Introduction: Halloween Human Torso Appetizer
Also known as The ManWich.
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
This required lots of brainstorming! It's really all going to depend on how large your serving platter/cutting board/baking sheet is. We have a huge cutting board at the office, so I based the size of my torso on that.
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!
You can make these first to get them out of the way - just assemble the puff pastry in the pan, cover it, and put it in the fridge. You can bake them while you assemble the rest of the torso.
The full recipe for these can be found here:
Step 4: Cut Out and Bake the Torso Base
This will take two sheets of puff pastry.
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
For the cheeseball I used 1 1/2 boxes of cream cheese (it needs to be softened - if you forgot to leave it out at room temp, heat it in the microwave 30 seconds at a time until nice and soft.) and a couple handfuls of cheddar cheese. I mixed it all together with onion powder, garlic powder, cayenne, Italian seasoning, paprika, salt and pepper. I completely winged this part.
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
To roast the beet, you'll want to cut off the very top and bottom, wrap it in foil, put it in a little baking dish, and pop it in the oven at 400 F for at least 40 minutes. Smaller beets will be done in that time, but large beets might take a little longer.
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
To do this, cut a sheet of puff pastry into strips, and rolled the strips. I cut out one of the lungs and the liver from my paper template to use as a pattern.
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 was starting to lose track of what I was and wasn't documenting at this time, so there's only one photo of this part. :)
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
Place the smoked salmon around the edges of the torso. You'll want to save a little bit to fill in any space between the dip bowls and the lungs and kidneys. :D
Step 10: Place the Lungs, Liver and Stomach Into Place
Check the placement of everything first! At this point you can lay down some extra salmon to cover the puff pastry in places it might be exposed. Once you're happy with it, apply a good bit of cream cheese to the backs of the lungs and liver. This will help keep them in place and keep your dips from leaking. :)
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!
In the end, I overfilled the bowls so the puff pastry is a little hidden. You definitely don't have to do this - it just made it look nicer for photos. :D
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
I didn't get photos of this while I was doing this, but I peeled the casing off the salami and then cut it on an angle. I used this to form the colon.
Step 13: Add the Intestines!
To do this, I just measured the area I had left on the torso and cut out an appropriate sized piece to insert. :)
Step 14: Remember the Gallbladder!
Put that pickle in its place! Don't want to forget it.
Step 15: The Finished Torso!
And now we get to the food porn part of the evening.
Nothing to see here but pretty pictures of delicious foods arranged like a flayed human torso. Move along. :D