When the time comes to select an Easter ham, you have several choices. If you like to carve and you enjoy a pea or bean soup from the leftovers, you will prefer the traditional bone-in variety.
For decorating, a boneless whole or half-ham is perfect; it slices easily without waste. But if your family is small, choose a mini-ham of one or two pounds, or ham slices, which are good for baking or grilling.
Whatever your choice, you will probably want to enhance the ham with a glaze or sauce.
Here are some delicious ways to turn an ordinary ham into the center of attention at an Easter dinner or buffet.
If a ham has some fat cover, glaze and score it during the last half-hour of baking time. Cut a diamond pattern on the outer surface and insert whole cloves at crisscrosses, then brush with a glaze and return the ham to the oven for 30 minutes.
If your ham is without surface fat, glaze but do not score it. Spoon the glaze on at the beginning of the baking time to keep the surface of the meat from drying out.
A cold, frosted ham makes a most attractive buffet dish. Choose one of the canned hams that are fully cooked, boneless, and trimmed of all fat, leaving a lean ham that can be thinly sliced.
Wipe off the gelatin, and using the flat side of a knife, cover the surface of the ham with cream cheese that has been softened or whipped. Refrigerate the ham, then slice it very thinly with an electric knife.
Here are some other recipes to dress up an Easter ham. Golden Glaze for Ham 1/2 cup molasses 1/4 cup prepared mustard 1/4 cup ketchup 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves Combine all ingredients. Pineapple-Raisin Sauce for Ham 1 tablespoon cornstarch 3/4 cup brown sugar 2 teaspoons dry mustard 1/2 teaspoon ginger 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg 1 8 1/2-ounce can crushed pineapple 1/2 cup pineapple or orange juice 1/4 cup raisins
Stir together first 6 ingredients. Add crushed pineapple, juice, and raisins. Heat to boiling, stirring often. Reduce heat and continue cooking 5 minutes. Use to baste a 3-pound ham, and serve remainder as a sauce. Makes 2 cups. Peach-Orange Sauce for Ham 1/4 cup sugar 2 tablespoons cornstarch 1/2 teaspoon ginger Salt to taste 1 1-pound can peaches, drained, reserving liquid Water 1 orange, peeled, cut into pieces
Combine sugar, cornstarch, ginger, and salt in saucepan. Drain peaches, reserving liquid. Add water to liquid to make 1 cup. Gradually stir liquid into cornstarch mixture in saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring often until sauce is thick. Add peaches, and orange. Continue cooking until sauce is thick and glossy. Makes 2 cups. Use as a glaze for ham or as a sauce, served either hot or cold. Dill and Mustard Sauce for Ham 2 tablespoons butter or margarine 2 tablespoons flour 1/2 teaspoon salt 1 cup milk 1/2 cup sour cream 1 tablespoon prepared mustard 1/4 teaspoon dill weed
Melt butter in saucepan. Stir in flour and salt. Add milk. Cook, stirring constantly until thick and smooth. Stir in sour cream, mustard, and dill weed. Continue heating very slowly until it reaches serving temperature. Makes 1 1/2 cups. Almond Mustard Sauce 1 cup sour cream 3 tablespoons prepared mustard 2 to 3 tablespoons horseradish 1 teasoon sugar 2 tablespoons minced parsley 1/2 cup toasted slivered almonds Salt to taste
Combine all ingredients. Chill 30 minutes to blend flavors. Makes about 1 3/4 cups. Pass sauce separately with ham. Lemon Frost for Cold Ham 1 8-ounce package cream cheese 1 8-ounce carton lemon-flavored yogurt 1 teaspoon prepared horseradish Fresh dill and lemon slices (garnish)
Combine cream cheese and yogurt. Beat until smooth. Add horseradish. Spread over top and sides of ham. Chill several hours, or overnight. Garnish with fresh dill and lemon slices, if desired. Makes enough to cover a 7-pound ham.