As it bakes, this succulent ham will whet eager appetites with a smoky, sweet aroma.
Remove and discard skin from ham. Make 1/8"-deep cuts in fat on ham in a diamond design. Brush mustard over top and sides of ham. Coat ham with brown sugar, pressing into mustard, if necessary.
Using an ice pick, make a hole in center of each diamond. Insert a clove into each hole. Place ham, fat side up, in a lightly greased large shallow roasting pan. Insert meat thermometer, making sure it does not touch fat or bone. Pour apple cider into pan. Bake, uncovered, at 350° for 2 hours, basting often with apple cider.
Combine dates and next 3 ingredients; pour into pan with ham. Bake 30 minutes or until meat thermometer registers 140°, basting often with mixture in pan; cover ham with aluminum foil to prevent burning.
Transfer ham to a serving platter; let stand 10 minutes before slicing. Remove fruit from pan, using a slotted spoon, and set aside.
Pour pan drippings into a large saucepan, and cook over medium-high heat until reduced by half. Stir in reserved fruit. Serve sauce with ham. Garnish, if desired.
Note: To save time, buy a cooked trimmed ham. All you'll need to do is score the thin layer of fat around the ham.
Christmas with Southern Living 1999