I was so excited to see that Martha’s magazine used the same skull cookie cutter I had to make these spinach ricotta skulls. I will warn you that this appetizer looks simple but it is time consuming, like many Martha recipes. Fine by me as long as it is worth it!
I made half the recipe but will write it in full for you. Wrap 15 oz (1 container) of ricotta in cheese cloth, place in a sieve about a bowl. I used Tre Stella Light Ricotta, thanks Tre Stella! I placed a can of water chestnuts on top and let it drain overnight but apparently you could let it sit in the fridge for three hours.
Place 1 bunch of fresh spinach (10 oz bag) with stems removed, washed and well dried in a food processor with 1 1/2 cups of basil leaves (1 bunch), 1/4 tsp of freshly grated nutmeg, some coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper.
I used frozen spinach instead which I wrung out completely. I also used flat leaf parsley instead of basil and added some freshly grated Parmesan and garlic powder for additional flavour.
Process and scrape down the sides until smooth. Add two large whole eggs and one egg white. Process for just a few seconds.
Pour the mixture into a prepared pan. I parchment paper-lined a springform pan that I sprayed with cooking oil. Bake in a preheated 350F oven until it browns around the edges, around 30 minutes. Let cool completely on a wire rack then refrigerate covered until cold, preferably overnight.
You were supposed to serve them on decorative crackers which I did not have so I got some of my corn tortillas and cut them into pumpkins and circles. I brushed with olive oil. To the pumpkins I sprinkled with paprika and to the rounds I finely grated fresh Parmesan.
I baked in a 350F oven for 10 minutes.
When the spinach ricotta mixture had cooled I placed it on a well greased cutting board in wedges. Then I used the skull cookie cutter to cut out the shape. I tried to push out the eyes and nose at this point with a cotton swab. This did not work well.
I also tried to just use the swab to move just the face onto the cracker and leave the eyes and nose in the cutter. This did not work either.
In the end I only made two successful skull faces but they were not perfect.
Since they were such a pan in the butt to make I got out a circle cutter, cut out a circle and then used the side of the cutter to make a crescent moon. Much easier and very pretty and spooky at the same time!
The crackers ended up being a little too thick to get super crunchy. Next time I would probably shallow fry them or buy fancy crackers like Martha.
The good news is, this was delicious! The spinach ricotta mixture was absolutely yummy and ended up being my lunch after I did this mini photo shoot. So screw the skulls. Use your other more simple cookie cutters and make fun Halloween shapes. The flavour and impact are worth the time and effort!