Glazed Baked Holiday Ham from Cook's Country Magazine, April/May 2010

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This recipe is the main reason that I chose this magazine and while it’s showing up now, I actually made it for the first time at Easter when my in-laws visited. The reason I didn’t review it then was that my mother-in-law was kind enough to gift us with the ham that I cooked and it was a different cut than this recipe called for. So, although I did everything the same, since it wasn’t a bone-in shank ham as recommended, I decided to buy another after Easter (when they were on sale) and make it after we were done being tired of ham from the first time. It’s nice to see that it only took two weeks. So, tonight we had the Glazed Baked Holiday Ham.

What’s interesting to me is that my experience was the same with both hams so at least I know that any “problem” I had wasn’t necessarily my abilities. I’m not saying that the ham was bad; on the contrary, both times it was excellent. In fact, the cut that my mother-in-law brought was probably better because it was much less fatty then the shank ham we had tonight.

What is interesting to me is the fact that my glaze ended up being so different than the picture in the magazine both times. The way this dish is cooked is that the ham is cooked in a bag while the glaze thickens on the stove. When the ham’s just about done, it’s taken out, the temp in the oven is hiked up and the glaze is applied, as well as a sugar mixture that’s supposed to bake until dark brown and caramelize.

There are two problems here. The first I learned when I made the ham at Easter. That problem arises after putting a bubbling glaze on a ham and then applying a sugar coating by hand. See where this is going? I tried my best to do it without burning myself, but it was impossible. The second time, I used a spatula and it went much better. Even so, both times the sugar mixture melted instead of making the wonderful crust that it looks like it’s supposed to do. That was the second problem. This time I even tried broiling the sugar mixture on for a few minutes to see if a faster heat could make it stick. It did a little better, but it still wasn’t as crunchy yet moist as the magazine shows.

All that aside, the glaze is very yummy and goes well on the ham (it has apple jelly in it so what can one expect?). However, any glaze ends up being on such a small part of the ham that I don’t think it’s worth the extra effort that this dish requires, not to mention the possibility of caramelized sugar burns.

I’ve made a lot of hams over the years and used many different glazes. I do think home made is best, but this isn’t the one. There was one that I remember that used bourbon. Now THAT was great.

Maple-Glazed Ham
from Cook’s Country Magazine, April/May 2010

1 7-10-pound spiral-sliced, bone-in ham
1 12-ounce jar apple jelly
3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/4 cup maple syrup
3 tablespoons whole-grain mustard
1 cinnamon stick, broken into rough pieces
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard

Remove ham from packaging and discard plastic disk covering bone. Place ham in oven bag. Tie closed and cut 4 2-inch slits in top of bag. Transfer bagged ham to large roasting pan and let stand at room temperature for 1 1/2 hours.

Adjust oven rack to lowest position and heat oven to 300 degrees. Bake ham until internal temperature registers 100 degrees, 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 hours.

Meanwhile, bring apple jelly, 1/2 cup brown sugar, syrup, mustard, cinnamon and nutmeg to a boil in a saucepan. Reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring often, until mixture is very thick and reduced to 1/3 cup, about 45 minutes. Remove cinnamon pieces. Off heat, whisk in butter.

Combine remaining brown sugar and dry mustard in a small bowl. Remove ham from oven and let cool for 5 minutes. Increase oven temperature to 400 degrees. Cut open oven bag and roll back. Using a pastry brush, paint ham with glaze. Carefully press sugar mixture onto exterior of ham with hands.

Return ham to oven and bake until dark brown and caramelized, about 20 minutes. Transfer ham to cutting board and loosely tent with foil. Let rest 15 minutes. Carve ham and serve.

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