Cheese Pinwheels with Mayhaw Jelly

I feel quite sure that everyone is familiar with the classic southern cheese straw, right? Those delightful little bites of sharp cheese and cayenne that are served at practically every get-together in the southern states? Well, this recipe is the cheese straw’s first cousin – the cheese pinwheel. Plus it has a little something extra to set it apart and that thing is Mayhaw jelly.

Please raise your hand if you know what Mayhaw jelly is.

<sound of crickets chirping>

Well, then, let me introduce you! Mayhaw jelly is, surprisingly enough, made from Mayhaws. Mayhaws are native to the hot coastal areas of the south and they grow in sandy soils and swampy areas. And, let me tell you, there are plenty of sandy, swampy areas where I grew up. In the swamps and on stream banks all around Colquitt (Miller County), Georgia, you can easily find wild mayhaw trees. The season for mayhaws is pretty short, only about three weeks, and when they ripen in early May several enterprising folks make a business of gathering the fruit and offering it for sale. Colquitt even proclaims itself to be the Mayhaw Capital of the World and holds an annual Mayhaw Festival in honor of this favorite local treat.

When I was growing up we always had jars of Mayhaw jelly in the house. And as far as I’m concerned it’s simply the best jelly I’ve ever had. Mayhaws are kissing cousins to the crabapple and they make the prettiest, clear coral colored jelly you ever saw. The jelly tastes similar to a very sweet apple but with other fruit overtones like mango and pineapple. There’s really nothing quite like splitting open a hot buttermilk biscuit, slathering it with butter and popping in a spoonful of Mayhaw jelly. It’s simply something that has to be experienced to understand.

Mayhaw Jelly

If you’d like to try this exotic delicacy of Mayhaw jelly for yourself, a couple of excellent sources are:

  • Stripling’s General Store: http://www.striplings.com/jelly.aspx
    I buy from Stripling’s quite often. They’re famous all around south Georgia for their sausage and the Mayhaw jelly is fabulous, too.
  • The Mayhaw Tree: http://www.mayhawtree.com/
  • Or you can just call up Wilkin’s IGA in Colquitt (229-758-3371) and ask them to ship you some. They keep it in stock all year round and ship it all over. They’re nice folks and they’ll be glad to help you out with your Mayhaw jelly.

If you just can’t wait to try these Cheese Pinwheels with Mayhaw Jelly and you don’t have any Mayhaw jelly on hand, substitute some good quality apple jelly. It won’t be exactly the same, but it’ll be close.

1 lb. grated extra sharp cheddar cheese
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
Mayhaw jelly
1 cup pecans, chopped

Mixing cheese and flour for Cheese Pinwheels

Sift the flour into a large mixing bowl. Add the grated cheese and mix together thoroughly.

Cheese Pinwheels

Add the softened butter, salt, paprika and cayenne pepper. Mix until all the ingredients are incorporated and form a dough. I usually mix as much as I can with a wooden spoon and then dump everything out onto a board and keep working the dough until I get it to come together. It takes a little effort, but it will eventually get itself together.

Cheese Pinwheels

Divide the dough into two balls and wrap each in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for about 20 minutes.

Cheese Pinwheel dough

Remove the dough from the refrigerator and roll each into a square or rectangle approximately 1/4 inch thick. I use a bench scraper to help me shape the dough. Keep rolling and shaping the sides with the scraper until you get something resembling that above.

Cheese Pinwheels spread with Mayhaw jelly and pecans

Now for the best part! Spread the dough thinly with Mayhaw jelly then sprinkle all over with the chopped pecans.

Rolling up cheese pinwheels

Roll each into a log.

Confession time – I’m just going to tell you that this is not the easiest dough to work with. It wants to crack and crumble but you just have to go slowly remolding it all the time. I have to roll up a few inches, pinch and remold the dough, roll a little more, pinch it all together again…see? Don’t be discouraged, though, just take your time and it will come together beautifully.

