The Very Finest Party Hedgehog
July 15, 2019 2:04 PM   Subscribe

I have been tasked with creating the very finest of party hedgehogs and I'm looking for suggestions.

OK, so I suspect this concept might be mysterious to many US readers but I think most German, UK, and likely many other European people, will be aware of it as a somewhat kitsch/retro party buffet centrepiece.

The basic concept is thus:
  1. Make a base by taking an appropriately sized and sturdy round/oval-ish fruit or vegatable and cutting it in half (large potato, dense cabbage/lettuce, a melon, one of the rounder types of squash/gourd, etc. This part likely isn't even going to get eaten so it doesn't really matter).
  2. Wrap it in foil for a mix of structural/hygiene/presentation reasons.
  3. Make your "spines" by adding small/cubed nibbles/snacks to cocktail skewers/toothpicks and sticking them all over your base. The most traditional is cubes of cheese and pineapple but variations are acceptable - cheese and olive, sweet versions with grapes or various berries, etc.
  4. Optionally add features/decorations crafted either from more foil or more cleverly sliced fruit and veg.
  5. Voila. A thrilling centrepiece sure to bring a touch of class to any cocktail party.
To be clear - the general form factor and aesthetics are important but sticking to the pure concept of a load of skewered cubes of whatever isn't necessarily (for example - I've seen some recipes online for hedgehog shaped bread which, while I'm not sure I really want to make bread unless it's quite interesting/special, would be conceptually appropriate at least).

Any interesting ideas welcome, the more unusual and the fancier (while still being edible) the better. Note that I consider myself a pretty competent home cook and have a pretty decently equipped and supplied kitchen.
posted by Dext to Food & Drink (20 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
A friend made a hedgehog cheese ball for a potluck that was delicious. I don't know if this is the recipe she actually used, but the general concept is there and then you can use basically any cheese ball recipe.
posted by jacquilynne at 2:22 PM on July 15, 2019 [1 favorite]

OK, you should make a lot of various sorts of kebabs, the ones on those six inch wooden skewers, and then stick them in the biggest most monstrous vegetable you can find, and put a massive pair of googly eyes on it.

If it's a 50th birthday then you should stick 50 candles in a pineapple and make flaming hedgehog of death, maybe bring a fire extinguisher though.

Get a cucumber, cut off a slice lengthways to give a flat base, and arrange the toothpick things in clumps to look like one of those weird spiky caterpillars

Get a toy hedgehog (or several) the same size as your party hedgehog and make some kind of hilarious hedgehog diorama.
posted by quacks like a duck at 2:23 PM on July 15, 2019 [7 favorites]

One word: Mettigel! (Sorry.)
posted by amf at 2:25 PM on July 15, 2019 [1 favorite]

Forgive me if I'm misreading your "to be clear." I'm not sure if this applies or not, but I collect vintage cookbooks and have seen both hedgehog cakes with spines of cookies or nuts and hedgehog cheese balls with spines of nuts or pretzels. The internet still seems to be doing both of these things based on an image search. In American mid-century cookbooks, I also have seen more than one pretty wild party centerpiece of a head of cabbage on a stick in a flowerpot, like a topiary, with skewered stuff sticking out of it. Seems like that could be pretty tippy to me based on the tipple-proneness of your party, though.
posted by jocelmeow at 2:25 PM on July 15, 2019 [1 favorite]

Don't supply any party hedgehog at all, just a collection of stuffed hedgehogs in party hats, and say "sorry I thought you said hedgehog party!"

Use cubes of jelly and custard for a party themed dessert hedgehog.

Put chillies of widely varying heats on the toothpicks with tasty cheese cubes and call it roulette hedgehog.
posted by quacks like a duck at 2:28 PM on July 15, 2019 [5 favorites]

I think rainbow fruit skewers could be really beautiful. Bonus points for icing the ball/base to look like a blue sky with clouds. I think the key thing would be to make the skewers as uniform as possible, so you could see a clear rainbow progression from middle to outside of the skewer halo. Maybe place the whole thing in a bed of some very fluffy white (whipped cream base maybe) fruit dip.

To be clear, this would obviously still need a cute little hedgehog face shape and decorating.
posted by Sweetchrysanthemum at 2:29 PM on July 15, 2019 [3 favorites]

Response by poster: Forgive me if I'm misreading your "to be clear." I'm not sure if this applies or not, but I collect vintage cookbooks and have seen both hedgehog cakes with spines of cookies or nuts and hedgehog cheese balls with spines of nuts or pretzels.

Not planning to threadsit but, for the benefit of further answerers, you are not misreading at all. Basically I'm prepared to stray quite far from the brief so long as it is edible and arguably hedgehog shaped.
posted by Dext at 2:29 PM on July 15, 2019 [2 favorites]

OK don't think hedgehog think Echidna. Huge thick spikes. Stick skewers into a variety of sausages from one end to another before cooking them or make kofkas or even skiskabob and jam them in there, using a heavy pumpkin as a base. Serve with a nice dipping sauce. If your crowd tends to shun meats that aren't served super hot, but this would also work with those whole twiggy salamis & cheese sticks.

