Spinach Ricotta Skulls

You'd never guess these tiny green skulls are actually quite wholesome for a Halloween party. They are cut from a baked custard of spinach, basil, and ricotta cheese, then arranged on crisp wafer crackers.A black cardstock "coffin" makes a fitting bed for the skeletal snacks.

  • Yield: Makes about 3 dozen
Spinach Ricotta Skulls

Source: Halloween 2009, 2009

Ingredients

  • 1 container (15 ounces) part-skim ricotta cheese
  • Olive-oil, cooking spray
  • 1 bunch fresh spinach (or a 10-ounce bag), stems removed, washed well and dried
  • 1 1/2 cups loosely packed fresh basil leaves (from 1 bunch)
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg
  • Coarse salt and fresh ground pepper
  • 2 large whole eggs, plus 1 egg white
  • Crackers, for serving

Directions

  1. Wrap ricotta tightly in cheesecloth; place in a colander over a large bowl. Place a heavy object (such as a bowl or canned good) on top; let drain in the refrigerator at least 3 hours (or up to overnight).

  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 10-inch springform pan with cooking spray. In a food processor, combine drained ricotta, spinach, basil, nutmeg, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Process until smooth, about 1 minute, scraping sides of bowl as needed. Add whole eggs and egg white; process for 5 seconds. Pour mixture into prepared pan; bake until set and just brown around the edges, 30 to 35 minutes. Let cool completely on a wire rack, then refrigerate, covered, until cold, preferably overnight. To unmold, run a paring knife around edge before removing side of pan.

  3. Cut into quarters. Using a wide spatula, transfer to a cutting board coated with cooking spray. Cut out shapes with a skull-shaped cookie cutter coated with spray (if cutter doesn't come with eyes and a mouth, use aspic cutters to make features). Using a cotton swab, gently press skulls out directly onto crackers (leave eye and nose shapes in cutter).

Cook's Notes

Be sure spinach is completely dry. Frozen spinach can be substituted for fresh: cook, drain, and press excess moisture from a colander.

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