GooGoo died before I was born, but her ham recipe has been a holiday staple in our family since I can remember, first at my grandmother’s Easter table, and then at my mother’s.
The torch has been passed this year, and I will be making the Easter ham for our family’s celebration on Sunday. I was grateful to be able to test out GooGoo’s recipe in advance for our photo shoot, and am happy to report that the process was one-hundred percent pain-free.
Aside from tradition and the general ease of preparing this ham for baking, there are several things I like about GooGoo’s recipe. Just minutes after I placed the ham in the oven, my kitchen smelled heavenly. Tony came home about fifteen minutes after the ham went in and practically swooned with delight. Seriously, he was almost weak in the knees – reason enough to make this ham again. And again, and again.
But my favorite discovery was that this is the perfect recipe to make with kids. From studding the ham with cloves, to preparing the paste and basting it as it bakes, watching the water level in the pan, and even whisking the gravy, kids can be a part of the entire process. If you’re a parent or grandparent, I hope you’ll consider inviting the little ones in your life to help out – I guarantee they’ll never forget it, and will probably even volunteer to help next year.
When buying the ham, I was confronted with the choice between a shank half or a butt half. (Yes, I know I just said butt. You can too – it will give the kids a good laugh.) Both were close in price and looked essentially the same to me, so I asked the friendly butcher at Hornbacher’s which one would be better. He explained that there are more bones in the butt half, and that the shank half, which was the slightly more expensive option, had just one bone and better flavor. I took the shank half.
Ham comes already cooked, so you could just eat it straight from the wrapping if you like. But GooGoo had a better vision, as baking the ham intensifies its flavor. GooGoo’s recipe is delicious, straightforward, easy to follow and practically foolproof. The one key to remember is to add a little water to the pan once the ham is in, which will help prevent the sugar from burning. I had to add a tablespoon or two of water several times as it baked, so be sure to check the pan often. This will be a great job for Gio.
We’re including GooGoo’s recipe for ham gravy today, so this step is important to ensure that the drippings can be used; however, if you don’t intend to make gravy it’s not such a big deal.
GooGoo’s ham is excellent served either hot or at room temperature, which means you can prepare it in advance for an Easter brunch if desired. But, if you do plan to make the ham gravy it is best to when made and served right after the ham is removed from the oven.
We hope you enjoy GooGoo’s baked ham at your family’s Easter feast, but it will brighten up your table even on a plain old Monday. I know it did for GooGoo. Happy Easter!
Other recipes you might enjoy for your Easter feast:
Easter Egg Strata (eggbake)
Apple Sausage Breakfast Ring
Honey Gorgonzola Hearts Salad
Apple Spinach Salad
Marilyn’s Easy Potato Salad
Easy Fresh Fruit Salad
Perfect Whipped Potatoes
Green Beans Nasello
Marianna’s Roasted Red Peppers
Prosciutto e Melone
Tuscan Bean Salad
Honey Mustard Crusted Rack of Lamb
Grilled Top Sirloin Roast
Flourless Chocolate Torte
Angel Food Cake