"I have a multicultural family - we're Dutch, Chinese and Welsh - so Christmas is a bit of a blend of things from all three cultures," says Analiese Gregory. "One stalwart of the table, though, is ham. Normally I'm a fan of the mustard, brown sugar and pineapple tradition, but I associate cherries with Christmas in Australia - it's smack bang in the middle of cherry season. Also, recently I've become obsessed with good maraschino cherries, and their dark glossiness and slightly bitter almond flavour. This ham reminds me of cherries and cocktails and spice. Talking about it has made me want a Manhattan. Enjoy."
- 1 leg ham, bone in (5kg-6kg)
- 1½ tbsp wholegrain mustard
- 100 gm brown sugar
- 80 cloves (about 1 packet)
- 1 kg pitted black cherries
- 150 gm caster sugar
- 130 ml sherry vinegar
- 3 golden shallots, finely chopped
- 20 gm ginger, peeled and finely chopped
- 3 gm (1 tsp) mixed spice
- 200 gm maraschino cherries and syrup, stalks removed
- 200 gm black cherry jam, or sour cherry jam
- 200 ml cherry juice
- 200 ml homemade pork stock, or good chicken stock
- 100 ml Bourbon
- 100 gm brown sugar
- 1For preserved cherries, simmer ingredients in a saucepan over low heat until cherries start to break down and have a jam-like consistency (1-1¼ hours). Season lightly with salt and pepper and set aside to cool.
- 2For whiskey glaze, blend or finely chop the cherries and combine with remaining ingredients in a saucepan and simmer over high heat until thickened and glossy (10-15 minutes).
- 3Preheat oven to 180C. Gently peel back the ham skin from leg to shank, being careful not to tear the fat. Score the skin around shank with a sharp knife, then remove skin. Score fat 5mm deep to create a diamond pattern. Rub ham all over with mustard, then brown sugar and stud the centre of each diamond with a clove. Place ham in a roasting pan with 80ml water in the base to prevent burning and roast for 30 minutes. Reduce oven to 160C and keep baking, basting ham every 15 minutes with whiskey glaze, until dark and glossy (about 2 hours; if the tray dries out, add a little more water so the sugars don't burn).
- 4Serve the ham with the cherry preserve.