Cheese pinwheels rolled and wrapped

Wrap in the rolls in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

Cheese pinwheels ready for oven

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees. Slice each roll into pinwheels about 1/4 inch thick. Bake for approximately 15 minutes.

Cheese pinwheels cooling

Remove to a cooling rack.

These are great to serve at a shower or reception with tea. Or just have a couple of an ice cold Cola-Cola.

Enjoy!

Cheese Pinwheels with Mayhaw Jelly
 
Prep time
Cook time
 
A twist on the southern cheese straw made into a wafer and filled with chopped pecans and Mayhaw jelly.
Ingredients
  • 1 lb. grated extra sharp cheddar cheese
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. paprika
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • Mayhaw jelly
  • 1 cup pecans, chopped
Instructions
  1. Sift the flour into a large mixing bowl. Add the grated cheese and mix together thoroughly.
  2. Add the softened butter, salt, paprika and cayenne pepper. Mix until all the ingredients are incorporated and form a dough. I usually mix as much as I can with a wooden spoon and then dump everything out onto a board and keep working the dough until I get it to come together. It takes a little effort, but it will eventually get itself together.
  3. Divide the dough into two balls and wrap each in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for about 20 minutes.
  4. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and roll each into a square or rectangle approximately 1/4 inch thick. I use a bench scraper to help me shape the dough. Keep rolling and shaping the sides with the scraper until you get something resembling that above.
  5. Now for the best part! Spread the dough thinly with Mayhaw jelly then sprinkle all over with the chopped pecans.
  6. Roll each into a log.
  7. Confession time – I’m just going to tell you that this is not the easiest dough to work with. It wants to crack and crumble but you just have to go slowly remolding it all the time. I have to roll up a few inches, pinch and remold the dough, roll a little more, pinch it all together again…see? Don’t be discouraged, though, just take your time and it will come together beautifully.
  8. Wrap in the rolls in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
  9. Preheat your oven to 325 degrees. Slice each roll into pinwheels about 1/4 inch thick. Bake for approximately 15 minutes.
  10. Remove to a cooling rack.
Notes
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Comments

  1. Miss P says

    I am the proud owner of a case of Mayhaw jelly that I made a few weeks ago. A friend asked if I picked the mayhaws. I said yes, indeed, I “picked up the phone” when Truitt called and asked if I wanted some. They were picked and cleaned when they arrived. We have already enjoyed some with another Georgia favorite, peanut butter. Ah, the taste.

    This is supposedly the way that the older generation served cheese pinwheels in Miller County. I mean, the really older ones. Polly’s contemporaries. Or older.

    Thanks. Take care.

    Miss P

    • says

      You’ll probably be the only person to comment who has ever heard of Mayhaws :-) This is a really, really old recipe. I’ve had it in my files as long as I can remember!

      • Amanda says

        I have grown up eating mayhaw jelly. It is by far the best tasting jelly I have ever had. You are right, there is no great way to describe it to anyone. You just have to try it to understand it’s greatness! Loved the article!

    • says

      I hope you’ll give it a try. If you can’t get or don’t want to use the mayhaw jelly, just sub a really good apple jelly for it.

  2. says

    OK, I just can’t get over how the jar says “You never sausage a place” That is AMAZING! And now I think I need it just for that! Seriously though, I had never heard of Mayhaw Jelly, but now I totally want some. These look awesome!

    • says

      I know, it’s so cute isn’t it? If you’re ever traveling down I-75 in Georgia, stop off at exit 99 in Cordele. Stripling’s is just a few miles down the road and they have so many fabulous southern products for sale. The entire back of the store is a meat market with butchers just waiting to custom cut anything you want or pack the exact amount of sausage you wish. You would love it.

  3. says

    This recipe is right up my ally. I love the combination of pecans, cheese, and cayenne–one of my favorite cheese ball recipes combines those ingredients. The Mayhaw jelly is totally new to me. Never heard of it. Thanks for providing ordering information. I want to try the real thing with your recipe, rather than a substitute. This jelly sounds like a fun gift for foodie friends, too. Thanks for the introduction to something new!

