FIfteen Recipes of Christmas- Neil Haydock’s Toffee Apple Ham
1 green ham – with the bone
2 carrots peeled
2 bay leaves
1 large onion peeled
12 black peppercorns
1 sprig of thyme
1.5 litres of apple juice
500g soft dark brown sugar
½ a cinnamon stick
1 whole star anise
Soak the ham overnight in a large container of cold water, changing the water at least once, this will remove any excess salt.
Place the ham into a large pan, big enough to cover the ham with water.
Place in the aromats (the carrot, onion, bay, thyme, and peppercorns) cover with cold water and bring up to a boil then reduce to a simmer. From this point the ham will take around two and a half hours to cook.
Keep the ham covered with water throughout the cooking, topping up when needed with hot water.
The way of telling if your ham is cooked is to look at the two bones sticking out of the hock end take hold of the larger bone with a cloth and pull the smaller bone away if it comes out easily your ham is cooked.
If you don’t have the time or a pan big enough to cook your own ham ask your butcher to do it for you and then you can do the baking part yourself.
Leave the ham in the cooking liquid to cool this will retain the moisture in the ham.
When cool remove the ham from the cooking liquor and place in the fridge for at least three to four hours so it is nice and cold.
Keep the cooking liquor to make soup.
With a sharp knife score the ham lightly just going through the skin making nice one inch squares.
In the middle of each square press in a clove, this is both decorative and adds flavour.
To prepare the glaze, place the apple juice, sugar, cinnamon and star anise into a pan and bring to the boil, continue to boil for around 5 minutes, this will start the process of thickening the sauce.
Preheat your oven to 150 degrees centigrade and place the ham into a high sided roasting tray.
Pour over the syrup and place into the oven.
Every 10 minutes take out the ham and baste with the syrup. As the syrup thickens it will coat the ham more and more and the ham with caramelise. (This process takes about an hour depending on your oven.)
Remove the ham from the oven and continue to baste as it cools as the syrup will thicken further, giving a deeper glaze on the ham.
At this point it is impossible not to pick off little (or not so little) morsel to try dipped in the syrup.
The ham can be carved warm, removing cloves as you go. I like to serve this with cranberry and clementine sauce, new potatoes, pickled red cabbage, coleslaw, cornichon and lots of crusty warm bread .