Christmas ham with orange and quince glaze

Glazed edges worth fighting over

Glazed edges worth fighting over

This recipe is probably useless for oh about 12 months until it’s time for ham lovers to prep for another Christmas. But I can’t wait! Usually when my family glazes a ham, we peel off the skin, rub over a handful of brown sugar, secure over some pineapple rings and a few cloves poked in before the whole thing is rolled into the oven.

This year I ordered a ham made from pasture raised pigs. It was worth every pretty penny. A happy pig means a happy ham and Christmas should be a joyous time. Quince paste, orange juice, brown sugar and orange zest come together, painting thick splodges over the meat. I considered adding a little dry mustard powder but decided in the end that it might overpower the quince flavours but maybe that’s an option for next year. I set up the ham leg on a trivet, scored the fat before brushing over the glaze. I used half a handful of cloves to stud over the meat before baking it for about an hour and a half.

Oh piggy. You didn't die in vain but were turned into sweet and sticky ham goodness. Thank you.

Oh piggy. You didn’t die in vain but were turned into sweet and sticky ham goodness. Thank you.

The scent wafting through the house was so evocative on Christmas Day! About halfway through, I brushed another layer of glaze over the ham which nicely caramelised over the meat, becoming sticky and unctuous. People were fighting over the pieces with a rim of glaze and it’s a relief to know my gamble paid off. I did notice with my fancy ham that far more smoky fat leached out than others in the past.

Feeds: Glazes a large ham that feeds 20 people
Start cooking: About 3 hours before eating

Christmas ham with orange and quince glaze


  • 1 leg x ham (mine was about 5 kgs)
  • 100 grams x quince paste
  • Juice x half an orange
  • Zest x one whole orange
  • 3 tablespoons x brown sugar
  • Cloves


  1. Preheat the oven to 220 C / 430 F.
  2. Combine the quince paste, orange juice, orange zest and brown sugar. Heat in a small saucepan, stirring until combined. Alternatively, heat in the microwave for one minute and then stir together.
  3. Cool the glaze for 15 minutes.
  4. Prepare your ham by peeling off the skin and set over a trivet in a large roasting pan. Score the fat into diamonds and then brush over the glaze.
  5. Stud the centre of each diamond with a clove.
  6. Glaze the ham in the preheated oven for 45 minutes before basting with another layer of the paste. continue to cook for a further 45 minutes.
  7. Once caramelised, take the ham from the oven and remove the cloves before carving. Let it sit for at least half an hour before carving.
Brushed with the glaze and ready for the oven

Brushed with the glaze and ready for the oven