    • says

      As a follow up: I went online after writing my comment this morning and order some Mayhaw jelly from Stripling’s. I just received an email from them that my order had already been shipped. Great service! I’ll be able to try out this recipe even sooner than expected.

      • says

        They have amazing service, Monica! Once I ordered some jelly from them and when it arrived the top of one of the jars had unsealed in transport. I called them and explained the problem. The young lady on the phone said not to worry they’d take care of it. The next day I had a new jar of jelly – they had actually overnighted that one jar of jelly, no charge whatsoever. They really do exist to please their customers and that’s why they have such loyal ones!

        • says

          One more update. I ordered my jelly on Wed. Aug 25, and much to my surprise it was delivered to my door (in St. Louis) on Friday, Aug 27. Very impressive service from Stripling’s. Now I can try your recipe right away. Can’t wait.

  4. Miss P says

    Can you believe the poor souls who have never experienced Mayhaw jelly? That’s culinary deprivation! A real tragedy. Sometimes, if I am desperate and have not made jelly or had the time to get in a supply from one of the local purveyors, I have been known to substitute plum jelly. But, only out of utter desperation.

    This recipe has that “sweet and salty thing” that really gives it zip. Kind of like pineapple casserole. You just don’t know how to explain it if you haven’t tasted it.

    Miss P

  5. says

    My mama left a comment on this post on Facebook, but I wanted to share it here as well. Here’s what she said:

    “I am so proud of you. If you can make these you can make anything. Boy are they hard to make. They originated with Mrs Maude Wilkin who lived across the street from Ma Mag & Pa Guyte. Wilkin’s IGA uses her receipe for theirs and for the pound cake that they make. She was a special lady and did a lot of good things in her time. “

  6. says

    Lana, these look terrific! I never heard of mayhaw jelly but I love the sound of it. These would be good as a thumbprint style “cookie”. I’m drooling!

  7. says

    I am very familiar with those darn thorny shrubs – worst that a rose bush but the fruit sure is fine for marmalade and jelly. Your pinwheels are exactly like the ones my aunt in LA made, but I think her recipe uses more cayenne. These are great at cocktail parties too – some folks like the cheesy sweet/heat with drinks… me for one.

  8. MomandNana says

    Just thought I’d mention that Stripling’s also has the best beef jerky I’ve ever put in my mouth — (actually, I’ve never been much of a fan until I ate theirs) I attended a food/culinary event at the Galleria a few months ago and they were handing out samples – I was hooked immediately! Ironically, I had their catalogue in my “to do” pile next to my laptop to remind myself to place an order – guess I need to add mayhaw jelly to the list —

    • says

      Yes, that jerky is really good, isn’t it? Of course, they’re most famous for their sausage, but I never gotten anything from there that wasn’t just delicious.

    • says

      These pinwheels are strangely addictive. Something about that combination of salty and sweet, tangy cheese with nuts that is just wonderful!

  9. says

    How wonderful that you are featuring a recipe with such an incredible local product! The pinwheels look so yummy. I’ll definitely have to give these a try! Thanks for sharing.

  10. Pat V says

    I saw this recipe on TK this morning and immediately thought of our friends in Louisiana who gifted us with a jar of Mayhew Jelly. (Never had heard of it prior.) Then I realized the BLT bites recipe that I will be trying this weekend is also yours. Nice co-inky-dink! I’m going to have go exploring more thoroughly on your site me thinks….I immediately forwarded he pinwheel recipe to Louisiana – I think they’ll like it too. Thanks, Pat

  11. Angela says

    Thank you so much for posting this recipe. I found it on Tasty Kitchen last week and was so excited. I had an aunt who made these but would not share her recipe. This must be the same recipe!

    As a South Georgia girl, I am going to love following your blog. :)

  12. says

    Wonderful website! I love the Mayhaw recipe, and no, I’d never heard of a Mayhaw before either, but sounds like I need to add the jelly to my list of things to buy till I can make some!

