Filled 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 crème 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!

This month I was not the one who got super excited about the challenge! it was my kids. They usually buy these swans at a wonderful little bakery here and they are totally in love with them, the shape, the creamy filling, the sugar dusting. So when they knew that our challenge this month was to make pate a choux swans they were beyond excited!

The kids had a great time with this challenge and so did I 🙂 and I have to say that these pate a choux swans were the perfect summer dessert, crunchy pate a choux and a coolcreamy velvety filling. They also make for an elegant presentation when you have company and they are sure to please the little ones in your family 🙂

I will be making these again for sure.Thank you Kat for a wonderful challenge.

I followed the recipe provided by Kat with a few adjustments, you will find them in red

Pate a choux

(cannot be doubled)

Ingredients

½ cup (120 ml) (115 gm) (4 oz)butter

1 cup (240 ml) water

¼ teaspoon (1½  gm) salt

1 cup (240 ml) (140 gm) (5 oz) all-purpose flour

4 large eggs

Directions:

Line at least two baking sheets with silicone mats or parchment paper, or grease pans well.

Preheat oven to moderately hot 375°F/190°C/gas mark 5 .

In a small saucepot, combine butter, water, and salt.  Heat over until butter melts, then remove from stove

Add flour all at once and beat, beat, beat the mixture until the dough pulls away from the sides of the pot.

Add one egg, and beat until well combined.  Add remaining eggs individually, beating vigorously after each addition. Resulting mixture should be somewhat glossy, very smooth, and somewhat thick.

I only used 3 eggs, based on many videos I watched and recipes I read you want your dough to get to a stage where if you take a little dough between your index and thumb and open them, the dough will stretch without breaking. In my case that happened after 3 eggs, adding the 4th would have made the dough very runny and it would not hold its shape

Using a ¼” (6 mm) tip on a pastry bag, pipe out about 36 swan heads.  You’re aiming for something between a numeral 2 and a question mark, with a little beak if you’re skilled and/or lucky.

My piping bag gave out after the first couple of heads, so I used a bag that I cut off the corner and used to pipe the necks then make the opening bigger and made the bodies. I wet my fingers with a little water and shaped the bodies to give them a little tail shape

Remove the tip from the bag and pipe out 36 swan bodies.  These will be about 1.5” (40 mm) long, and about 1” (25 mm) wide. One end should be a bit narrower than the other.

Bake the heads and bodies until golden and puffy.  The heads will be done a few minutes before the bodies, so keep a close eye on the baking process.

Based on the advice of my fellow daring bakers on the forum. I baked them at 375 for about 10 minutes, poked holes in them, then dropped the temperature down to 350 for another 10 minutes to puff them up again and dry them out, then turned the oven off, propped the door open, and let them dry for another 5-10 minutes. This made sure I had and maintained nice, crisp pastry shells that maintained their shapes, even after I filled them

Remove the pastries to a cooling rack, and let cool completely before filling.

Vanilla Creme

Ingredients

1 tablespoon (15 ml) (7 gm) (1/4 oz) (1 envelope) unflavored gelatin

½ cup (120 ml) (115 gm) (4 oz) sugar

2 tablespoons (30 ml) (18 gm) (2/3 oz) all-purpose (plain) flour

4 large egg yolks, well beaten

1 cup (240 ml) milk

1 teaspoon (5 ml) vanilla extract

1 cup (240 ml) heavy (whipping) cream (about 35% butterfat)

Directions:

    1. In a medium saucepan combine gelatin, flour, and sugar.  Mix very well.
    2. Add milk and egg yolks and turn heat to medium-low. Stir almost constantly until mixture is thick enough to cover the back of your spatula or spoon. This should take about 10 minutes.
    3. Once thick, immediately dump into a bowl, straining the mixture if you are concerned about lumps of cooked egg.
    4. Add the vanilla, and mix in well.
    5. Cover the surface to prevent a skin from forming, and chill for about 45 minutes.  You do not want the mixture to set, just to continue thickening.
    6. Now is a good time to begin your choux paste.
    7. In a large bowl, beat cream until light peaks form.  Carefully fold the vanilla mixture into the whipped cream until the mixture is well-blended and fairly smooth.
    8. Refrigerate mixture if not using immediately.

Assembly

Take a swan body and use a very sharp knife to cut off the top  ½ to 2/3

Cut the removed top part into two parts by cutting down the center to make two wings.

Dollop a bit of filling into the body, insert head, and then add wings.

Dust with powdered sugar if desired

Freezing/Storage Instructions/Tips:  While the crème filling stores well when covered tightly and kept in a refrigerator, the baked choux does not store well at all, especially after being filled.  Therefore, you must eat these the day they are made.  This won’t be a problem, though, I assure you.
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