March 21st, 2012

Pecan-crusted Baked Ham, sweet potato biscuits


When I was experimenting with mustards last month, Barbara over at Moveable Feasts wisely pointed out the timeliness of my post: just weeks from baking those Easter hams.

And that’s when I realized that any of my zesty trio–but especially the Apricot Mostarda–could be a key ingredient in the glaze.


I had also been working on a story about Cane Syrup for Relish Magazine.

In Abbeville, Louisiana, the Steen family has been making this deep amber delicacy for over 100 years. Now they are the only producing mill in the country, garnering them recognition in Slow Food’s Ark of Taste, a catalog of over 200 foods in danger of extinction.

If you have the chance to cook with this syrup, I encourage you to do so. The taste is distinctive. Cooking-wise, it is interchangeable with other syrups, such as molasses, sorghum, or honey. Steen’s has a prompt, reliable mail order service, and an easy-to-navigate website.


Lighter than molasses, Steen’s lends a deep bittersweet caramel note to foods.

And, mixed with my fruity mustard, sparked with a bit of allspice, it made a simple, yet spectacular ham glaze, with a slightly sweet nod to the South.


I took that southerly turn just a tetch further, and dusted a top-coat of pecan pieces, which readily adhered to the sticky glaze.

What a wonderful combination!

The pecans toasted onto the ham as it baked, making a nice crunchy layer. Bolstered with piquant mustard, it sealed in the meat’s juices.


I baked this ham for our Third Thursday Community Potluck, and wanted to serve something alongside that fit this Southern-style theme.

Sweet potato biscuits seemed like a perfect accompaniment, and are no more difficult to make than regular biscuits–just a few more ingredients.


You can bake the sweet potatoes well ahead of time–the day before, if need be.

I used self-rising flour (still trying to use up that mispick that worked so well for this other biscuit recipe.)


For their slap-dash, hands-on method—the less you work the dough, the better—biscuits are fun to make. This batch makes three dozen, which isn’t too many, when you have a big group, and a ham to match. The recipe I’ve given can cut in half without any problem.


I love the color. And the smell!

As biscuits bake, your kitchen will fill with the aromas of ginger and clove.

Stuffed with slices of this ham, dabbed with fruity mustard, such a biscuit is a real springtime treat.



1/2 cup Apricot Mustard
1/2 cup Steen’s Cane Syrup
2 t. Allspice
1/2 cup Pecans finely chopped

Sugar Cured Ham—shank or butt portion

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Trim ham–removing tough outer hide pieces, and any excess fat. Do leave a thin layer of fat–important to sealing in the juices of the meat.

Score the ham in crisscross fashion, cutting into that thin layer of fat–but Not all the way through to the meat layer.

In a small mixing ball, whisk the mustard, syrup, and allspice together.
Liberally coat the entire ham–all surfaces—with this glaze.
Place ham in baking dish. Pour 1 cup of water into the bottom.
Coat the upper glazed surface with finely chopped pecans.

Bake, uncovered, allowing 15 minutes per pound. An 8 lb. ham will take 2 hours.
Check periodically, adding a little more liquid so that the sugars don’t burn.

Allow the meat to rest at least 15 minutes before carving. The ham can be baked in advance and kept warm. It is also great served room temperature.


2 cups cooked Sweet Potatoes
4 c. Self-Rising Flour
1/3 c. Turbinado Sugar
1 t. Ginger
1 t. Nutmeg
1/2 t. ground Cloves
1/2 c. Milk, “soured” with 1 T. Lemon Juice
10 T. cold Butter, cut into pieces

1/4 cup ground pecans and turbinado sugar blend (optional)

Ahead of Time: Bake Sweet Potatoes (2 medium sized) in 425 degree oven until done. Allow to cool, and scoop out filling.

In a large work bowl, add dry ingredients: self-rising flour, spices, sugar. Add sweet potatoes, lemon-soured milk (or buttermilk) and butter pieces.

Working with your hands, mix all the ingredients, rubbing the butter pieces into the flour. Work quickly; soon it will all come together in a mass. If it is too sticky, add a bit more flour. Beware of overworking the dough–it will toughen.

Dust the work surface with flour. Roll out dough about 1/2″ thick and cut into rounds. Place on parchment-lined baking sheet, close-set, (sides touching is fine).
Sprinkle the tops with ground pecan-brown sugar mixture.

Bake at 425 degrees for 10-12 minutes.

Makes 3 dozen 2″ round biscuits.


Posted in Appetizers/Hors D'oeuvres, Breads, Meats/Poultry, Recipes

26 Responses to “Pecan-crusted Baked Ham, sweet potato biscuits”
  1. Denise | Chez Danisse Says:

    Okay…where do you live? I need to move so I can attend your Third Thursday Community Potlucks. These biscuits with ham and fruity mustard look spectacular.

  2. heather Says:

    Wow those biscuits go into the line up for Wed cooking class with the kids – they look amazing! Thank you Nancy!

  3. Epicurea Says:

    oh i can’t wait for it to be finally easter! this is a beautiful ham and what an innovative idea to add a pecan crust.. wonder if it would also work with walnuts?

