This is a perfect appetizer for going over the top and impressing your guests on Halloween. It's both pretty and gruesome. :D
If you buy all the dips and fillings ready made, it's easy to put together. You've really just got to bake lots of puff pastry and then assemble! And now that I've made all the assembly mistakes you can avoid them.
If you've got lots of baking sheets laying around and some extra hands, I think this could come together in an hour or so!
Special thanks to canida for brainstorming with me and offering suggestions, and to wilgubeast for brainstorming and naming the torso ManWich! And HUGE thanks to audreyobscura for helping me take very pretty photos of the finished project - you're my hero!
P.S. Go to the last step for TONS more photos. :D
Step 1: Ingredients:
- for the torso base (skin), lung & liver bowls, ribs, etc: three packages puff pastry - Pepperidge Farms was the easiest to work with
- an egg for eggwashin' the puff pastry
- 16 oz+ white bean dip for one of the lungs (here's my white bean dip recipe!)
- 16 oz+ hummus for one of the lungs (here's my recipe for hummus!)
- pate for the liver
- two packages smoked salmon to make the subcutaneous muscle lining the torso
- 2 packages cream cheese for the cheeseball stomach and to keep the puff pastry bowls in place
- shredded cheese (I used cheddar!) for the cheeseball stomach
- a beet for the heart
- a teeny pickle for the gallbladder
- salami to make up the colon
You'll also need some parchment paper and aluminum foil to help with baking the puff pastry and beet. :) Oh, and I got some frilly toothpicks to stick in the edges of the puff pastry skin so it looked like it was pinned down to the cutting board.
Step 2: Planning
Draw out the "flesh" part first and then cram in all the other organs. :D
For this, I chose to do lungs, a heart, liver, gallbladder, stomach, colon and intestines. Some organs are missing, I know. ;) But I couldn't get it all in there AND make it look nice!
I also decided to do little bits of spine coming out the top and bottom of the torso. I made tiny ribs out of the puff pastry too.
Step 3: Make the intestines!
The full recipe for these can be found here:
Step 4: Cut out and bake the torso base
I did this on parchment paper so it was easy to transfer the pastry to what I would be baking it on.
I used a little water to connect the two pieces and then rolled it out lightly. Then I cut around the edges of my paper template so I could use it as a pattern. I laid the paper on top of the pastry and cut around the edges with a paring knife.
I then used some of the extra pieces of puff pastry to cut out the top and bottom of the "spine" and affixed them to the sheet of pastry with a little water. :)
Once everything is ready, coat it with a little egg wash.
Bake this at 400 F for about 20 minutes, or until nice and golden brown.
Step 5: Create the cheeseball stomach
I then plopped the mixture out onto a bit of parchment paper and formed it into the shape of the stomach I drew out.
This needs to go into the fridge to firm up while you make the rest of the pieces!
Step 6: Make the beet heart
You'll know if you can easily piece it with a paring knife. :)
Once it's out, let it cool down enough so you can touch it, and carve it a bit so it looks more like a heart than it did. :D
Step 7: Make the lung and liver bowls
Imagine it's like you're making a bowl from clay - just wind the rolled pastry around the pattern, adding at least two layers. Use a bit of water to get it to stay together.
You might want to brace it in the middle with a little bit of aluminum foil - mine collapsed in a little bit while baking!
Bake at 400 F for about 15-20 minutes, or until golden brown.
Step 8: Make the ribs
I cut out six ribs total - two large, two medium, and two small. At this point I wasn't sure if I was going to use them or not, but I think they looked pretty nice!
I baked these at 400 F for about 20 minutes, and coated them with egg wash before!
Step 9: Lay down the subcutaneous muscles
Step 10: Place the lungs, liver and stomach into place
I put the cheeseball stomach on first, and then pressed the liver into it. That made it look nicer and also helped the liver stay in place.
Step 11: Fill the bowls and add the heart!
Make sure to put the beet on only after you're really happy with the dip - it will bleed!
Step 12: Put the colon into place
Step 13: Add the intestines!
Step 15: Want to see the 3D version?
Click here to see it in the 3D viewer. :D
Step 16: The finished torso!
Nothing to see here but pretty pictures of delicious foods arranged like a flayed human torso. Move along. :D