It’s hard to beat an old-fashioned glazed baked ham spiked with whole cloves for Christmas. Easy to prepare, it comes out of the oven looking beautiful, and the aroma -- is not of this world!

Maple Glazed Ham

9-lb. fully cooked, butt-end ham, not spiral cut

About 50 whole cloves

Sweet hot mustard glaze

1 c. apple cider vinegar

¼ c. maple syrup

¼ c. brown sugar

¼ c. Dijon mustard

1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce

Remove the ham from the refrigerator (still wrapped) a couple of hours before you intend to cook it so that it can get closer to room temperature.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Place ham, fattier side up, in a foil-lined roasting pan. Score a diamond pattern in the fat (do not score the meat itself, just the fat and any skin) with a sharp knife, about ¼ to ⅜ inches deep, and the parallel lines about 1 inch apart. You can score the fat to as deep as where the fat meets the meat.

Place the cloves in the intersection points of the diamonds to form a nice pattern around the top and sides of the ham.

Prepare glaze. In a small saucepan on high heat, let the cider vinegar reduce down from 1 to ¼ cup, remove from heat. Mix maple syrup, brown sugar, Dijon mustard and Worcestershire sauce thoroughly with a whisk in a small bowl, then add cider vinegar reduction.

Brush about half of the glaze over the ham, and reserve the rest for the last 20 minutes of cooking time. Try to work the glaze into the scored lines.

Place the ham in the oven and bake for about 18 minutes per pound -- for a 9-pound ham, about 2 hours, 40 minutes. Remember, the ham is already fully cooked, so you're not cooking it, you're just heating it.

Baste the ham with the remaining glaze about 20 minutes before removing the ham from the oven.

When the ham has reached the desired temperature, remove from the oven and brush the ham all over with pan juices. Cover with aluminum foil and let rest for 15 minutes before serving.

To slice a bone-in ham, cut around the bone first, and then using a long, sharp knife, slice and serve.

Pair this holiday ham with Bridlewood’s 2016 Santa Barbara County Reserve Viognier. This vintage has a lovely golden color with a pale green tinge, and delightfully intense aromas of fresh pear, apricot and white blossom. Creamy and smooth on the palate, this wine offers flavors of lemon gelato, orange blossom and dried apricot.

All of the fruit for their Reserve Viognier was grown in the Santa Ynez Valley at a site just around the corner from their winery. After five months in barrel, they blended the best lots to create a seamless, easy drinking, bright viognier to enjoy all year long.

Enjoy!

John David Finley is a freelance writer and author of the cookbook "Sacred Meals from our Family Table," which features Santa Barbara County wines. He can be reached at sacredmeals@comcast.net.

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