No place like ham for the holidays

Published 7:56 pm Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Cookies, cookies, cookies! I’ve seen more than my share, baking 460 of them for “The Cookies for Santa.”

That was only half of them; the other half came from my partner in crime, Cecilia Dixon.

I heard the event went well, and I apologize for not being there. I was preparing for the Demopolis Singers concert on the same night, which also went very well!

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All that being said, there will be no cookie recipe in this week’s column. Instead, a sweet ham for the holidays.

Sweet Coca-Cola Ham

4 to 4-1/2 pound (bone-in) ham

1 onion peeled and halved

2-liter bottle of Coca-Cola

For the glaze

A handful of whole cloves

1 heaping Tbs molasses

1 Tbs coriander

2 Tbs brown sugar

Put the ham in a pan, skin side down. Add the onion and pour over Coke. Bring it to a boil, then simmer with the lid on (not too tightly). Cook the mixture for around 2 to 2-1/2 hours, about an hour for every 2 pounds, plus an extra 15 minutes if the ham is cold.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 500 degrees.

Take the ham out of the pan and let it cool so you can handle it. Do not throw away the liquid. (Take a look at the recipe on the right side of this column.)

Remove the skin, leaving a thin layer on. For an old-fashioned look, you can score the fat with a knife, leaving large diamond shapes on it. Stud each diamond with a clove. Carefully spread the molasses, minding that you don’t pull out the cloves. Take the coriander and the brown sugar and gently pat the fat with it to complete the glaze. Cook in a foil-lined roasting pan for about 10 minutes or until the glaze is burnished and bubbly.

A most beautiful ham for your holiday table!

Until next time, have fun in the kitchen, experiment and indulge your cravings.

Laura Clements is the pastry chef at Napoleon’s.