I hate to sound like a party pooper, but since having a kid, I have basically no interest in New Year’s Eve. Or, more to the point, I have no interest in staying up until midnight — for any reason.
But I still find the idea of New Year’s Eve celebrations appealing: the fireworks, the glitz and, of course, the champagne.
If I didn’t feel so strongly about ringing in the New Year with a good night’s sleep under my belt, I would definitely be breaking out the champagne, donning something sparkly and then popping a few of these pimento cheese puffs while waiting for the ball to drop.
And yes, I know I’m cutting it pretty close to the wire for New Year’s Eve finger food suggestions, but hey, these would be good at a Super Bowl Party too and I’m way ahead of the game for that, right?
These puffs are a basic pate a choux dough, the same kind used to make cream puffs, eclairs and profiteroles. In fact, these are really just cream puffs filled with pimento cheese instead of a pastry cream.
They look fancy but don’t actually take that much work. It kind of reminds me of that old commercial where the mom whips up a batch of Rice Krispies Treats in minutes but pretends to have been slaving away in the kitchen all afternoon. These don’t come together quite that quickly, but they do look pretty impressive for a minimal amount of effort.
In short, the perfect food for a New Year’s bash. Pair them with boiled peanut hummus and a few bottles of bubbly and you’ve got yourself a party.
Just please, keep the noise down. Some of us are trying to sleep.
Make sure to grate your own cheese for this recipe. Pre-shredded cheese is usually coated in potato (or some other) starch to keep it from clumping and with pimento cheese I find this really makes a difference in the end result.
- 16 ounces sharp cheddar, grated
- 1 cup mayonnaise (preferably Duke's)
- 5 teaspoons grated onion
- 1/3 cup jarred pimento strips, lightly drained (scoop the out of the jar with a slotted spoon and you're good to go)
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1/2 cup (one stick) butter
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 scant cup bread flour
- 4 large eggs (I needed five, but mine were on the small side. If you have a kitchen scale, you want 8 ounces by weight)
Mix together all of the ingredients, stirring well. If the pimento cheese seems too stiff, add a little bit of extra liquid from the jarred pimentos to loosen it up just a tad. Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour to let all of the ingredients get nice and friendly with each other.
Bring the water, milk, butter and salt to a boil in a medium saucepan. Remove from the heat and stir in the flour all at once to form a dough. Return the pan to the heat and stir constantly for 30 to 45 seconds or until the dough begins to pull away from the sides and leave a film on the bottom of the pan.
Transfer the mixture to a mixing bowl and mix on low speed for a couple of minutes or until the dough has cooled slightly, enough so that you do not cook the eggs when you add them to the bowl. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well between each addition. You should have a medium-stiff paste that, when rubbed between two fingers, has a fairly smooth texture.
Use a pastry bag with a large, plain tip to pipe small, round mounds on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Smooth out any little peaks with a wet fingertip to prevent burning.
Bake the pate a choux at 385 degrees until the pastries are a deep golden brown, about 40 minutes. Cool on wire racks.
To serve, use a sharp knife to cut the top third off each of the puffs. Fill the hollow centers with a generous spoonful of pimento cheese and top each puff with its corresponding lid.