Ari's Top 5, Bakehouse, Cheese, Creamery

Make a Big Hit at Your House with Hungarian Pimento Cheese

Liptauer Cheese from the Creamery

If you’re one of the thousands of folks who’ve fallen in love our pimento cheese over the last ten years, make a note for yourself to ask for a taste of this traditional Hungarian version next time you’re in the Cream Top Shop or the Deli. While Hungarians will know it as “Liptauer,” it could in a very practical sense, be seen as the Central European version of what we here know as Pimento Cheese—it’s just as compelling a blend of chile peppers and cheese, which, we nearly all know now, make a marvelously tasty combination. Zingerman's Creamery liptaur on bread

If you’re not familiar with it, Liptauer cheese (pronounced “Lip-tower”) is a long-standing Hungarian tradition. The name originates in the Hungarian-influenced, Liptov region of Slovakia. Don’t be scared by the unfamiliarity of the name—it’s a superb cheese spread spiced with peppers, slightly spicy, super delicious, and frighteningly addictive. And you can eat it on just about everything at any time of the day! In Hungary, I learned in Budapest this “Magyar pimento cheese” is more commonly known by the name Korozott. But we’ve been calling it Liptauer for so long I decided to leave the name alone. Like all of these home-style foods, there seem to be about 6,000 recipes. (By the way, it’s a great example of just how thoroughly the Columbian Exchange altered eating all over the world—take a look at how paprika came to dominate the food and cooking of Hungary.)

In central Europe, Liptauer would most likely be made with fresh sheep’s milk cheese. Here we use our very fresh cow’s milk Farm Cheese from the Creamery (we don’t have enough sheep around these parts), then blend in some minced fresh garlic, a good bit of Hungarian paprika, capers, toasted caraway, and just a touch of anchovy. The paprika is incredible! It’s from the last farmstead paprika producer in the country—yes, the family grows the peppers, dries them, and mills them, all on-site. It’s moderately spicy and exceptionally flavorful—there’s a way big burst of flavor in every bite! I’ve been told that in Hungary it was often served in casinos and bars which makes sense—it’s definitely the sort of stuff that goes great with good salami and good beer. Liptauer Cheese is lovely on baked potatoes, used as an hors d’oeuvre, or as the base for spicy finger sandwiches. Really good on a roast beef sandwich. Or stick a soft spoonful on a steak that’s just off the grill. Thinking about that new Pimen-Tuna sandwich at the Roadhouse, I’m betting it would be great in that context as well—mix it at home with a good tuna (try the Ortiz tuna that we’re selling thousands of tins of right now on Summer Sale.) Try putting a few spoonfuls in an omelet. Great for deviled eggs. It’s a perfect pairing with any of the dark breads from the Bakehouse—in particular, the Dinklebrot, the Country Miche, or the new Walnut Sage loaf. Oh yeah, it’s really good with rye. Or on a toasted poppy seed bagel! In Hungary, it’s sometimes used to stuff tomatoes or peppers—perfect for this time of year when the harvest is coming in so nicely.

In the same way that almost every family in the American South seems to have its own recipe for Pimento Cheese, and it’s hard to have a party of any size or sort without serving it, the same would go for Liptauer. Really, anything you’d do with pimento cheese you can do with Liptauer as well. If like the former, find out why the latter can add just as much zest, zip and a little variety to your culinary life! Have some Hungarian Pimento Cheese at your next get together! Or just spread a bit on a bagel for breakfast and enjoy the day!