Easter Ham

Like most Christian countries, the Danes celebrate Easter with lamb, chicken and Easter eggs. In Spring, dawns mark the beginning of the days that will outlast the nights. At Easter all the small children in Denmark are busy writing letters to their families called “Gækkebrev” and are translated to a letter with a snowdrop in it. Using a scissor and piece of paper, the children cut a decorative pattern  and write a little poem on it. If the person who receives the letter can’t guess who sent the letter, they are supposed to give the children a candy Easter egg. Of course, the grandparents and parents can guess who sent them, but they always act like they can’t. These “gækkebrev” are a Danish invention and date back to the 1600 when people send letters to each asking them to solve a puzzle. Many people believe that Hans Christian Andersen was the founder of this tradition, as his papercuts were as fantastic as his fairy tales, but he was not born until 1805 and the first gækkebrev dates back to 1770.

Apricot Glacanzed Easter Ham 

Serves 10-12

3-4 kilos//6-8 lb. lightly salted, smoked ham

for the glaze:

5 oz./150 g brown sugar

1 can apricots (13 oz./410)

1 tsk. mustard

1 tsp. lemon juice

20 whole juniper berries

Garnish; parsley

To make the ham, dry  ham with a paper towel. Insert a thermometer at the thickest place. Place ham in a cold oven and bake it, until the thermometer shows 65-70 °C (  150-158° F) 2-2½ hours.

Remove the thermometer and increase the temperature to 225°C 425°F. Skin the ham, leaving the fat on. Cut fat in a cross-hatch pattern without cutting into the meat. Press juniper berries into the fat. Mix brown sugar and mustard. Puré 6 of the halverede apricot i en blender and mix with the sugar/mustard mixture. Spred over the ham. Return the ham to the oven and bake 10-l5 minutes until slightly browned. Be careful not to burn the ham. Let the ham rest in the oven 10 minutes 10 minutes before serving.

Warm the left-over apricots their own juice.

Suggested accompaniment: new baby potatoes

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