I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I’m unashamedly a feeder. Pretty much anyone who has visited our flat will attest to that. It’s a trait that I get from my mother, and which means that no-one escapes through those doors without having been fed at the very least a custard cream, because this is the level at which we like to keep our biscuit tin.
I’m in good company, in that some of my best friends are also feeders. In the hours before everyone gathers to catch up over beers on the balcony, the kitchen turns into a production line as every surface fills up with pastries and bowls and things waiting to cool. We end up with a table groaning with food: arancini balls transported from the north; strawberries dipped in chocolate; and, of course, the obligatory crisps and dips.
Some of them we’re testing out, sharing recipes and flexing our skills in the kitchen, while others, like triple chocolate cups and olive/tomato/mozzarella/basil sticks, make repeat appearances.
These poppers are one of those things that are specifically asked for when the call goes out for requests. Although they use young, sweet jalapeños (see note below for choosing them), the heat is kicked up a notch with the addition of a line of sriracha underneath the creamy cheese filling. Crunchy, spicy, creamy, and sweet, they’re the perfect mouthful, and can be prepped ahead of time.
Panko jalapeño poppers with sriracha
15 large-ish jalapeños
230g garlic & herb cream cheese
50g cheddar, finely grated
- Firstly, cut the tops off the jalapeños, slice in half lengthways, and scoop out the seeds. Preheat the oven to about 200C.
- Mix together the cream and cheddar cheeses, and transfer to a piping bag fitted with a slim nozzle, up to 5mm in diameter at the tip.
- Squeeze a line of sriracha along the middle of the jalapeños (I did half with and half without, for those who aren’t spice fiends), then pipe the cream cheese mixture to fill.
- Pour the panko breadcrumbs into a shallow bowl, like a pasta bowl, and press the jalapeños into them, filling side down. Set out on a baking tray about bake for around half an hour, until the breadcrumbs are golden. Serve with a little bowl of extra sriracha.
Note: The smoothness of the skin of a jalapeño is a decent indicator of how hot it’ll be – smooth ones are younger and milder, lending sweetness more than heat, whereas the ones that look like they have stretch marks tend to be hotter.