Carter Family Recipes: Plains Cheese Ring

This week Library and Museum staff were invited to join The Carter Center for lunch as part of its annual Thanksgiving potluck. Ceri McCarron, an Archives Specialist at the Jimmy Carter Library, decided to make a “Plains Cheese Ring” for the event. The cheese ring is purported to be one of Mrs. Carter’s favorite recipes. The “Plains” in the recipe title refers to Plains, Georgia, birthplace of the Carters. When we receive reference requests for Carter Family recipes, this is the most requested recipe. With various holiday festivities around the corner, maybe this appetizer will find its way into one of your gatherings!

Plains Cheese Ring with Strawberry Preserves and Crackers

Plains Cheese Ring with Strawberry Preserves and Crackers


Cheese Ring

  • 1 pound sharp cheddar cheese, finely shredded
  • 6 ounces (approx. 1 – 1 ½ cups) finely chopped pecans
  • 1 cup mayonnaise (can vary depending on taste — use enough to “bind” the ingredients together)
  • 1/2 cup onions, finely diced
  • Dash cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • Jar of strawberry preserves (optional, recommended 12 oz.)
  • Crackers

Combine cheese, pecans, onions, and mayonnaise in a mixing bowl. Add in the cayenne and black pepper. Mix thoroughly until the mixture is creamy and smooth. Transfer mixture to a plate and shape by patting the mixture flat and forming a rim around the edge. (If you have a mold, you may use that instead to form the ring, if desired.) Refrigerate until chilled, approximately 2 hours.

Fill the center of the ring with the preserves when you are ready to serve. Serve with crackers. Serves approximately 6-8 people.

There are slight variations of this recipe, so you might want to experiment. Versions of this recipe appear in the following cookbooks, which are part of our non-circulating library collection:

  • Plains Pot-Pourri (1977) compiled by the Plains Jr. Woman’s Club
  • The White House Family Cookbook (1987) by Henry Haller with Virginia Aronson, R.D., M.S.
  • The Carter Family Favorites Cookbook (1977) by Ceil Dyer
  • The Plains Plain Cooker (1979) compiled by Howard A. Spies

If you know of other cookbooks with this recipe, we’d love to know about them!

This is certainly one of my favorite dishes. What are some of your favorite recipes?

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