" Renaissance Man" Baked Hamlet

If you're cooking up a feast for an Elizabethan stage troupe, this is the perfect entree. Sweet meats are always welcome among the true "hams."

You will need:

  • 1 (5-7 lb.) fully cooked, bone-in smoked ham
  • 2 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and thinly sliced
  • 2 Bosc pears, peeled, cored, and thinly sliced
  • 1 thumb-sized piece of ginger, thinly sliced
  • 2 cups mead (honey wine) or pear nectar, or a mixture of the two
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground clove
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1/12th Night

1. Preheat oven to 375°F.

2. Combine sliced apples, pears, ginger, mead and pear nectar in a baking dish large enough to accommodate the ham.

3. Place ham cut-side down over the mixture and tent loosely with aluminum foil.

4. Bake 45 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 140°F, basting 2 or 3 times with the collected juices. Remove from oven and increase oven temperature to 425°F.

5. In a small bowl, combine the honey, sugar, dry spices, and 2 tablespoons of the mead mixture from the baking dish. Set aside.

6. Using a very sharp knife, starting at the bottom, score the ham halfway through to the bone in a series of paper-thin slices on all sides. (If you avoid slicing all the way through, the slices should remain intact.)

7. Brush ham well with the honey-spice mixture and return to the oven to bake, uncovered, until nicely glazed and golden brown, about 15-20 minutes. Brush with more glaze every 5 minutes. (Alternatively, skip the return trip to the oven and use an artfully wielded blowtorch to finish the glaze.)

8. After dinner, direct your guests in that obscure Shakespeare play, I Washeth Yonder Dishes.

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