Gordon Ramsay has Christmas all sewn up. Here he reveals some of his favourite festive recipes.
Honey glazed ham
A lovely glazed ham is a great staple over Christmas, not least because it’s also delicious cold with my pear and saffron chutney. Roast on the day if serving hot, or up to two days ahead if serving cold. Any leftover ham can be used in a variety of dishes and please don’t throw away the ham stock – it is great for soups, stews, risottos and sauces, so freeze it in convenient batches.
3kg unsmoked boneless gammon joint
4 medium carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
1 leek, cleaned and roughly chopped
1 onion, peeled and roughly chopped
1 tsp black peppercorns, lightly crushed
1 tsp coriander seeds, lightly crushed
1 cinnamon stick, broken in half
3 bay leaves
handful of cloves
100g demerara sugar
25ml sherry vinegar
Put the gammon into a large saucepan and pour on enough cold water to cover. Add the carrots, leek, onion, peppercorns, coriander seeds, cinnamon stick and bay leaves. Bring to the boil, turn down to a simmer and cook for 3 hours, topping up with more boiling water if necessary. Skim off the froth and any impurities that rise to the surface from time to time. If cooking in advance, leave the ham to cool in the stock overnight. Otherwise, allow it to cool a little, then remove from the pan. Strain the stock (and save for soups, sauces, etc.).
To make the glaze, put the sugar, Madeira, sherry vinegar and honey into a pan and stir over a low heat. Bring to the boil, lower the heat and simmer for 3–4 minutes, until you have a glossy dark syrup. Do not leave unattended, as it can easily boil over.
Preheat the oven to 190°C/Gas 5. Lift the ham onto a board. Snip and remove the string and then cut away the skin from the ham, leaving behind an even layer of fat. Lightly score the fat all over in a criss-cross,
diamond pattern, taking care not to cut into the meat. Stud the centre of each diamond with a
Put the ham into a roasting tin and pour half of the glaze over the surface. Roast for 15 minutes.
Pour on the rest of the glaze and return to the oven for another 25–35 minutes until the ham is golden brown, basting with the pan juices frequently. It also helps to turn the pan as you baste to ensure that the joint colours evenly.
Remove from the oven and leave to rest for 15 minutes before carving and serving with the accompaniments.
Pear and Amaretto cheesecake
Simple and delicious, this cheesecake requires neither gelatine nor baking. To save time, you can use a tin of pear quarters in natural juice, but freshly poached pears lend a better flavour and texture.
For the poached pears
2 large pears
50g caster sugar
1 vanilla pod
150g digestive biscuits
50g unsalted butter
2 tbsp chocolate spread, such as Nutella
For the filling
300g full-fat cream cheese
125g caster sugar
550ml double cream
3 tbsp amaretto liqueur
100g amaretti biscuits, lightly crushed
120g good-quality dark chocolate
Icing sugar, to dust
First, poach the pears for the filling. Peel, quarter and core the pears, then cut into 1cm dice. Dissolve the sugar in the water in a small saucepan over a low heat. Split the vanilla pod and scrape out the seeds into a large bowl; set aside for later. Add the pod to the sugar syrup and simmer for a few minutes to infuse. Add the diced pears and poach gently for about 3 minutes. Drain and leave to cool.
For the cheesecake base, blitz the digestives in a food processor to fine crumbs, then tip into a bowl. Melt the butter in a small pan and stir in the chocolate spread. Add to the biscuit crumbs and mix well. Spread the mixture evenly over the base of a 23–24cm springform cake tin, pressing down lightly. Chill for at least 20 minutes until set.
For the filling, add the cream cheese and sugar to the vanilla seeds. Using a hand whisk, beat the mixture until well blended. Add 450ml of the cream and the liqueur and whisk to soft peaks. Fold in the crushed amaretti biscuits and poached pears.
Spoon the filling on top of the biscuit base and level the surface. Chill for at least 30 minutes, or until firm. Spread over the remaining cream to form a thin layer, then chill again.
For the decoration, melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a pan of hot water, then spread in an even layer on a marble slab or the underside of a clean baking sheet. Leave until just set, then draw a sharp knife across the surface at an angle of about 25° to shave off large curls.
To unmould the cheesecake, run a hot thin-bladed knife around the edge and remove the side of the tin. Slide a palette knife under the cheesecake and transfer to a flat plate. Arrange the chocolate curls decoratively on top, then dust with icing sugar. Cut into slices to serve. (This dessert will keep in the fridge for a day or two).
Christmas with Gordon Ramsay, published by Quadrille, is out now in paperback price £14.99.