The snow is falling softly to the ground as the family sit down to a fabulous baked ham Christmas dinner. The fire is crackling warmly as the fairy lights twinkle gently in the background, and we all raise our glasses to what a fine year it has been.
Wait. Wait. Hold on a second. What is this, England??
No this is Australia, specifically Western Australia and sadly our Christmas’s do not look anything like this. It would be lovely if they did, but hey let’s be realistic here!
Now I don’t know about you but our Christmas feast looks a little more like……
….. Cold glazed ham served with slices of fresh mango, prawns grilled simply on the BBQ with a little garlic, cold roast turkey with Gran’s stuffing balls and cranberry sauce (Ahem* from a jar), fresh crisp salads and delectable fruit platters and of course, the quintessentially classic Aussie dessert, Pavlova, served with mountains of pillowy soft whipped cream, piled high with sweet seasonal fruit.
It’s iconic, right?
So how can I mess with that?
I’ll tell you how! By giving your ham a little juzz and taking it to the next level with an amazing glaze!
It’s funny how many people I talk to about glazing their Christmas ham and they all say “I don’t need to glaze it, I’m not eating it hot!!” Oh my goodness friends, you are missing out on a whole world of deliciousness.
Now there are some seriously fantastic glazes out there but I think I have come up with the perfect one that tastes amazing on your ham whether it’s served hot, cold or as leftovers in sandwhiches!
Check it out now and give it a whirl this Christmas!
Caramelized Pineapple & Rum Glazed Ham
Makes: Enough glaze for a 3-4kg ham (enough to feed approx. 10 people)
Prep Time: 15 Minutes
Cooking Time: 1 Hour 20 Minutes
3-4kg Smoked Ham on the Bone
1 Large Sweet Pineapple
¼ Cup Brown Sugar
¼ Cup Maple Syrup
30ml Golden Rum
1 Cup Water
1 Tbsp Dijon Mustard
1 Tbspn of Whole Cloves
I recommend making your glaze and baking the ham the day before you need it if serving cold, if wanting to serve your ham hot straight from the oven, just make the glaze the day before so it’s all ready to go.
To Make The Glaze:
Preheat your oven to 200º Celsius and line a large tray with baking paper. Take the time to remove the skin and core your pineapple before slicing into 1cm cubes. Place them on the tray and into your hot oven for an hour. At about the half way mark, give them a quick turn and pop them straight back in until they turn a beautiful golden brown.
Depending on how juicy your pineapple is it may or may not leak juice all over your tray. I’ve had very different results using different pineapples. Either way, don’t be too disheartened if you don’t get a really juicy, golden chunk of pineapple at the end!
Once perfectly caramelized, remove from the oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes or so before popping straight into a food processor. Now be very careful here as the juices will still be quite hot and you may get sprayed with it if care isn’t taken. Blitz for a couple of minutes until your pineapple has broken down to a rich yellow syrup, it’s fine if a few lumps remain.
Now transfer your pineapple syrup to a large saucepan over a medium heat. Bring the pineapple to a low simmer and add your brown sugar, maple syrup and rum. Stir well until the sugar breaks down and dissolves.
Add 1/2 cup of water to begin with and mix to incorporate. This is where the juiciness of your pineapple comes into play. If your pineapple was very juicy and your syrup was quite liquidy you’ll only want to add only half the water as you won’t need anymore. If your syrup was more pulp like, then you’ll want to add the whole 1 cup.
Stir slowly to incorporate then bring back to the boil, before reducing to a low simmer. Simmer for minutes, stirring occasionally.
If leaving the glaze for the next day, allow it to cool fully before covering in glad wrap and popping in the fridge. Reheat it prior to use, over a low heat for a few minutes.
Otherwise let’s move on to prepping our ham.
You’re going to want to remove the skin and score your beast to allow the fat to reduce well and to let the glaze really impact and flavour your ham. If possible, ask your butcher to remove the skin and score into diamonds prior to pick up, however most are too busy at this time of year to do so. It never hurts to ask!
**A Note on Ham Selection**
I really do advocate buying your ham from a local butcher. Not only will it be more likely to be sourced from a local farm (therefore your money is going back to your local farmers!) but it’s also a much nicer piece of meat. Most private butchers take real pride in their work and select only the finest pieces of meat to serve to their clientele. Buying a smoked ham from a large supermarket (may be cheaper) but it is almost always an average piece of meat. This can be seen in the thickness of the fat. A good ham is fatty and should be smokey without smelling like a campfire.
To remove the skin cut a zig-zag line around the bone or hock of the ham and get your fingers in underneath it. Start to pull the skin back all the way around in an even manner, keep slowly pulling and before you know it, the whole thing will come off in one foul swoop. (The opposite can be said for buying a ham from the supermarket!)
Take a very sharp knife and start cutting lines across the fatty parts of the pig. Cut from side to side on the diagonal, first one way, then the other. This will give you those perfectly little glazed fatty diamonds that you love to see!
Stud the middle of each diamond with a whole clove, before wrapping the hock of the ham in aluminium foil to stop it from burning.
Pop into a low oven, around the 170º mark for 20 minutes just to get things rolling and so that the fat starts to melt down.
Remove from the oven and generously spread yellow globules of your glaze all over the fatty parts of the ham. Ensure you really get your basting brush in there and fill those score lines too.
Pop it straight back into the oven for another 30 minutes. Remove again and baste generously again! Really slap it on there, you want very little glaze remaining! Slide that beast straight back into the oven again to finish off with another 30 minutes.
Don’t throw out any leftover glaze! It’s quite yummy served in a small dish as an extra condiment at the Christmas table!
Once your ham has finished baking (the general rule of thumb is 20 minutes per kilo), remove from the oven and serve straight away. If serving cold, allow it to cool down a touch, until it stops steaming and place in a soaked clean ham bag (or cotton pillow case).
Then all you need to do, come Christmas day, is pull out and slice!
Glazing a ham really can be quite simple and it truly adds just that little bit more to your meal. If you haven’t tried it before, I encourage you to get into the kitchen this Christmas and give it a whirl! I promise, you’ll be converted!
What’s going to be on your plates this Christmas day?