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Video: ‘Ham’ up your Thanksgiving feast

TODAY recipes
updated 11/17/2011 8:18:14 AM ET 2011-11-17T13:18:14

Recipe: Smoked ham with pomegranate molasses, black pepper, and mustard glaze

  • 1⁄2 bone-in smoked ham, 5 to 6 pounds
  • 3 ⁄4 cup pomegranate molasses
  • 1⁄4 cup Dijon mustard, plus extra for serving
  • 2 tablespoons whiskey
  • 1 tablespoon coarsely ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Cornichons

Let the ham come to room temperature 1 hour before cooking. Heat the oven to 325 degrees F. Make the glaze: Combine the pomegranate molasses, 1 /4 cup mustard, whiskey, pepper, allspice, and salt in a bowl, and mix to blend well.

Place the ham, fat side up, in a foil-lined roasting pan. Score the fat in a cross-hatch pattern at 1- to 2-inch intervals without incising the meat. Generously baste the ham with the glaze. Bake in the oven, basting occasionally, until the internal temperature of the ham is 120° degrees F (about 10 minutes per pound). The ham should be deep golden brown and crusty at this time. If not, increase the heat to 450 degrees F and continue to bake for a few minutes, keeping an eye on the ham so it doesn't burn.

Remove from the oven and transfer to a cutting board. Let rest 20 minutes before carving. Transfer the remaining basting sauce to a small saucepan and simmer briefly, brushing down the sides, to heat through and burn off the alcohol. Slice the ham and serve with the mustard, cornichons, and basting sauce as condiments on the side. Transfer the remaining basting sauce to a small saucepan and simmer briefly, brushing down the sides, to heat through and burn off the alcohol. Slice the ham and serve with the mustard, cornichons, and basting sauce as condiments on the side.


TasteFood suggested crushing the peppercorns in a mortar and pestle so you get some larger pieces for greater bite.

Serving Size

Serves 6

Recipe: Pear, brandy, and walnut cranberry sauce

  • 1⁄3 cup plus 2 to 3 tablespoons brandy
  • 2 cinnamon sticks, each broken in half
  • 8 black peppercorns
  • 12 ounces fresh cranberries, picked over
  • 3 ⁄4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 2 medium Bartlett pears, peeled
  • 1⁄2 cup chopped walnuts, toasted

Measure 1/3 cup brandy in a liquid measuring cup; add enough water to reach 1/2 cup liquid total. Set aside. Place the cinnamon sticks and peppercorns in the center of a small piece of cheesecloth or into a large tea bag and tie closed using kitchen twine. In a medium saucepan, combine the cranberries, brown sugar, and cinnamon-pepper bundle. Using the large holes on a box grater, grate the pears into the saucepan. Stir in the brandy-water mixture.

Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce the heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 to 12 minutes, or until the cranberries have burst and the mixture has combined. Remove from the heat. Stir in the remaining 2 to 3 tablespoons brandy. Let cool. Remove and discard the cinnamon-pepper bundle. Stir in all but 1 tablespoon of the toasted walnuts. Transfer the mixture to a small serving bowl and sprinkle with the remaining walnuts.


The sauce can be made a day or two ahead.

Notlazy.rustic: "When choosing the pears, I look for ones that are ripe, but still firm. And, feel free to play with the brandy to make the sauce as boozy (or not) as you want."

Serving Size

Makes 6 to 8 small servings

Recipe: Rum apple cake

  • 12 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for greasing the pan
  • 2 Granny Smith apples
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 3 ⁄4 cup maple sugar (you may substitute raw sugar, or muscovado is great)
  • 3 large organic eggs, separated
  • 1 1⁄3 cups ground almonds
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 tablespoons rum, brandy, or Calvados
  • Confectioners' sugar, for dusting
  • Whipped cream or ice cream, for serving

Heat the oven to 300 degrees F. Butter an 8-inch springform cake pan with a removable base. Peel, quarter, and core the apples. Cut 2 of the quarters into thin slices, toss in a bowl with a splash of lemon juice, and set aside. Slice the remaining apple quarters more thickly into 1/4-inch cubes. Toss in a separate bowl with a splash of lemon juice. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of the maple sugar and set aside for 10 minutes.

Cream the butter and remaining maple sugar together until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg yolks and then incorporate the ground almonds and baking powder, working the mixture as little as possible to keep it light. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl.

In another bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff. Fold half into the cake mixture and then fold in the remainder. Add the rum and any juice given out by the thicker chunks of apple. Gently fold the chunks into the mixture. Transfer to the prepared cake pan and smooth the surface. Drain the reserved apple slices and arrange on top of the cake, fanning out the slices in a circle. Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until the cake is golden and a skewer comes out clean.

Run a knife around the edge of the cake and leave it to cool for several hours before serving. If you'd like to serve it warm, you may reheat it. It keeps well in a covered container. Dust the cake with confectioners' sugar and serve with whipped cream or ice cream.


Colombedujour said her cake is also excellent with brandy or Calvados instead of rum, and that serving it with ice cream or whipped cream is essential. We couldn't agree more! She also pointed out that the cake comes out wonderfully crumbly and tender, but you need to allow it to cool completely or it may be too crumbly to slice.

Serving Size

Serves 8

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