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Perfect match: glazed ham with sweet cider

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By Alice Storey
  • Serves 20
  • 25 mins preparation
  • 2 hrs cooking plus cooling, pickling
Glazed ham with pickled watermelon rind
Glazed ham with pickled watermelon rind

Pork and apples. It's one of those flavour combinations that just works. Think of the beautiful English classic pork roast: all golden crackling accompanied by a bowl of tart apple sauce, made from big green Bramleys. Think of Spanish morcilla (made, of course, from pig's blood) fried with chunks of apple. Or a glass of rough, medium-dry cidre de Normandie served with a ham-stuffed buckwheat pancake. Yum. Factor in the other sweet, sour and pungent ingredients in this Asian-accented dish - the sweetness from the palm-sugar glaze, the tang from the pickled watermelon, the heat from the ginger and chilli - and a sweet, appley drink becomes an even more obvious choice of liquid partner. Sweet cider is traditional in most apple-producing countries: you'll find deep-golden examples made from bittersweet fruit in the West Country of the UK, and wonderfully rich doux (sweet) cidre from Normandy. I find many Australian sweet apple ciders lack the complexity of these Old World classics, but there are very good examples of pear cider being produced locally that do manage to achieve some lovely layers of flavour and balanced sweetness. Cheers.

Pork and apple are perfect partners, writes Max Allen, but occasionally you can allow a pear to come between them.


  • 500 ml fresh pineapple juice (2 cups)
  • 300 gm light palm sugar, finely chopped
  • 30 gm ginger, thinly sliced (6cm piece)
  • 4 cloves
  • 2 star anise
  • 1 small red chilli, thinly sliced
  • 1 leg of ham, bone in (about 7kg), skin removed, fat scored
Pickled watermelon rind
  • 400 ml coconut vinegar (see note)
  • 330 gm caster sugar (1½ cups)
  • 2 tsp coriander seeds
  • 200 gm watermelon rind, thinly sliced on a mandolin
  • 3 golden shallots, thinly sliced on a mandolin
  • 1 small red chilli, thinly sliced


  • 1
    For pickled watermelon rind, bring vinegar, sugar, coriander seeds, 100ml water and a pinch of salt to the simmer in a saucepan over medium heat, stir to dissolve sugar (5-7 minutes) and set aside to cool (30 minutes). Add watermelon rind, shallot and chilli and refrigerate to pickle (overnight-48 hours).
  • 2
    Preheat oven to 180C. Combine pineapple juice, sugar, ginger, cloves, star anise, chilli and lime rind in a small saucepan over medium heat, stir to dissolve sugar and simmer until reduced by half (15-20 minutes). Remove from heat, add half the lime juice and set aside.
  • 3
    Place ham in a large roasting pan, brush with pineapple glaze and roast, basting occasionally, until ham is caramelised and warmed through (1¼-1½ hours). Season to taste with remaining lime juice, slice and serve with pickled watermelon rind on white rolls.


Note Leftovers of the glazed ham and pickled watermelon rind will keep refrigerated for five to seven days, making it an easy lunch for lazy summer days. It's best to remove the ham skin when the ham is cold. You'll need to begin this recipe at least a day ahead. Coconut vinegar is available from Asian grocers. Drink suggestion by Max Allen