Gilding the Ham: Maple Syrup Glaze

I made a ham for Easter this year since my kids had been lobbying for it for  years (I last served one in 2001). I don’t dislike ham, but it just doesn’t inspire me.

I do have to give it credit, though, for being an easy dish to make. I bought a pre-cooked spiral ham, so I just had to heat it up. The only challenge in that was that the directions were wildly inaccurate with respect to cooking time. The ham was barely warm when the appointed time of dinner arrived and the meal had to be delayed (it helped that some of my company was late arriving, mitigating my faux pas).

The only area of creativity where a pre-cooked ham is concerned is the glaze. Mine came with a plastic pouch of some type of honey glaze, but the list of ingredients was sketchy — too many chemical terms for my liking! And besides, I wanted to be in charge of flavour, thank you very much. So the packet went into the garbage and I looked at a few different ideas online to come up with an easy recipe for a maple syrup-based glaze.

Once the ham was finally hot and about 30 minutes from being ready, I brushed it with the following mixture: 1/4 cup maple syrup, 1/4 cup brown sugar, 2 tablespoons dijon mustard (whole grain preferably as I love the look and texture) and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Easy!

I enjoyed the painterly act of brushing on the glaze, ensuring the entire outside of the ham was evenly coated with its sticky sweet and spicy goodness. It gave the ham a great burnished colour  and added an extra burst of flavour.

Brent took a few quick pictures while I was slicing the beast, but to be perfectly honest by that point I was in a rush to get everything on the table. I was being hampered by the bone (my advice: buy boneless!), which was not doing my general disposition any good, so setting up an attractive shot was not a priority. The best I can manage is one small picture that shows how attractive the glaze turned out.

It’s good to know that even with an ingredient as ‘pre-fab’ as a ham, it’s possible to add your own touch of flavour and flair for presentation.


  1. A ham makes a great main course for a holiday: not much to fuss over and the end-result is great! Your glaze sounds just about perfect to me, adding a nice golden-brown to the roast . This is the 1st year in several that I didn’t serve ham on Easter. To be honest, I missed the sandwich lunches this week more than I did the actual ham dinner. I’m a sucker for a good ham & cheese! 🙂

      • Way off topic and feel free to delete … I just finished a fantastic dinner of pizzoccheri. That’s right. I successfully made a batch of buckwheat noodles! Unlike previously, they didn’t break apart. If you do not mind, I’d like to blog a “how to” post on making the noodles during which I’ll refer readers to your post to see the pizzoccheri recipe — it is yours, after all. I want to post the entry on Wednesday but, if you prefer, I can send you the recipe and you can blog about it instead. That’s fine, too. 🙂

      • Oh, this is exciting! Of course you should blog about the pizzoccheri as it’s you who’s done all the work to develop the noodles. I am so looking forward to seeing your post. The reference back to mine will be another blogging ‘first’ for me.

        It’s funny how something that starts as a solitary exercise — me in front of my computer, writing about cooking — blossoms into a sense of community as I’ve met so many kind and sharing people like you who share a passion for cooking. Almost none of my friends do, so this is a wonderful outlet for me.

        And just to add one more thing to this already lengthy reply, I realized I haven’t posted my contact information on the blog, so that’s a project for today.

        Looking forward to your pizzoccheri post! Happy cooking!

  2. Love your comment about “I wanted to be in charge of flavour, thank you very much.”

    The ham was great and I was a bit of a ham at the firepit. A very successful dinner Mar.


Leave a comment and let's chat!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.