I have also seen a meat sculpture of sonic the hedgehog on the internet somewhere, if you were feeling brave, you could sculpt a hedgehog meat loaf.
posted by wwax at 2:39 PM on July 15, 2019 [1 favorite]

Put prosciutto, cheese and olive at the head end, chicken and roast vegetable in the middle and chocolate dipped berries at the butt end.

Place a series of chocolate covered raisins behind the thing so it looks like it pooped.

Make grass for it to sit on out of lime jello

Lay a headless Barbie in front of it and give it a facial expression of utter horror carefully crafted out of food products.
posted by quacks like a duck at 2:42 PM on July 15, 2019 [4 favorites]

Take a slice off the edge of a watermelon, remove the centre and stick things in the now hollow watermelon to create a fruit hedgehog. Then use a knife and the cubed innards creatively to look like a gruesome hedgehog murder occurred.
posted by quacks like a duck at 2:48 PM on July 15, 2019 [1 favorite]

Oh, good. Glad I was understanding. I don't see any attempts at this with a quick look around, but if you wanted to have As Many Hedgehogs As Possible, a double-strength gelatin mixture (flavored gelatin reinforced with plain) made in a melon-shaped or egg-shaped mold *might* be able to serve as another base substance if your spines were something very light, short, and thin like sliced almonds.
posted by jocelmeow at 2:49 PM on July 15, 2019 [1 favorite]

This marzipan hedgehog (based on an 18th century recipe) is cute.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 3:17 PM on July 15, 2019 [2 favorites]

Jackfruit is huge and already kind of looks like a hedgehog
posted by qxntpqbbbqxl at 3:57 PM on July 15, 2019 [2 favorites]

Vodka watermelon hedgehog, studded with an appropriate number of minibar sized bottles of vodka interspersed with liquor-marinated fruit skewers.
posted by notquitemaryann at 4:19 PM on July 15, 2019 [2 favorites]

(in this version you do, you must, consume the watermelon itself)
posted by notquitemaryann at 4:20 PM on July 15, 2019

Best answer: I had a vague feeling something like this was in my vintage Lithuanian cookbook, and it was, only called porcupine cake. I googled and found the same recipe with a picture online.

Here it is.
posted by FencingGal at 5:05 PM on July 15, 2019 [4 favorites]

You could do a hedgehog cheeseball, like jacquilynne beat me to suggesting, but still do the skewers with stuff. Ideally stuff that's good to eat with a cheeseball...
posted by Weeping_angel at 5:41 PM on July 15, 2019

Savory on the skewers and then when they've been decimated the hogbody itself is sweet. Love the vodka watermelon idea above. I'm thinking pineapple, though. Cut it in half vertically and then core it. Score it into cubes but don't cut it all the way through. Liberally douse with rum, simple syrup and mint, stuff the hollow left by the core with maraschino cherries or something else super sweet (but cherries would be humorously gruesome). Flip it all over and let it soak in a puddle of booze and syrup so the skin of the pineapple is up - it already looks hedgehoggy that way! For the skewers do grilled pineapple and marinated shrimp or chicken bites, maybe with sweet onions too (use the other half of the pineapple for this). Give your hog a lei out of edible flowers and surround with cocktail umbrellas.
posted by Mizu at 6:25 PM on July 15, 2019 [4 favorites]

I recently had a 70s dinner party (think themed 70s food, more about the presentation and horror of the 70s) and I chose to riff on the hedgehog by making a peacock. It didn't really turn out looking the way I had hoped (nothing ever does), but I maintain that the concept was solid.

The body of the peacock was a brie en croute, which is easy to knock up with frozen puff pastry sheets and a brie. I tried to decorate the body with puff pastry cut out feather shapes too. Then the peacock tail was skewers with small vegetables that you might feasibly want to dip into the molten brie. The head was celery and an olive, and yeah basically I ran out of energy and anyway this was an ironic party dammit!
70s Party Peacock
posted by Joh at 8:08 PM on July 15, 2019 [7 favorites]

Response by poster: Thanks everyone! Pretty much every suggestion here is amazing and now I think my problem is largely deciding between them.

notquitemaryann's vodka melon 'hog is a great idea, but I'm not sure I have the requisite time free to babysit the infusion process.

various suggestions from quacks like a duck (who apparently got really invested in the idea) are all good, but in particular the two different gruesome suggestions were fantastic.

wwax's kofta suggestion is a good one but, in particular, their mention of a Sonic the Hedgehog "meat sculpture" sounds frankly disgusting but really got me thinking about whether I'm a competent enough baker/cake decorator to make a cake in the shape of Sonic (specifically the supremely creepy recent movie trailer Sonic). I'm not though, sadly.

In the end though I think I'm going to go with FencingGal's suggestion for a traditional Lithuanian hedgehog cake, which looks both unusual enough to be a surprise, fairly impressive, and actually tasty.

Thanks so much everyone!
posted by Dext at 2:42 PM on July 18, 2019 [1 favorite]

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