Monday, August 27, 2012

Daring Bakers' Challenge: Pate a Choux Swans

Kat of The Bobwhites was our August 2012 Daring Baker hostess who inspired us to have fun in creating pate a choux shapes, filled with creme patisserie or Chantilly cream.  We were encouraged to create swans, or any shape we wanted, and to go crazy with filling flavors, allowing our creativity to go wild!

While I have had a lot of experience with making choux pastry, I had always stuck with basic cream puffs or profiteroles in the past.  I never thought to get creative and make animal shapes out of the pastry dough!  I used the same choux recipe that I've been making for years, and added a layer of Nutella under the Chantilly cream.  

Make the choux pastry on the stove.

Pipe out the swan's necks and heads.

Pipe out the swan's bodies and bake.

Allow baked swans to cool, and then cut off top half of bodies to create the wings.

Spread a small amount of Nutella in the bottom the base of the swan, then pipe in  Chantilly cream.

Assemble the swan by adding the wings and neck.


Pate a Choux
Makes about 15 swans

3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
Pinch of nutmeg
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
3 eggs

1. Preheat oven to 400 F and line two baking pans with parchment paper.
2. Sift together the flour, salt and nutmeg.  Heat butter and 3/4 cup water in a saucepan until it boils.  Reduce heat to medium low and add flour mixture all at once. Cook mixture on stove top for about 4 minutes, beating constantly with a wooden spoon.  Mixture should start to pull away from the pan when done.  Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.
3. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each egg.  Mixture should be shiny, and still hold its shape.
4. Use a pastry bag with 1/4" round tip to pipe out the swan's necks/heads.  (See picture above.)
5. Remove tip from pastry bag and pipe out the swan's bodies on other baking sheet. They should be about 1.5" long and 1" wide, with one end being slightly wider than the other.
6. Bake at 400 F until golden brown.  The swan heads should only take about 10 minutes, while the bodies will need to bake for about 25 minutes.  Allow bodies to cool completely before filling.

Chantilly Cream

1 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup confectioner's sugar

1. Whip heavy cream and vanilla until it holds medium peaks.  Beat in confectioner's sugar.  Do not over beat.

Assembling the Swans

1. Once swan bodies have cooled, use a knife to carefully cut off the top half of the body.
2. Slice the tops in half length-wise, to create the wings.
3. Spread a small amount of Nutella onto the base of the swan body (optional) and pipe on the Chantilly cream filling.  Add the wings and head. Have fun!

Choux pastry recipe adapted from the recipe for "Chocolate Profiteroles" found in the book Desserts: mouthwatering recipes for delectable dishes, edited by Rosemary Wilkinson.  Buy online at: 

-Posted by Jennifer