Christmas at our home is always a huge affair. I plan every detail with the hope that my kids will remember the activities, events, and food of the season.
All three of my kids have birthdays right after Christmas, which is when they get their big gifts for the year. During the Christmas season we focus more on traditions, family time, and buying gifts for others. Our kids are each given a budget to spend on gifts for the family, and then we help a military family and choose angel tags from the tree at the mall. Santa makes a visit to our home with gifts and stockings, and then grandparents, aunts and uncles fill in the rest.
The traditions that we started years ago with our cute little family include a variety of fun things. My favorite is the 12 Days of Christmas. It's the one thing that my children look forward to and start talking about long before December arrives. In the twelve days leading up to Christmas Eve we gather each night, open up a gift bag, and look inside. The gifts are usually trinket toys that I find here and there, and we get a chance to be silly and laugh.
The other traditions that we enjoy are seeing the lights in our neighborhood, seeing local choirs sing the music of the season, decorating our home, and of course making our favorite foods to eat.
This year, while chatting with my mom, she mentioned that a friend has been bringing a pecan-crusted ham to their annual Christmas party. This intrigued me, and I got to thinking about ingredients that pair well with pecans. I decided that a sweet, tasty, hot-buttered rum batter would be perfect with pecans and ham.
I went to work finding the best bone-in ham that I could, and gathered my ingredients. The ham turned out amazing! It was so sweet on the outside, and warm and salty on the inside. I saved the drippings and juice from the baking pan and served it in a gravy boat for those that wanted a little bit more buttered-rum gravy.
I love having a large ham for the holidays because it will provide several extra meals for us to enjoy for the week after Christmas. This recipe turns a simple ham into a gourmet feast.
Hot Buttered Rum and Pecan Encrusted Christmas Ham
- 10 pound sliced spiral ham
- 2 c turbinado sugar or any large grain sugar
- 1 tsp molasses
- 1 stick of butter (1/2 cup)
- 1/3 c of dark rum
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp ground cloves
- pinch of salt
- 1.5 c chopped pecans
NOTE: You can use rum extract in place of rum, but start off with a teaspoon at a time.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
In a small sauce pan combine sugar, molasses, butter, rum, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and pinch of salt. Cook until batter starts to bubble. Remove from heat. Take half of the batter and put into a separate bowl to use later.
Place your ham in a rimmed baking dish, with the cut side down. The ham and batter will create about 1 inch of juice after baking.
Use a pastry brush and brush the batter on ham. Loosely cover with foil. Bake for 30 minutes. Brush ham again with batter and bake for 30 more minutes (one hour total cook time so far.)
Add the chopped pecans to the second bowl of hot buttered rum batter. Stir well. It will be thick.
Remove ham from oven and carefully cover the outside of the ham with pecan buttered rum mixture. Leave uncovered and bake for 30 more minutes.
NOTE: If your ham is smaller or larger than 10 pounds, you will need to adjust bake times. You want the internal temperature to be around 135 degrees.
Remove from oven, transfer to serving plate and use a gravy boat to serve the ham and buttered rum drippings.
This post is part of BlogHer's Holiday Parties editorial series, made possible by Cracker Barrel.
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