Making: Choux Swans

To me, choux swans are one of the most elegant pastries out there. Not only is it beautiful to look at, it is also oftentimes delicious. Light puff filled with cream, what’s not to like?

This weekend, I decided to attempt making choux swans at home and I think it turned out alright for my first attempt. It looked like a swan and tasted great.

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I used the choux recipe by La Patisserie De Reves. Of course, you can use any choux recipe that you’re comfortable with and make these at home. As for the filling, I whipped up some cream with mascarpone, sugar and folded in some melted dark chocolate to satisfy the boyfriend (he likes anything chocolate in desserts).

The basic steps in making pate a choux are as follows:

1. Cut butter into small cubes and melt it in a pot along with milk and water. Bring it to a boil. Turn off the heat and add flour, sugar and salt all in one go. Keep stirring and turn the heat back on.

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2. Stir the choux paste until it comes clean off the sides of the pot and stop stirring & the heat once you can see some starch at the bottom of the pot.

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3. Place the choux paste in a mixing bowl & attach with a paddle attachment, start beating to cool down the choux paste. You should not add the eggs at this stage as it might get cooked since the choux paste would be very hot at this time.

4. Once the choux paste has cooled down a bit, add eggs very gradually, ensuring that it is fully incorporated after each addition. I also scrape the sides of my bowl after each addition to ensure everything is completely combined.

5. Prepare 2 piping bags with 2 tips: 1 small round one for the head and neck of the swans and 1 big round or star tip for the body. I only had round tips so that was what I used to pipe the body of my swans.

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6. Pipe the necks and heads of the swans using the small tip. This is achieved by piping an S shape, then topping the head with a small beak. Bake these at 180c for 12 minutes. These shouldn’t take too long.

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7. Pipe the bodies of the swans using the bigger tip or a star tip. Start by piping a big circle then pull downwards to create a sharp tapered tip. Bake these at 180c for about 30 minutes or until done. Let them cool in the oven with the door ajar after baking to dry them out even more.

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8. Freeze the swan bodies before cutting and decorating for easy handling.

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9. To assemble, take one of the choux bodies and slice 1/3 of the top off, then cut it in half to make the wings. Pipe in some cream of your choice (pastry cream, chantilly or whipped cream) – I used a mascarpone chocolate cream. Place the wings on the sides and the head in the middle. Voila, your swan is done! Lastly, dust with some icing sugar to make it look even nicer!

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These swans were quite easy to make. I followed the recipe and cooked the choux paste this time (instead of pouring boiling milk mixture into the mixer) and it turned out very well. Although, I have to say – I did have to make the bodies twice as my first attempt collapsed upon leaving the oven because they weren’t cooked through enough. So take note of the baking time as specified in the recipe.

I think next time I will use a star tip to pipe the bodies of the swans because it does look nicer and will rise better as well instead of having random cracks. Some of the wings didn’t stand well because of the cracks but that is okay because the end product still tasted pretty awesome.

SAM_3092I had a lot of fun making this becauce assembling them was very exciting. Initially I was worried that using a round tip will result in a fat round swan but the piping method made it long and tapered at the end so it looked more like a swan than I anticipated! I also really enjoyed photographing these because they were quite photogenic, to say the least. However, I think they would have looked even better if the cream was white instead of brown but taste above all!

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