Christmas Masterclass: The perfect ham

Published on 07 December 2017

While many traditional Christmas dishes from the Northern Hemisphere aren’t summer-friendly for the Australian table, the famous glazed ham is different – and it makes for great leftovers on Boxing Day, too.

In this Christmas Masterclass, Julia Busuttil Nishimura, author of Ostro (available at Dymocks), shares her secrets for a scrumptious pineapple allspice glazed ham. Watch the video to hear more from Julia.

The Perfect Ham

Serves: 8-10
Difficulty: Medium



  • 1 half leg ham, preferably double smoked (around 5-6kg)
  • Cloves, to stud

Pineapple allspice glaze

  • 250ml unsweetened pineapple juice
  • 200g dark brown sugar
  • 100ml maple syrup
  • 150ml beer (I like to use IPA)
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp ground allspice
  • 6 cardamom pods
  • 1 stick cinnamon


1. Preheat the oven to 190°C.

2. Combine all of the ingredients for the glaze in a pot and simmer over a medium heat until slightly thickened and reduced by half (around 20-30 minutes). Set aside.

3. Prepare the ham by peeling back the skin, being careful not to remove the fat at the same time. Use a sharp knife to score around the skin of the shank and detach the skin in one piece. Reserve the skin for later as it can be used to cover the ham in the fridge and prevent it from drying out.

4. Use a sharp knife to gently score the fat of the ham, diagonally one way, then diagonally the other, to create a diamond pattern, keeping your score lines around 4cm apart. Be careful not to cut through to ham itself. Stud each point of the diamonds with a clove.

5. Place the ham in a shallow baking dish and fill with 3cm of water. Brush the ham with half the glaze and place in the preheated oven. Bake for 1-1½ hours, brushing the ham with the remaining glaze every ten minutes, until the ham is a deep golden colour. Allow to cool for 30 minutes before carving.

6 .Serve slices of the ham with crusty bread and salad. Any leftover ham can be stored in the fridge, covered with the reserved ham skin.

Julia’s tips:

  • “If you don’t have pineapple juice, you could switch out for orange juice.”
  • “If you can’t get your hands on IPA, you could also try a pilsner, or any lager really will do.”
  • “The ham is already cooked, so it just needs to be warmed through, but what you’re really looking for is a deep, burnish golden colour on top of the ham.”
  • “I love enjoying the leftover ham on Boxing Day with fresh crusty rolls, a sharp cheddar and a homemade salad.”

Stay tuned to our blog for more Christmas Masterclasses, and pick up everything you need for Julia’s glazed ham at Coles and Woolworths.