Jambon en Croiite

Superb as the main course for a dinner party, Jambon en Croiite (jawm-bohn on kroot) may be served either hot or cold.

Either way, a crisp green salad would be an ideal accompaniment. A light red Medoc wine would be excellent with this meal. ham, ABOUT 6 to

7 lb., scrubbed, soaked in cold water overnight and drained

6 peppercorns

12 juniper berries (optional) l lb. flour

1 teaspoon salt

4 oz. butter, cut into pieces and chilled

4 oz. vegetable fat, cut into pieces and chilled

1 egg, lightly beaten

4 fl. oz. iced water

1 egg yolk, lightly beaten and mixed with

1 tablespoon single cream

Place the ham in a large saucepan and half fill it with cold water. Add the peppercorns and juniper berries, if you are using them. Place the pan over moderately high heat and bring the water to the boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer the ham for about 2 hours, or allowing 20 minutes to the pound plus 20 minutes over. Remove the pan from the heat and allow the ham to cool in the liquid.

When the ham is cool, remove it from the cooking liquid and peel off the skin and most of the fat. Discard the skin, fat and cooking liquid.

To make the pastry, sift the flour and salt into a large mixing bowl. Add the butter and vegetable fat and, with your fingertips, rub the fats into the flour until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. With a knife, mix in the beaten egg and enough iced water to make a firm dough.

Lightly knead the dough until it is smooth and elastic. Wrap it in grease-proof or waxed paper and put it in the refrigerator to chill for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to fairly hot 375 °F (Gas Mark 5, 190°C).

Remove the dough from the refriger-ator. On a lightly floured board, roll out the dough to a

20-inch square, approxi- mately

½ inch thick. Place the ham in the centre and wrap it in the dough to make a neat parcel, trimming off any excess dough.

Seal the joins in the dough with a little of the beaten egg yolk. Make a hole in the top to allow the steam to escape during baking.

Press the reserved dough trimmings into a ball and roll it out to ABOUT ½ inch thick. Cut it into strips, circles, leaves or other decorative shapes with the appropriate pastry cutter and use to garnish the top of the pastry-wrapped ham. Brush with the remaining egg yolk mixture.

Place the ham on a large baking sheet and place the sheet in the oven. Bake the ham for 1 hour, or until the pastry is golden brown.

Remove the ham from the oven and serve at once, if you are serving it hot.