For moist ham, it is best to soak it overnight before baking so that it doesn’t become to dry. For a stronger, crisp flavour, you can use a dry cider.






Skill level

Average: 3 (9 votes)


  • 1 whole leg or shoulder ham (see Note) (about 5 kg), skin removed
  • 2 x 750 ml bottles dry cider
  • 6 pieces blade mace (see Note)
  • 220 g (1 cup) brown sugar
  • 2 oranges, 1 juiced, 1 thickly sliced
  • ½ tsp mustard powder
  • warm potato salad, to serve

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


Soaking time overnight

Place ham in a large pan and add 1 bottle of cider and enough water to cover the ham (don’t worry if hock isn’t submerged). Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

Remove ham and discard the liquid. (Alternatively, if you have the time and energy, reduce it down and use it, along with the pan juices, to baste the ham as it cooks).

Preheat oven to 160°C. Pour remaining bottle of cider into a saucepan, add blade mace, sugar and orange juice, and bring to the boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes or until liquid reduces by one-third, then add mustard powder. Place ham in a roasting pan and pour over cider mixture. Layer orange slices over the top.

Cover ham with foil and bake, basting regularly with pan juices and removing foil halfway, for 2 hours or until ham has warmed through and liquid is starting to thicken.

Transfer ham to a plate and cover to keep warm. Place roasting pan over medium heat and cook for 5 minutes or until the liquid is thickened. Strain, then spoon sauce over hot ham and serve as part of the Christmas spread with warm potato salad and a glass of something good.


• Source good-quality ham from delis and smallgoods specialists.
• Mace is the outer layer of the nutmeg seed. When it’s removed and dried, it is called blade mace. It is available from selected spice shops. Substitute whole nutmeg.



Photography by Alan Benson.


As seen in Feast magazine, December 2011, Issue 4. For more recipes and articles, pick up a copy of this month's Feast magazine or check out our great subscriptions offers here.