Friday 7 December 2012

Brown Sugar Christmas Ham

Brown Sugar Christmas Ham
Christmas ham has got to be my signature festive dish. I make it every year. If this doesn't warm your cockles and make you want to watch Elf, you're as lost cause! I serve it with apple and gingerbread stuffing, and crispy roasties. I sometimes throw a bit of veg in there too... The best thing about ham? It's well easy. If you can watch a pan, you can make this. Fact.


  • 1 large ham. Note: In the past I have spent a fortune on hams from the butcher and they were great. I have also bought them from Marks and Spencers or the supermarket. They were great too! I usually get one that's about 1.4 kilos (M&S usually have 1/3 off over Christmas). That's enough for four people plus some leftovers. God bless leftovers.
  • 1 litre of apple juice
  • 1 litre of cranberry juice
  • A little warm water
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 3 whole cloves
  • About 100g dark brown sugar for the glaze


  1. Wash your ham in warm water to remove excess salt. It's a myth that you have to soak them overnight. Maybe back in the dark ages, but modern meat production means this is no longer necessary.
  2. Tie it up. Ham has a tendency to separate when cooked if left to its own devices. Do this by tying the string round the edge with the layer of fat and knotting it. Repeat so it has a parallel piece. Then wrap round the other way (see above). Failing this, just make sure it's tied up enough so it can't expand! This is the hardest bit done.
  3. Pop it in a big stockpot or pan. It needs to have a bit of room to manoeuvre!
  4. Pour in the fruit juices and top up with warm water if it doesn't cover the ham.
  5. Add the cinnamon stick and cloves to the juice.
  6. Simmer on a low heat - it should be gently bubbling.
  7. It'll need cooking for 70 minutes per kilo. Balance the lid so that there is a gap between the lid and pan. You'll need to keep a bit of an eye on it. Just adjust the temperature if it starts bubbling too much or too little.
  8. When it's done simmering, preheat the oven to it's maximum temperature.
  9. Remove the ham from the cooking liquor and place in an ovenproof dish. Take off the string and trim off some of the fat if you want to.
  10. Now the fun bit! Dump the sugar on top of the ham then rub it in. Yes, it's a lot of sugar. What's your point? Make sure most of it is on the ham rather than in the dish.
  11. Now bung it in the middle of the hot oven for about 15 minutes. You're looking for little bubbles in the sugar. I turn it half way.
  12. When it's out, cover loosely with foil and let it rest for about 10-15 minutes. 
  13. Carve and pour over some of the sugary juices from the dish.
  14. Stuff your face. Job done.
Please leave your comments below... x

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  1. We have a ham every year too!!! One year I didnt have any turkey, just this huge slab of beautiful sweet salty ham... oh god, my mouth is watering!

  2. hey

    the ham looks amazing! I love the spice combination, the apple juice and the brown sugar! A must try! Thanks for sharing :)

  3. It's 9 in the morning and my mouth is watering for ham and roasties. Yummy!


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