We love our ham, and we love it even more basted to glazed perfection. Take sugar, spice, and plenty more to make this Christmas standard a standout.
Why glaze? Done right, glazing takes ham from a humble stand-by to a show-stopping centrepiece, adding layers of flavour along the way.
Sugar is what makes a glaze. Whether it's in the form of brown sugar, muscovado or honey, it caramelises to create that thick, syrupy sheen, which you then have the freedom to balance with spices, juices, vinegars or even booze for extra Christmas spirit.
First you need to remove the ham's skin and score the fat so the glaze seeps down into the meat. Taking off the skin also allows the fat to render. You can either first pour the glaze over the ham before putting it in the oven, or baste the ham regularly while it cooks, or both. Allow time for each layer of glaze to set before basting with another, as though you were applying coats of lacquer.
At first the glaze will not cover the ham very well, but as the liquids evaporate, the glaze thickens and the sugars caramelise with the meat.
Keep basting until you have a delicious, golden coating, but don't let it get to the point where the sugar crystallises and forms a crust.
A ham needs about an hour in the oven to form a good glaze, basting as much as possible for the best result. Adding water to the base of the pan isn't a bad idea either - it stops the glaze from burning on the base of the ham.
We asked the GT food team to share a few of their favourite glaze recipes for your inspiration. Glaze away.