Sweet Spiced Gammon

It is traditional to have a ham at Christmas and the way to ensure that it is full of flavour and character is to prepare and cook it yourself. In this recipe I bake the ham in the old fashioned way, encased in a flour and water paste. I think it tastes better like this but you can cook it wrapped in foil if you prefer.

Ingredients

  • approximately 11 lb (4.95 kg) smoked gammon on the bone
  • 3 tablespoons (3 x 15 ml spoons) black treacle
  • 2 tablespoons (2 x 15 ml spoons) dark brown sugar
  • 3 teaspoons (3 x 5 ml spoons) black peppercorns
  • 2 teaspoons (2 x 5 ml spoons) allspice berries
  • 1 teaspoon (5 ml spoon) cloves
  • 2-3 teaspoons (2-3 x 5 ml spoons) juniper berries
  • lb (750 g) plain flour
  • water

For the glaze

  • 3 teaspoons (3 x 5 ml spoon) French mustard
  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml spoon) redcurrant jelly

Method

Soak the gammon in a large sink of cold water, if possible, overnight, changing the water once or twice. Take it out and pat it dry. In a bowl, put the black treacle and the dark brown sugar. Grind the black peppercorns, the allspice and the cloves in a coffee grinder or with a pestle and motar. Mix them into the black treacle and sugar. Roughly crush the juniper berries and press them into any cracks in the gammon. Smear the treacle and spice mixture over the flesh.

Mix the flour with enough cold water to make an elastic dough. Roll the dough out on a floured board into a piece large enough to wrap up the gammon. Wrap it very loosely - since it shrinks while cooking - and press the edges to seal. Patch up any cracks or holes with foil. Put the parcel into a roasting pan join-sides uppermost. Heat the oven to Gas Mark 4/350°F/180°C, put the pan on a low shelf and bake for 20-25 minutes per 1 lb (500 g).

When the gammon is cooked, break off the flour crust and cut off the hard skin while it is still hot. Using a sharp knife cut a diamond pattern in the fat. Turn up the oven to Gas Mark 6/400°F/200°C. For the glaze, mix the mustard and redcurrant jelly in a bowl and then brush the mixture over the fat. Put the gammon back in the oven for 15-20 minutes until well glazed. Leave until cold.

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