Swedish Christmas ham

Julskina recept Christmas recipe, Swedish westcoast, Cheryl Marie Cordeiro

Honey mustard baked ham.
Photo Jan-Erik Nilsson and Cheryl Marie Cordeiro for CMC © 2009

Baked ham is perhaps what Sweden and Singapore share most in common at the Christmas table, the difference being that in Singapore one could easily order it over the counter at the shops, whilst in Sweden, each household is more likely to bake their own.

Boneless gammon in pot, Swedish Christmas ham, julskinka

Salted gammon in the pot.

What you’ll need if you’re going to do a homebaked ham is to purchase cured ham or boneless gammon that is readily available at the grocer’s. In Sweden, a little recipe follows each netted packaging of salted, raw ham.

The entire boneless gammon goes into a pot of water and simmered for about 3 hours. We dropped bay leaves, peppercorns and some carrots in our pot. Most recipes recommend that the inside of ham should reach between 70 and 74 deg C, you could go higher or lower, depending on how cooked you want your ham.

Advent candles, decorated, Cheryl Marie Cordeiro

White moss that grows abundantly in Sweden, is usually used to decorate candle holders for advent candles in Sweden.

Taking ham out of the boil, Swedish Christmas Ham, julskinka recept

Ham out of the pot, still in its netting.

Once the ham is done cooking in the pot, it’s carefully taken off the heat and out of the pot. What’s left behind is quite a full flavoured, salty broth that in Sweden is used for dopp i grytan, which is thin hardbread dipped in this broth and eaten with a generous dollop of butter.

When the ham is cool enough, we remove the skin, leaving a layer of fat on the ham.

Stysö autumn honey, LissElla S Special mustard winner of World Championship 2008 and 2009, Cheryl Marie Cordeiro

Honey mustard made of Styrsö honey and LissElla S Special mustard.

The ham is scoured diagonally across, both ways. It was then washed over with a mixture of honey and mustard. This year, we managed to get some autumn honey from a bee farm on Styrsö. What I like about this honey is how its deep floral tone gives the ham a depth of sweetness that regular honeys don’t. We combined this with LissElla’s S Special mustard (the mustard which won the World Championship in mustard for 2008 and 2009).

Washing over with mustard and honey, Swedish Christmas ham, julskinka recept

On with the honey and mustard!

Putting cloves into the ham, Swedish Christmas ham, julskinka recept

Studding the ham with cloves, after the breadcrumbs have gone on.

Once the ham is covered with honey and mustard, it was dusted with bread crumbs and a clove put in the center of each square, which makes it look like a decorative baked pineapple when golden brown.

Honey mustard baked Christmas ham recipe, julskinka recept

In the oven.

It doesn’t take too long to turn a golden brown in the oven. We set our oven at 180 deg C and the ham sits in there for about 15 minutes or so.

Swedish Christmas ham recipe, julskinka recept, green cabbage leaves Cheryl Marie Cordeiro

Usually served cold, in thick slices, with apple sauce and mustard on the side.

In Sweden, our honey baked ham is served cold, accompanied with apple sauce and mustard on the side. Ever so often however, I find myself preferring to warm up my slice of ham, eating it like a ham steak, with bread and butter on the side.

There are variations in recipes to be found in cookbooks and over the internet, depending on the type of ham you wish to make. Some delicious sounding recipes can be found on BBC Food.

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