The Swan eclairs are a beautiful and fancy dessert. I used to have them as a child, when I was going with my grandparents at a local tea room. It’s one of the first memories I have. While I remembered them and I was attached to the idea of Swan eclairs, it’s the first time I make them. Surely, it will not be the last. I like how lovely they look and I like that each of them looks like it has its own character. I think a Swan eclair lake would be a wonderful showstopper on a dinner party or even for a very special meal, like the Christmas dinner.
I think the Swans look so pretty. I think it’s quite a posh looking dessert.
Swan eclairs. Ingredients for 12 Swan Choux (and necks):
– 180g white plain flour
– 4 eggs
– 120g butter
– 200ml water
Ingredients for the vanilla creme patissiere:
– 100g sugar
– 50g plain white flour
– 4 egg yolks
– 500ml milk
– 1 tsp vanilla paste
Ingredients for the whipped cream and decor:
– 300ml whipping cream
– 30g icing sugar
– 10g icing sugar to sprinkle on top
Start by making the Swan Choux. In a pan melt the butter with the water over medium heat. When it boils, remove from heat and add the flour, stirring fast to incorporate. Return back on the heat for a minute and stir so it doesn’t stick to the sides. Take off the heat and cool. Add the eggs one at a time and stir until incorporated.
Preheat the oven at 200C fan or 220C. Use two baking trays. In the first baking tray, put the baking parchment. Using a pipping bag, pipe the body of the Swan. It should be a roundish shape with a smaller end to represent the tail.
In the second baking tray, make the neck and head of the Swans. It should look like a “2”. The tail of the 2 will make it stick to the body when it’s inserted into the cream. The necks will take less to bake, so they need to be pipped on another tray or they will burn. It’s a good idea to pipe a few extra necks, if one breaks. None of mine were damaged, but it’s safer to have spares.
Put the first tray in the oven and leave it for 15 minutes, lower the temperature at 160C fan or 180C. Put the second baking tray in the oven too and bake for another 10-15 minutes. When they are baked, you can leave them in the oven with the door open, so they can dry up a bit.
More details, with pictures, on my post about Choux pastry.
While the choux are cooling down, make the creme patissiere. Heat the milk in a saucepan. Whisk the yolks with sugar in a bowl until pale and fluffy. Add the sifted flour. When the milk has boiled, pour it over the egg mixture. Mix for one minute. Add the vanilla paste and pour the creme back into the pan, on medium heat. Stir continuously for 2-3 minutes. Make sure the cream does not catch the bottom of the pan. When the mixture has thicken a bit it’s ready. The creme will thicken when cooling down.
Transfer the cream into a cold container and cover it with cling film. Make sure that the film is in direct contact with the cream’s surface, so it will not make a crust on its surface.
Whisk the whipping cream with icing sugar. Now we have to assemble the Swans. I didn’t make any intermediary pictures, but I hope I’ll be able to do it next time and I’ll update the post.
Start by cutting the Choux horizontally, one third from the top. The bottom will be the body of the Swan. Fill it with creme patissiere. Pipe whipping cream on top. Cut in half the remaining top of the choux and place it on the sides, to represent the wings. Insert the neck with care, so it doesn’t break. Pipe a bit more whipped cream if the neck made an indent on the surface.
Sprinkle icing sugar on top to make them look white and transfer them on the serving plate. The Swan eclairs are that easy to make.
I think the best way to arrange swans is to think of a lake and how they look on the water. This is what I tried to recreate when I’ve put them like this. I’m really delighted with how they turned out. It’s a fun dessert to make, it looks amazing, it doesn’t have a lot of sugar as there isn’t any icing on top and half of the filling is low-sugar whipped cream.
Have you seen Swan eclairs before? What do you think about them?