Smoked ham baked for six hours in a black treacle jacket

This is the James Dean of the ham world — smoky, lan­gor­ous and with the coolest black jacket in town. There are only two ingredi­ents — a hunk of smoked pork loin and a jar of black treacle.

Dol­lop a fat spoon­ful of treacle or molasses onto a large square of sil­ver foil. Slap the pork on top — a 900g piece should do it — and then, with a large knife, spread treacle every­where else. And I don’t mean a thin smear­ing as though you’re but­ter­ing a posh sand­wich. Slather the treacle on. Ima­gine that you’re lard­ing your ham with pro­tect­ive grease in pre­par­a­tion for a cross-Channel swim in winter. For a 900g slab of ham, 300g of treacle is per­fect. Wrap the ham up in the sil­ver paper and repeat with three more lay­ers so it’s a snug little bundle. Place in a bak­ing dish not much big­ger than the bundle and bake at 100 degrees for around six hours. Don’t be temp­ted to take the paper off.

Remove the steam­ing par­cel from the oven. Once it’s cool enough to handle, remove the wizened wrap­ping and par­cel it up again in a fresh, single coat of foil. Put some­thing very heavy on top of the sil­ver par­cel to encour­age the ham to keep a close, eas­ily slice­able tex­ture when it’s cold. I use the com­plete works of Chau­cer in a plastic bag. A tele­phone dir­ect­ory would work just as well I sup­pose, but strictly speak­ing ‘phone num­bers are too pro­saic for James Bacon Dean. Allow to cool for at least three or four hours with the heavy weight still on top, but overnight in the fridge is best. When it’s cold, unwrap it and, once sliced, eat with gar­lic mashed potato and buttered cabbage.