Sunday, 18 October 2009

Creepy Canapés

I did a dry run today of the morsels I am planning to serve with drinks on October 31st. I'd been pondering something ghastly to offer people from the Ghostly Platters I bought a few weeks back and hit on the idea of severed fingers! But what to make them from? I thought I'd try a savoury pastry idea, cause it would enable me to form little knuckles and joints, plus paint on some gruesome detailing with a little food colouring. The addition of a slivered almond made the perfect fingernail, but I also tried pumpkin seeds which worked well too. I wanted to know how many digits I would get from one batch of the shortbread mixture - it gleaned 28, but I am still wondering exactly how many severed fingers I am going to need, cause they really are quite yummy plus they are *dead* easy to make!

Here's the recipe:

Witches Fingers 
(a cheese shortbread dough)

You will need:
100g plain flour
pinch of cayenne pepper
pinch of salt
100g butter
50g grated parmesan
25g strong Cheddar cheese
1 egg yolk
1 tbsp olive oil
red, yellow and green food colouring
slivered almonds or pumpkin seeds
a little beaten egg to glaze

Make your fingers:
Dice the butter and rub together with the flour, salt and cayenne until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add the grated cheeses and mix with a knife. Add the egg yolk and olive oil and bring together to form a dough. Rest the dough in the fridge for 25 minutes during which time preheat your oven to 170 degrees centigrade and butter a baking sheet.

Roll out the dough to about 15 mm thick and cut into strips about 15mm wide. Cut the strips down to varying finger sized lengths then shape each piece into a finger by rounding off the sides and pinching in either side of where a knuckle might be. Leave one end of the finger blunt, as if it's been chopped off, and shape the other end to a rounded point. Paint a slivered almond on one side with a little of the beaten egg then push it into the rounded end to resemble a fingernail. Then mix one drop of each of the food colourings to make a murky reddish brown and paint the base of each nail, a few lines across the knuckle, and the stump. Place all the fingers as you work on the baking sheet, then lightly brush all the fingers with the beaten egg.

Bake in the oven for 25 minutes until crisp and golden. Rest them on the sheet for a few moments before transferring to a cooling rack as they are quite fragile when just out of the oven.

Give your guests the finger this Halloween!

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