Baked Country Ham

Serves 20 to 25

1 precooked smoked ham with bone (about 16 pounds)
25 to 30 whole cloves
¼ cup Dijon-style mustard
1 cup (packed) dark brown sugar
2 cups apple juice
2 cups tawny port
2 cups pitted whole dates
2 cups dried figs
2 cups dried prunes
3 bunches watercress, rinsed, patted dry, stems trimmed


1. Preheat oven to 3500 F.
2. Peel the skin from the ham and trim the fat to a ¼ -inch layer. Using a sharp knife, score the fat in a diamond pattern.
3. Line a large shallow baking pan with aluminum foil and place the ham in the pan. Insert a whole clove in each intersection of the diamonds and pat the mustard evenly over the top and sides of the ham. Sprinkle the sugar over the top and pour the apple juice into the pan. Bake for 1 ½ hours, basting frequently.
4. After putting the ham in the oven, combine the port, dates, figs, and prunes in a small bowl. Add the fruit and port to the peas after the ham has baked for 1 ½ hours. Bake for 30 minutes, basting frequently.
5. Place the ham on a bed of watercress on a large serving platter.
6. Gently stir the fruit through the pan juices in the bottom of the pan. Arrange the figs, dates, and prunes in alternating rows across the ham, securing the fruit with small toothpicks. Drizzle a little of the pan juices over the top. Pour the remainder into a sauceboat and serve immediately.