  4. Michele | Cooking At Home Says:

    Since there are only two in my household, Easter is the once a year that I serve a ham, and this glaze with pecans sounds perfect. And those biscuits–wow!

  5. Tracy Says:

    The last photo looks like something I’d make for lunch. Ham and biscuits. I agree with Denise. I’d like to attend one of your potlucks.

  6. Maria Says:

    Nice to be back after a long hiatus and to such welcoming, spirit-lifting treats. I love sweet potato anything! Hope you’re well, Nancy!

  7. goodfoodmatters Says:

    Denise and Tracy—if you are ever in Nashville TN on any given Third Thursday, we would love to have you!

    Heather–have fun with the kids cooking class!

    Michele–I completely understand–just 2 in our household (and one is vegetarian) a ham will feed so many people. Yet there’s something wonderful about spring and ham.

    Epicurea–I have never tried it with walnuts, but I think that it would work well.

    Maria–nice to see you here again–

  8. Teresa, Says:

    Nancy, you have outdone yourself with this delicious looking ham and those sweet potato biscuits. I have been experimenting with various types of biscuits as a personal project and sweet potatoes are on my list to try.
    Your recipe and ease of directions is perfect. I am sorry I missed the opportunity to try these little bites with that fab ham, but if I close my eyes I can almost taste them.

  9. Tammy Says:

    Those biscuits look fantastic. I need to start thinking about what to make for Easter dinner.

  10. Beth Says:

    Your ham looks wonderful, and I love the idea of serving it with sweet potato biscuits!

  11. Karen (Back Road Journal) Says:

    Preparing a ham for Easter is just around the corner and I think your recipe would be a real crowd pleaser. We go to a friends house that day and I think I will pass your recipe along to her.

  12. Kitchen Belleicious Says:

    WOW! That ham is divine! The crust is my favorite part. Love a crusty exterior and nice and juicy inside! The flavors must be out of this world! I love when you post recipes! Keep them coming!

  13. Mary Says:

    Those sweet potato biscuits combined with the ham look absolutely wonderful! I made some pumpkin biscuits last year and I loved the flavor. I bet I’d like sweet potato even more though. Thanks!

  14. Katarina Says:


  15. Barbara Says:

    Oh my! You’ve outdone yourself with that ham, Nancy. I’m definitely going to try that, it looks delicious.
    Must confess I’ve never made sweet potato biscuits. Don’t know why as we love sweet potatoes at my house. We’re going to a pot luck this year, perhaps I should surprise them with these!

  16. Rach Says:

    I will be coming to a potluck one day, maybe with Denise This looks and sounds just delicious, I love the idea of the nuts in the glaze and your post has reminded me that a few years ago in piedmont I had roast pork with a hazelnut crust which was divine. I have noted the biscuit recipe as i am having a sweet potato phase (yes yes it’s a baby related thing). Oh and by the way that photo of the rolling pin as biscuit dough is just lovely.

  17. FOODESSA Says:

    Nancy…I can practically cyber smell this meal.
    That ham sounds like perfection. I may just have to put Grandma’s recipe aside for just one time and try out this wonderful ham of yours;o)

    Ciao for now,

  18. Nicole Says:

    I love the idea of a potluck. Recently i’ve realized that very few people reciprocate my dinner invitations, so I end up feeling a bit overworked! A potluck would certainly cure that!!
    This post is perfect for the season. i would smother that ham with a very spicy mustard, given my current obsession with spice!

  19. Nic@diningwithastud Says:

    YUM! We always have ham at Christmas and I do love new ways to snaz it up. The bikkies sound delish too!!

  20. Juliana Says:

    Nancy, this glaze for the ham sounds and looks fantastic…and perfect paired with the sweet potato biscuit ;-)
    Thanks for this lovely recipes and hope you are having a great week :)

  21. Magda | My Little Expat Kitchen Says:

    Hi Nancy. Your ham looks amazing! That glaze must taste divine. In Greece we always make lamb on a spit for Easter and homemade pita. Your dishes would make the most magnificent Easter food!

    PS 1 I have to try those sweet potato biscuits, soon!
    PS 2 I have no idea what a potluck is :)

  22. Simply Life Says:

    I just ate dinner but would love to bite into one of those biscuits!

  23. Caroline Says:

    Oh dear, that ham looks incredible, Nancy. And those sweet potato biscuits…mmm!! What a great idea to make little sandwiches. I’m sure the salty/sweet combo was delicious. My kind of meal. :)

  24. Faith Says:

    I don’t eat ham, but I bet that delicious, flavorful glaze would work just as well on a roast chicken. And those biscuits look incredible too!

  25. Katie@Cozydelicious Says:

    Oh wow, those little biscuit sandwiches look awesome! I love the salty sweet combo in both the biscuits and the ham. Yum!

  26. Christine @ Fresh Local and Best Says:

    How lucky your friends and family must be to have been invited to this ham and sweet potato biscuit party. I love the idea of the apricot mustard for the ham.

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