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Perre Coleman Magness is the cook and writer behind the website The Runaway Spoon, which focuses on creative recipes with a Southern slant. Perre Coleman has studied food and cooking around the world, mostly by eating, and also through serious study in London, Morocco, Thailand, and Mexico. Her kitchen of choice is at home in Memphis, TN, cooking like most people and experimenting with unique but practical ideas.

PIMENTO CHEESE offers over 50 recipes for this Southern favorite. With full color photographs throughout the cookbook, readers can start with a breakfast of Pimento Cheese Popovers stuffed with scrambled eggs, or plan a nice brunch served with Pimento Cheese Waffles with Pimento Syrup and Bacon. Invite the neighbors over for Pimento Shrimp and Cheddar Grits or Cheddar Gnudi with Pimento Romesco. And serve it all with some Pimento Cheese Green Beans on the side. Authoritative, creative, and fun, and peppered with anecdotes and useful tips, this cookbook explores the myriad ways to prepare a humble–and essential–Southern staple.

Pimento Cheese Tomato Pie

Serves 6

Pimento Cheese Recipes


Tomato Pie is another true Southern summer classic. One of the favorite ways many Southerners enjoy fresh tomatoes is lightly salted and sandwiched between white bread spread with a slick of mayonnaise. This pie seems to be an outgrowth of that simple pleasure: fresh tomatoes layered with mayonnaise and cheese in a pie crust.

Pie Pastry
14 cups all-purpose flour
12 teaspoon kosher salt
12 teaspoon sugar
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted cold butter, cut into small pieces
2 to 4 tablespoons ice water

Tomato Pie
3 large tomatoes
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Pastry for one 9-inch pie crust (see above)
8 scallions, white and palest green parts only, finely sliced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
One 4-ounce jar diced pimentos, rinsed and drained
12 cups grated extra sharp cheddar cheese
34 cup mayonnaise
12 teaspoon sweet paprika
1 garlic clove

Make the pie pastry:

Put the flour, salt, and sugar into the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade and pulse a few times to combine. Drop in the small pieces of cold butter and pulse several times until the mixture is crumbly, but some minute pieces of butter are still visible. Sprinkle the ice water over, a tablespoon at a time, and pulse to combine. When the pastry dough just comes together, dump it out onto a lightly floured surface and pat it into a disk about 3⁄4 inch thick. Wrap the disk in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour before rolling.

Prepare the tomatoes:

Cut the ends off the tomatoes and discard, then slice them about 1⁄2 inch thick. Lay the tomato slices on a double layer of paper towels and sprinkle generously with salt. Let the tomatoes sit for at least an hour, turning them over after 30 minutes and salting the opposite sides. Sprinkle the second side with black pepper as well.

When ready to bake the crust, preheat the oven to 350°F. Remove the pastry from the refrigerator and place the pastry disk on a lightly floured work surface. Using a floured rolling pin, roll out the pastry to a round about 14 inches in diameter, large enough to fit a 9-inch pie plate. Carefully drape the pastry over the rolling pin and transfer to the pie dish. Gently press the dough into the bottom and sides of the pie dish. Cover the pastry shell with parchment paper and fill with dried beans or ceramic pie weights. Bake for 15 minutes, then remove from the oven, remove the paper and weights, and set the pie crust aside to cool.

Assemble the pie:

When the crust has completely cooled, layer half the tomato slices over the bottom. Sprinkle the scallions, parsley, and half of the pimentos over the tomatoes, then 1⁄2 cup of the grated cheddar cheese. Layer the remaining tomatoes on top.

Mix together the mayonnaise, the remaining 1 cup cheddar cheese, remaining pimentos, and paprika in a small bowl. Put the garlic through a press or very finely mince it with a sharp knife and stir it into the mayonnaise. Spread the mixture over the tomatoes, spreading it all the way to the edges.

Bake the pie at 350°F for 30 minutes, or until golden brown around the edges and the top. Let the pie cool for 10 minutes before slicing and serving.


Pigs in Pimento Cheese Blankets with Honey-Mustard Dip

Makes 32 pigs in blankets; 3⁄4 cup dip

Pimento Cheese Recipes


Slightly silly, but no less tasty for it, I have served these to kids to rave reviews, but also to grown-ups in a cocktail setting. That garnered giggles, but every last one of the little pigs was gobbled up.

Honey-Mustard Dip
12 cup mayonnaise
14 cup prepared yellow mustard
2 tablespoons honey

Pigs and Blankets
One 14-ounce package cocktail sausages (such as “Lit’l Smokies”)
One 2-ounce jar diced pimentos
8 ounces sharp orange cheddar cheese
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
12 teaspoon sweet paprika
12 teaspoon kosher salt
12 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Dash of cayenne pepper

First make the dip:

Whisk the ingredients together in a small bowl and refrigerate for several hours to allow the flavors to blend.

 Prepare the pigs in blankets:

Drain the sausages and pat them dry on paper towels. Set aside to air-dry for about 30 minutes. Rinse and drain the pimentos and pat dry on paper towels as well.

Grate the cheese and the butter in a food processor fitted with the grating disk. Switch to the metal blade, and add the flour, Worcestershire sauce, paprika, salt, black pepper, and cayenne. Process until the mixture is crumbly and begins to come together. Add the pimentos and continue processing until the dough forms a ball that pulls away from the sides of the bowl.

Pinch about 3 teaspoons of dough off the ball and flatten it into a disk between your palms. Place a sausage in the center of the dough disk and bring it up to cover the sausage. Pinch together to enclose, then roll between your palms to completely seal in the pig. Place the package on a parchment paper–lined rimmed baking sheet and continue with the rest of the dough and sausages. I consistently make about 32 of these from this recipe, which leaves 4 or 5 extra sausages. Consider these the cook’s bonus.

When all the pigs are in their blankets, transfer the baking sheet to the refrigerator for at least an hour. This will firm the dough and prevent it from spreading during baking. When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 400°F.

Bake the pigs for 20 to 25 minutes until the cheese dough is puffy and nicely browned. Serve warm.


These recipes may be reproduced with the following credit:

From Pimento Cheese: The Cookbook by Perre Coleman Magness. Text copyright © 2014 by the author and photographs copyright © 2014 by Jennifer Davick and reprinted by permission of St. Martin’s Griffin, an imprint of St. Martin’s Press, LLC.

Contact: Nick Small