Because ham has been brined, it’s naturally salty. The best way to balance that out is with a glaze that is sweet and tangy. The glaze is also a tremendous way to introduce some spice notes to the dish, turning an ordinary ham into a complex and multi-faceted flavour sensation. The fact that it looks amazing with a carmelized glaze is an added bonus.
The sweetness can come from brown sugar, maple syrup, honey, or even concentrated fruit juice. Sourness can come from vinegar or lemon juice. Mustard is also often used, for flavour as well as for the vinegar notes introduces.
Some glaze recipes just have cinnamon and maybe some cloves. This recipe from Carlsbad Cravings takes the seasoning game up a notch, adding small amounts of 11 different spices and herbs, creating a beautiful mix that will keep your guests guessing about your secret seasoning.
1 packed cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup honey
3 tablespoons cider vinegar
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons yellow mustard
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp each: onion powder, garlic powder, ground sage, dried parsley, ground nutmeg ground ginger, ground cloves, paprika
1/4 tsp each: black pepper, ancho chili powder
Remove the ham from the fridge a couple of hours before you are ready to cook so it can come to room temperature. Place it on a rack in a roasting pan. Preheat oven to 325.
Combine all ingredients in a saucepan and heat, stirring gently until sugar melts — 2 to 3 minutes.
Using a pastry brush, spread ⅓ of the glaze over the ham. Set remaining glaze aside.
Create a loose tin foil tent over the ham and put it in the oven.
Bake until the internal temperature is 100 to 110 degrees.
Remove the foil tent and spoon pan juices over the ham. Brush another ⅓ of the glaze over the ham. (You may need to reheat the glaze as it will have thickened and hardened)
Turn the oven up to 400 degrees, and return the ham to the oven.
When the ham has reached an internal temperature of 140, remove it from the oven. Don’t overcook it, or you can wind up with a dry ham.
Remove it from the oven, spoon pan juices over the ham and apply the remaining ⅓ of the glaze. Let it sit for 15 minutes or so to let the juices settle, slice and serve.
To complete the dish, serve it with a traditional English sharp mustard: just mix dry mustard powder with a trickle of water to create a paste. A little of this goes a long way — put too much on a slice and you can clear your sinuses out. But a small smear of sharp mustard is the perfect complement to the sweet, salty and tangy ham.