Party pieces to impress your guests

Party pieces to impress your guests

Festive glazed ham with Saint Agur blue cheese
& parsley sauce

This is a real showstopper of a dish, perfect for any special occasion. The Saint Agur blue cheese and parsley sauce helps to beautifully balance the sweet, spiced crust of the ham

Serves: 8-10

For the ham:

  • 5kg ham, boned and rolled
  • 1 large onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 med carrot, roughly chopped
  • ½ stick celery, roughly chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 sprigs thyme
  • 1 sprig parsley stalks
  • ¼ bulb garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1 tsp black peppercorns
  • 4 litres boiling water


For glazing the ham:

  • 2 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 tsp mixed spice
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • ¼ tsp ground cloves
  • ½ tsp black pepper, finely ground
  • 80g clear honey
  • 40g demerara sugar


For the Saint Agur and parsley sauce:

  • 25g butter, unsalted
  • 25g plain flour
  • 250ml whole milk
  • 100g Saint Agur blue cheese
  • 1 bunch flat leaf parsley, chopped


For the ham:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 150°C.
  2. In a large, deep roasting tray, place the ham on top of all the chopped vegetables and herbs.
  3. Place in the oven, then carefully pour the boiling water into the roasting tray and loosely cover with tin foil.
  4. Cook for 2.5 hours.
  5. Carefully remove from the oven and place the ham on to a clean tray to cool slightly. Strain the cooking liquor and leave this to cool before storing in the fridge or freezer as stock for other dishes, such as risottos, soups or stews.
  6. After about 10 minutes the ham should be cool enough to handle. Carefully remove the skin and discard. Ensure you leave as much fat as you can on the ham as this will help to give you a lovely crust, plus the fat is where all the flavour is!


For glazing the ham

  1. Using a pastry brush (or the back of a spoon), lightly brush the mustard all over the ham, including underneath.
  2. In a small bowl, mix together the spices and sprinkle all over the ham, then drizzle it with the honey and finally sprinkle with the demerara sugar.
  3. Place the ham back in the oven for 40 minutes, making sure you baste halfway through, until golden all over.


For the Saint Agur and parsley sauce

  1. Whilst the ham is caramelising, melt the butter in a medium saucepan on a high heat, stir in the flour and cook gently for 1 minute, stirring all
    the time.
  2. Remove from the heat, add all the milk and whisk until the butter and flour have evenly dispersed. Place the pan back on the heat and bring to the boil, stirring all the time.
  3. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 2 minutes.
  4. Take off the heat, whisk in the Saint Agur blue cheese and chopped parsley and place in a sauce boat ready to serve with the ham.

To serve

  1. Once the ham has caramelised, remove from the oven, carve and serve with the Saint Agur blue cheese and parsley sauce.


Pear, almond and Saint Agur tartelette
This recipe is an interesting alternative to a classic pear and almond tart. The saltiness of the Saint Agur blue cheese balances perfectly with the sweetness of the pears, so give this recipe a go and surprise the taste buds of your loved ones

Serves: 6-8

Special Equipment

Tart ring 21cm diameter x 2.5cm

Wooden peel or flat baking sheet

Baking stone (optional)


For the pastry :

  • 200g plain flour
  • 100g butter, unsalted, diced, at room temperature
  • 1 pinch sea salt
  • 1 egg, medium, organic/free-range, beaten
  • 1 tbsp water


For the filling:

  • 50g butter, unsalted, room temperature
  • 50g caster sugar
  • 50g almonds, ground
  • 1 egg, medium, organic/free-range
  • 6 pear halves, tinned, drained, cores removed
  • 30g pecans, chopped


To finish and serve

50g Saint Agur blue cheese, crumbled

icing sugar to dust (optional)

6-8 tbsp crème fraîche (optional)


For the pastry

  1. Place the flour, butter and salt in a large bowl and rub together delicately using your fingertips until the mixture reaches a sandy texture. It is very important the butter is at room temperature in order to get an even distribution of butter within the mixture, which helps give the pastry
    its flakiness.
  2. Create a well in the centre of the mixture and add the egg and water. With your fingertips, in little concentric circles, work the liquid ingredients into the flour and butter mixture. Then, at the last moment, when the egg has been absorbed, bring the dough together and press to form a ball.
  3. Turn the ball on to a lightly floured surface and knead gently with the palms of your hands for 10 seconds until you have a homogeneous dough (do not overwork it).
  4. Break off 20-30g of dough, wrap separately in cling film and place this small ball in the fridge to chill.
  5. Wrap the remaining dough in cling film and flatten it to about a 2cm thickness. Leave to rest in the fridge for 20-30 minutes.
  6. Once rested, unwrap the large piece of dough and place in the middle of a large sheet of cling film, about 40cm square. Cover with another sheet of cling film of similar dimensions.
  7. Roll out the dough to a circle 2-3mm thick.
  8. Place the tart ring on a wooden peel or flat baking sheet lined with greaseproof paper.
  9. Lift off the top layer of cling film from the dough and discard, then lift the dough by the lower cling film and invert it into the tart ring, removing the cling film. Press the dough on to the base and the inside of the ring with the small ball of dough from the fridge, ensuring that the pastry is neatly moulded to the shape of the ring.
  10. Trim the edge of the pastry by rolling a rolling pin over the top of the ring.
  11. Now, push the pastry gently up by pressing between your index finger
    and thumb all around the edge of the tart ring, to raise the edge 2mm above the ring.
  12. With a fork, prick the bottom of the pastry case.
  13. Reserve to one side.

For the filling

  1. To create the almond cream, in a large bowl, combine the butter, sugar, almonds and egg, and mix until well blended. Place the mixture directly into the lined tart case.
  2. Arrange the pear halves on top of the almond cream and scatter the chopped pecans over top.
  3. Leave to rest in the fridge for at least one hour before baking.


To bake the tart

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 175°C.
  2. Place the tart on a pre-heated baking stone or a baking tray in the middle of the oven and bake for 30-40 minutes until the pastry is golden in colour.

Note – a common problem with tarts is an undercooked soggy base – the result of insufficient bottom heat. Using a bottomless tart ring and a baking stone overcomes this, as there is an instant transfer of heat from the hot baking stone to the pastry base.


To finish and serve

  1. Remove the tart from the oven and scatter the crumbled Saint Agur over top to allow the residual heat to partially melt the cheese.
  2. Leave to cool for 30 minutes.
  3. Once cooled, remove the tart ring and sprinkle with a dusting of icing sugar.
  4. Portion into 6 or 8 pieces and serve with a generous helping of crème fraîche.

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