The holiday ham, adorned with pineapple rings, is a magazine cover-ready classic. Here, you can stroll down memory lane with a plant-based version, complete with a layer of white “fat” wrapped around it and a sweet, pineapple glaze.
Pineapple Baked Ham [Vegan]
For the ham:
- 2 cups vital wheat gluten
- 1/2 cup chickpea flour
- 1/4 cup tapioca flour
- 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
- 3 tablespoons organic granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons onion powder
- 1 tablespoon smoked salt
- 2 cups water
- 2 tablespoons refined coconut oil
- 2 tablespoons red miso paste
- 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon beet powder
- 1 teaspoon liquid smoke
For the 'fat':
- 1/2 cup vital wheat gluten
- 2 teaspoons organic granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons onion powder
- 1 teaspoon smoked salt
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 tablespoon refined coconut oil
For the glaze:
- 2 cups pineapple juice
- 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 (20-ounce) can pineapple rings, drained (optional)
- Toothpicks (optional)
- Set up a steamer. Fold over a sheet of cheesecloth so it is doubled. Cut a 12-inch-long piece and prepare twist ties or kitchen string for tying the ends.
- Make the ham: In a large bowl, whisk together the vital wheat gluten, flours, nutritional yeast, sugar, onion powder, and smoked salt.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the water, oil, miso, beet powder, and liquid smoke until the beet powder is completely incorporated and no lumps remain. Stir the wet mixture into the dry mixture. Once the dough becomes thick, knead it with your hands for 3 minutes. Set aside to rest.
- Make the fat: In a medium bowl, combine the vital wheat gluten, sugar, onion powder, and smoked salt.
- In a cup, mix together the water and coconut oil. Stir the wet mixture into the dry mixture until just combined; don’t knead.
- Turn out the ham dough onto a floured work surface and form it into a 6-inch-wide loaf. Stretch the fat dough into sheets and wrap the ham in them (it’s fine if it’s uneven—just try to get most of it covered). Wrap the ham tightly in the cheesecloth, rolling on the counter until it is rounded. Roll it up and twist the ends. Bind the twisted ends with the twist ties or string.
- Place the ham in the steamer, cover, and steam for 1 hour and 20 minutes, checking to replenish the water as needed. The internal temperature should reach 180°F or more. Remove from the heat.
- Remove the ham and set aside to cool completely.
- Refrigerate the ham overnight.
- Preheat the oven to 375°F.
- Make the glaze: In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the pineapple juice, brown sugar, and salt and bring to a boil. Boil, watching carefully to adjust the heat in order to prevent it from boiling over, for 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and transfer the glaze into a measuring cup; it should be reduced to 1/2 cup. Set aside.
- Unwrap the ham and place it on a cutting board. Score the surface with 1/2-inch deep on the diagonal across the surface and then cut across those cuts, making diamond shapes. If using, affix the pineapple rings to the ham with the toothpicks.
- Transfer the ham to a shallow baking dish and, using a pastry brush, baste it with the glaze. Bake, basting every 10 minutes, for 50 minutes. As the glaze browns in the pan, periodically brush it over the ham. Remove from the oven.
- Carefully remove the toothpicks before carving. Slice and serve warm.
Photo Credit: David Paul Shmit