    We enjoy sand plum jelly around here in Kansas, and I always thought it to be the tastiest to put on sweet rolls!

    Bookmarking your website!
    Sherry

  13. Vicki says

    I can definitely raise my hand! I have never picked mayhaws, but mayhaw jelly was a staple in our house growing up. My mom used to buy it at a specialty grocery, I now find it in small towns with specialty jam/jelly stores. When I run out of mayhaw jelly, I tell my family its time for a roadtrip to one of the small shopping/artsy towns to visit and buy more jelly. A favorite snack in our house growing up was crackers with cream cheese and a small amount of mayhaw jelly…yum. I have never seen a recipe using this, but I can’t wait to try it!

  14. Christy says

    Hi! I just discovered your lovely site through TK and thought I would let you know that these look GREAT! I stop by Striplings every time I visit my hometown of Leesburg from Atlanta, so I can definitely agree that it’s great stuff (almost as good as my Mamaw’s recipe). I will be making these for my fiance, a former yankee, who now jumps up and down when I buy or receive a jar of Mayhaw jelly. Thanks, I will be bookmarking your page!
    -Christy

  15. CajunJeaux says

    Sounds wonderful! I love Mayhaw Jelly and it goes great with cheese. I live in South Louisiana and have had homemade Mayhaw Jelly all my life and it’s a favorite of mine. Making my first batch of the season today! Can’t wait to try this recipe!

  16. Nathan lenz says

    Mayhaw jelly reminds me of my childhood days driving from Houston to lake Livingston to visit the grandparents….You could only buy it from vendors on the side of the road. Thank goodness for Buc’ees nowadays. I love that southereners have these little secret recipes! We may use pasta sauce out of a jar, but we know how to make sawmill gravy (with biscuits), chicken n dumplings, beer can chicken, loaded baked potatoes, among many other meat dishes… HLSR cook off! Thanks for the great recipe!

    • says

      You’re welcome, Nathan! Mayhaw jelly is still relatively unknown outside of the Mayhaw’s native growing area. My favorite way to enjoy it is on a hot, buttered, buttermilk biscuit. Yum!

  17. Roger Cook says

    Love those pin wheels and peanut butter and mayhaw jelly sandwiches. My wife, Sara, has made literally thousands of cases of mayhaw jelly for Wilkins IGA in Colquitt, Ga. So we have eaten our share of it. The stories that she can tell you of the people that she has shipped it to over the years will amaze you. Get you some and try it.

    • says

      Roger – I have probably eaten gallons of Sara’s jelly over the years. I usually pick up some every time I come home to Colquitt. The one in the photo is from another maker but Sara’s is the best. There’s really no other jelly like it in the world!

  18. Kelley says

    My husband just got back from a business trip to South GA – we’re in Atlanta. He always stops at Striplings. His delivery tonight included the mayhaw jelly, beef jerky for my dad, the jalapeno sausage (sooo good) and some stuffed pork chops for dinner. I’ll be making these to bring to my nieces baptism on Sunday. Thank you!

    • says

      Kelley – I hope they turn out good for you. I’d love to know what everyone thinks of them. And – if you have any questions, just email. I’ll be around :-)

  19. Patricia says

    I am just enjoying all your comments and recipes and finding yet another favorite of mine. Mayhaw jelly, yes. Always had it in biscuits. Always had it at our house. Helped pick those mayhaw’s too. Use to pick it up at Wilkin’s but mostly from a niece who made lots and sold it. I guess Striplings was where I found it last year. Is it now called Salt Lick Sausage Co. and on highway between Albany and Cordele? Lane’s cake is also an old favorite and I baked one at Christmas for years. Have you published a cookbook yet? Would love to have one with all your writing about southwest GA. Thanks

    • says

      Hi Patricia – I get Mayhaw jelly at Wilkin’s or either Stripling’s. Salt Lick is a different store just down the road from Stripling’s.

      No, I haven’t published a cookbook but lots of people ask for one. I may look into doing it some time soon.

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