Pimento cheese: Some like it hot!

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Halloween has always been a fun night for my family — for both the adults and children.

The kids have always loved to go trick-or-treating, of course, and the adults have a lot of fun handing out candy to the scores of ghosts, goblins, princesses and superheroes who ring our doorbell.

But we also look forward to something else: the food!

Mama always made something special for Halloween night, and we have carried on the tradition, adding our own twist. I make several easy pick-up foods and appetizers, including a few favorite dips. I light Halloween candles for the table, use themed plates and set out the food for all to enjoy over the course of the evening.

My family usually requests the same appetizers, including a yummy hot broccoli dip and Rotel dip made with ground beef. I’ve added new recipes from time to time and have already had requests to do the same this year with the addition of pimiento cheese dip.

A few weeks ago, we attended a family gathering of my mama’s family. I wanted to take something new we could munch on while waiting for lunch to be ready.

I’ve always wanted to try a hot pimiento cheese dip, so I started doing my research. I read many, many recipes and noticed that several people say they just heat their regular pimiento cheese. Others add quite a few extra ingredients than what we use for our basic pimiento cheese recipe.

I love the pimiento cheese that my husband makes for my family, using the recipe my daddy used. But I wanted something different for the dip.

We do not use either sour cream or cream cheese in our sandwich pimiento cheese, but I added both for the dip. I also used a few dashes for Worcestershire sauce for extra flavor.

Reggie and I tasted the pimiento cheese before it went in the oven, and we both agreed it would be delicious not heated as well!

I was a little nervous taking a new recipe to a family gathering. There’s a lot of pressure when you have so many good cooks in the family! But I didn’t need to worry.

My cousins were not hesitant to try my new creation and were soon dipping pita chips and potato chips into the warm dip. The reviews were very good for this recipe from my immediate family as well as my cousins. I loved it too.

The dip is very flavorful, and the pimientos add just the right flavor to remind you of the Southern classic we like so well served between two slices of soft bread.

I only used half of the bar of cream cheese I purchased, and I’ve been very tempted to mix up another batch just for Reggie and me! But even if I don’t, I can look forward to eating it again on Halloween night.

Lisa’s Pimento Cheese Dip

If you like pimiento cheese, I think you will like this hot dip as well!

4 ounces cream cheese

2 8-ounce blocks of extra sharp cheddar cheese, grated*

1/2 cup olive oil mayonnaise (this is my preference)

1/2 cup sour cream

4-ounce jar of diced pimientos, drained

2 dashes Worcestershire sauce (or to taste)

Salt to taste (start with 1/4 teaspoon)

1/2 teaspoon sugar

Add cream cheese into a large bowl and mix with an eletric mixer until smooth. Add in all other ingredients and combine until smooth.

Spoon into baking pan and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes until hot throughout. Use clean paper towels to blot any cheese grease that accumulates on top.

Serve with a basket of crackers of pita chips.

* I used cheddar cheese the first time I made this. The next time, I might experiement with cheeses, maybe one extra sharp cheddar and one blend. Also, we grate cheese by hand for pimento cheese.

Lisa Boykin Batts