What you choose as a glaze for your baked ham is a chance to try something new or to hearken back to recipes from your grandparents or cultural tradition. When you buy a ham, it will often come with a packet of sugary glaze to use, but there are many other options.
This recipe allows you to use your own apricot preserves or a jar you have bought from a local farm stand or farmers market. You can also use local honey rather than brown sugar or refined sugar to make a glaze. You will be using the goodness of fruit, the tartness of lemon juice, natural honey, and the spice of cloves to bring out the sweet and savory nature of your ham.
Sweet glazes such as this one are best with wet-cured hams, while tangy glazes are better with salty hams. This glaze has tartness from the lemon juice and sweetness from the honey and preserves and may be used with either type of ham.
- 1/2 cup apricot preserves
- 1/2 cup honey
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- Combine all ham glaze ingredients in a saucepan over medium heat.
- Heat the glaze, stirring constantly, until it is thickened and bubbly, about 5 minutes.
- Keep the glaze ready for the last 30 minutes of baking your ham.
- Spoon the ham glaze over the ham and baste it during last 30 minutes of baking. Temperatures between 325 and 350 F are best so the glaze doesn't burn or smoke.
The sugars provided in the apricot preserves and the honey will caramelize on the surface of the ham, providing the brown color and giving the caramel flavors that play well with the flavor of the ham. Additional flavor elements come from the apricot fruit, lemon juice, and cloves. As it caramelizes, the glaze also adds texture to the ham so you have the beautiful play of a crunchier coating with the luscious meat of the ham.
Often you will be simply reheating an already cooked ham, so be careful to follow the instructions for cooking time before you add the glaze. You don't want to cook the ham for so long that it dries out, as the juices provide much of the wonderful flavor. Be sure to read the label of your ham in case it is an uncooked ham that will require more attention to proper cooking time.
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