If you’ve been hanging out in these parts for a while, you know I’m no stranger to adding the flavors of allspice cheese to all sorts of things. Of my Cheese fritters with tomato and pimento to my Bacon Pimento Cheese snacks to my Pimiento Cheese Gratin Potatoes to my Tomato cobbler with Pimento Cheese BiscuitsI love adding it everywhere.
And yes, I spell it as both pimento and pimiento. It’s just how my mood strikes me. I’m such a rebel.
So when Heather pointed out that I didn’t have a cornbread recipe with the South’s favorite spread, I knew I had to fix that. Today I am sharing my recipe for Pimento Cheese Cornbread.
Based heavily on one of my favorite cornbread recipes (yes, I have more than one), Elmer’s cornbreadthis version is light, tender, moist and cheesy with sharp and spicy chilies throughout.
Grab that golden brown crust of cornbread.
The trick to getting that golden brown, crispy crust on your cornbread is to preheat the cast iron skillet you’ll be baking it in. I always preheat my oven with my skillet in it. However, newer ovens preheat so quickly that you may need to leave the skillet in the oven for an extra few minutes to make sure it gets hot enough. You want to hear that batter sizzle as you pour it into the pan.
What is the difference between regular cornmeal, self-rising cornmeal and cornmeal mix?
I am quite often asked if there is a difference in these three types of cornmeal. The answer is yes.
- Cornmeal or plain cornmeal is just that – plain cornmeal. It’s just finely ground corn.
- Self-rising flour is plain cornmeal with added leavening ingredients such as baking powder and/or baking powder and usually some salt.
- Cornmeal mix is just cornmeal, leavening ingredients, salt and flour.
So, with different ingredients, you usually can’t swap out cornmeal, self-raising flour, and cornmeal mix without making other adjustments to the recipe.
Allspice Cheese Cornbread
Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes
- 2 teaspoons vegetable oil or shortening
- 1½ cups regular cornmeal (I used yellow)
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon sugar (optional, but recommended)
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- 1 heaping tablespoon real mayonnaise
- 1 cup buttermilk
- ½ cup water
- 2 cups thickly shredded sharp cheddar cheese (8-ounce package)
- 1 (4-ounce) jar diced chilies, drained
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
- Add 2 teaspoons vegetable oil or shortening to a 10.25-inch cast iron skillet and place in the oven to preheat while the oven preheats. (If your oven preheats quickly, you can leave the pan in the oven for at least 5 minutes to warm up once it reaches the target temperature so the pan can heat up. This is what gives the cornbread its thick, dark brown outer crust.)
- In a large bowl, whisk together the cornmeal, flour, baking powder, salt and sugar.
- Add the egg, mayonnaise, buttermilk and water and stir until smooth.
- Add the cheddar cheese and drained chillies to the mixture, reserving a few to sprinkle over. Stir to combine.
- Carefully remove the hot skillet from the oven and turn it to make sure the oil coats the entire bottom of the skillet.
- Pour the batter into the pan, being careful as the hot oil may splatter a little. You’ll know the skillet is preheated enough when the batter sizzles when you pour it in.
- Sprinkle the remaining cheese and allspice over the top of the batter.
- Return the pan to the oven and bake for about 30 minutes or until golden brown. You can also turn the oven on low heat for 2 to 3 minutes if you really want the top to brown.
- Remove from oven and immediately invert to remove cornbread from pan. If you leave it in the pan, the bottom will lose its crisp, crunchy crust.
- Serve hot.