, so tasty! Totally worth trying. Thanks for the comment.

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  55. I know I'm not probably paying attention, but I've never seen those mini cups before! I thought you have to make them yourself but premade? Wow I gotta find these. These look fantastic for snack and appetizer. Thank you for introduction!

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    1. Hi Nami, check the frozen food aisle of your grocery store. Or if you don't see them, ask someone there -- they'll know what they are. They really are a nice thing to have on hand to make quick little appetizers like these. Thanks for the comment.

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  56. We're not done with parties yet. The Olympics are on now, and after the holidays and football events, I'm in desperate need of new appetizer recipes. This is definitely on the list.

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    1. Hi Kristi, this is really a fun -- and tasty! -- recipe. Definitely worth adding to your list. Thanks for the comment.

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  57. Every time I pick-up pimento cheese, it is always the jalapeño one......sooooo good! With my crazy schedule, I tend to buy pimento cheese, more than I make it. Here in the South you can find locally made in the stores, love that! Your canapés look so delicious, and would be perfect for any party! Take care, Terra

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    1. Hi Terra, when we lived in Florida we could buy decent pimento cheese at the supermarket. Other parts of the country? Much better to make your own! Thanks for the comment.

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  58. My mother in law makes something similiar just that she uses green chillis here since they are common in the market. I wonder how it would taste with jalapenos. John, somehow you have been posting a lot of recipes lately, which we make frequently here. Awesome! =)

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    1. Hi Helene, the green chilies are probably pretty similar in taste to the jalapenos (although of course the heat level may be more or less). Glad I'm posting recipes you know and enjoy! Thanks for the comment.

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