donna hay christmas - Maple prosciutto-wrapped turkey

Come Christmas Day, I prefer to be outside with my guests enjoying the sunshine, rather than spending stressful hours in the kitchen. This turkey recipe only uses the breasts, so it's much quicker and less hassle. It’s the season to be jolly, after all!

These clever prosciutto-wrapped turkey breasts are a delicious twist on traditional roast turkey and they’re more manageable than a whole bird. Best of all though, they don’t need hours and hours in the oven. Brining the breasts in the refrigerator before roasting gives them a delicious succulence and flavour, too. Topped off with a lemon herb butter and glossy maple-brushed prosciutto, they are definitely making it to my festive menu this year.

If you’re hosting a smaller Christmas lunch or dinner, just halve the quantities in the recipe to make one 1.8kg wrapped turkey breast, which will serve 4-6 people. Happy cooking!

Donna Hay’s Maple prosciutto-wrapped turkey breast recipe

Serves 6-8

  • 2 cups (500ml) white wine
  • 2 cups (500ml) water
  • ¼ cup (60g) table salt
  • ½ cup (85g) brown sugar
  • 6 cloves garlic, bruised
  • 4 sprigs parsley
  • 6 sprigs sage
  • 4 sprigs thyme
  • 2 fresh bay leaves
  • 1 litre water, extra
  • 2 x 1.8kg turkey breast fillets, skin on
  • 20 slices prosciutto
  • ¼ cup (60ml) maple syrup
  • Dijon mustard and fruit chutney, to serve

herb butter

  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • ¹⁄³ cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped thyme
  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped sage
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated lemon rind
  • 300g unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt flakes
  • 2 teaspoons cracked black pepper

To brine the turkey breasts, place the wine, the water, salt, sugar, garlic, parsley, sage, thyme and bay leaves in a medium saucepan over high heat. Bring to the boil, stirring to dissolve the salt and sugar. Pour the brining liquid into a large (6-litre-capacity) non-reactive container (like glass, plastic or stainless steel). Add the extra water and stir to combine. Lower the turkey breasts into the brine, cover and refrigerate for 2–3 hours (but no longer).

To make the herb butter, place the garlic, parsley, thyme, sage, lemon rind, butter, salt and pepper in a bowl and mix well to combine. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 180°C (350°F). Remove the turkey from the container, discarding the brine, and pat dry. Carefully loosen the skin from the flesh on each breast and using your fingers, push the butter mixture under the skin. Lay 10 slices of the prosciutto on a bench, overlapping slightly. Top with a turkey breast, skin-side down. Wrap the prosciutto around the turkey breast, pressing to secure. Repeat with the remaining prosciutto and turkey. Line a large baking tray with aluminium foil. Place the turkey breasts on the tray and roast for 1 hour, or until golden and the juices run clear when tested with a skewer. Brush the prosciutto with maple syrup, loosely cover with aluminium foil and allow the turkey to rest for 15 minutes. Thinly slice the turkey and serve with the mustard and fruit chutney.

For more recipes from Donna Hay just download the iPad version of her magazine in the iTunes store.

Photography: Chris Court / Styling: Steve Pearce

Donna Hay magazine cover

About the author

Donna Hay

At the age of eight, Donna Hay skipped into a kitchen, picked up a mixing bowl and never looked back. Now Donna is Australia’s leading food editor and best-selling cookbook author. Her food, recipes and styling focus on basic ingredients that are simply prepared and beautifully photographed – hallmarks of her work that have inspired a whole new generation of cooks. With subscribers in 82 countries around the world, Donna Hay Magazine is immensely popular in Australia and the UK. You can download the donna hay magazine for iPad from the App Store today. Enjoy a 30-day free trial when you subscribe for a year.

Donna Hay


Christmas, Meat