These don’t puff up quite like traditional gougères, but they have all the same qualities that recommend consuming them one after the next, in close succession. The pimento cheese gives the interiors a custardy quality, flecked with red from the pimentos and green from the pickles, and a decidedly Southern flavor. Use the extra pimento cheese for sandwiches or dipping.
Heat the oven to 400°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment or lightly butter them.
Combine the milk, 1/2 cup water, and butter in a medium-size saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat, stirring until the butter is melted. Add the flour and salt all at once, reduce the heat to medium, and stir the mixture vigorously with a wooden spoon until it pulls away from the sides of the pan. Continue stirring for several minutes over low heat, then remove from the heat and cool for 1 minute. The dough should not brown and will be thick, smooth, and shiny.
Add the dough to the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on low speed for 3 to 4 minutes, or until it isn’t steaming any more but isn’t completely cool, before adding the eggs, one at a time, incorporating each egg before adding the next. Add the grated Cheddar and pimento cheese along with the black and cayenne peppers and mix to blend.
Use a spatula to transfer the dough to a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2-inch round tip and pipe 1-1/2-inch mounds, approximately the volume of a heaping tablespoon, on the baking sheets 2 inches apart.
Bake until deep golden brown, about 17 minutes. Reduce the heat to 300°F, put a wooden spoon in the door so that it’s slightly ajar, and bake for another 10 minutes.
Photo: Gentl & Hyers