Preheat oven to 350°. Bake pecans in a single layer in a shallow pan 8 to 10 minutes or until toasted and fragrant, stirring halfway through. Cool 15 minutes.
Stir together mayonnaise and next 2 ingredients. Stir in pecans and cheese.
Spoon mixture into a plastic wrap-lined 4-cup ring mold with a 2 1/2-inch center. Cover and chill 2 hours.
Bring balsamic vinegar to a boil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer, stirring occasionally, 18 to 20 minutes or until reduced to about 2 Tbsp. Let cool 10 minutes. Stir in strawberry preserves.
Unmold cheese ring onto a serving platter. Discard plastic wrap. Fill center of ring with preserves. Serve with crackers. Garnish, if desired.
*Sharp white Cheddar cheese may be substituted.
Ashley Mac's, Birmingham, Alabama