This month daring baker’s challenge was to make a filled Pâte à Choux Swans famous French pastry. Kat of The Bobwhites was our hostess asked us make swans or any shape and filled with crème patisserie or Chantilly cream or any cream of your choice. As usual debate of yes or n/a .I finally find some time to venture in making swans.
I like swans, because I grown up hearing the stories from our great epic Mahabharata by my grandma. Usually she tells the stories during my bed time and also watching these stories played in Kathakali, highly stylized classical Indian dance-drama, which is peculiar with is attractive makeup and costumes, gestures and its music. It is unique dance form of my home state Kerala.
It is like Opera you need to listen carefully, and watch. During temple festivals there will be Kathakali performed in the night, played in stage and people will sit in open ground watch the whole night. It usually comes in my summer holidays, my grandma, aunt and me will go and watch these dance drama without any fail. She will carry lot of munchies and bed sheet, if I sleep in between. She will tell me stories before hand, so that I can enjoy it very well.
Epic Mahabharata consists of lot of sub stories, among this one of the sub stories is about the King Nalan, the King of Nishadha. He hears from sage Narada about Damayanthi, the charming daughter of Bheema, King of Kundinapuri. Narada's description is enough for Nala to fall head over heels in love with Damayanthi. His infatuation for her interferes with his official duties. To ponder what to do, he decides to take a walk in the garden where he encounters an enchanting golden swan who tells the lovelorn king that it would carry his message to Damayanthi.
Nala agrees and the swan flies away. The swan conveys Nala's message while Damayanthi is in the garden with her maids. The swan promises to ensure that Nala and Damayanthi are married to each other and returns to Nala with Damayanthi's declaration of love.
There is beautiful drawing by our famous artist Raja Ravi Varma is depicting Damyanthi talking to Swan is in my hand.
So when I got a chance to make swan, I jumped at this chance, however my pastry and piping skills are still in its infancy. Unless you try it how you will know that is my hubby’s motto, so tried to make them.
I watched lot of you tube videos however, and liked a few and here , here and here. I found that for a pate a choux recipe you need water, milk, butter, salt and egg. So I changed the recipe given for the challenge by incorporating milk into them. I was able to make pate a choux successfully, and then came the dreaded piping part. I try to pipe a few times, but none of the time did it look like swan. Finally I gave up and and accepted the last piped version. If you look them you may not think it can become a swan. Yes it did.
I was not in a mood to make pastry crème. I had some cream cheese in hand and it needed to be used up so made cream cheese Chantilly. I used only 2 tablespoon of sugar. However my princess is addicted to frosting, she didn’t care about mama’s swans, and decide to eat only the frosting. By yesterdayevening I was able finish my swans and filled them with cream cheese heavycream frosting. They turned out be beautiful, even my hubby told me they looklike swans. Finally it was difficult for me to eat them. I did it and they were delicious. If you have to celebrate a party then make these swans as desserts, they are cute and delicious. Here goes the recipe.
First make Pâte à Choux for Swans, gather your ingredients.
For Pate a choux
For Cream cheese chantilly
Preheat the oven to 375F.Line two baking sheet with Parchment paper.
Heat milk, water, butter, salt and sugar in medium sauce pot, once milk start boiling, add sifted flour at once. Mix well so that dough comes together.Remove from the fire and set aside and gradually incorporate eggs to form creamy dough.
Using a piping bag with star tip pipe swan's body and with narrow tip pipe its head. When I piped both they didn't look like any body or head. Don't worry you will be able to see some after baking.
While your swan's body and head is cooling you can make cream cheese Chantilly. Make sure to freeze the bowl and whisk at 10 minutes. Then cream the cream cheese, sugar, vanilla extract and gradually incorporate the whipping cream in steady stream continuing the whisking. Beat until its gets stiff peaks.
When you are ready to serve, cut the body of swan in the middle to form two piece. Then again cut the top part into two piece. They become the wings. Fill the bottom part with cream cheese chantitly, and connect the head. And place two wings.
Only fill the swan's with cream when you are ready for serving, not earlier as it become soggy.
Dust them with powdered sugar and serve.
Filled Pâte à Choux Swans with Cream Cheese Chantilly
IngredientsPâte à Choux
Cream cheese Chantilly
Directions1. Line at least two baking sheets with silicone mats or parchment paper, or grease pans well.
2. Preheat oven to moderately hot 375°F/190°C/gas mark 5 .
3. In a small saucepan, combine butter, milk, water, sugar and salt. Heat until milk and water boils and butter melts, then remove from stove.
4. Add flour all at once by sifting well and beat the mixture until the dough pulls away from the sides of the pot.
5. Set aside for about 5 minutes or dough is cool enough to touch.
5. Add one egg at a time 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.
6. Using a ¼” (6 mm) tip on a pastry bag, pipe out about 11 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.
7. Remove the tip from the bag and pipe out 11 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.
8. Bake the heads for 10 minutes and bodies for about 27 minutes until golden and puffy.
9. Remove the pastries to a cooling rack, and let cool completely before filling.
Cream cheese Chantilly
Chill medium mixing bowl and whisk in freezer for 10 minutes before beginning. In chilled bowl, whisk cream cheese ,sugar and vanilla extract and beat until everything mix well.While the mixture is still whipping, slowly pour in the heavy cream. Stop and scrape the bottom of the bowl a couple of times while you continue whipping until the cream can hold a stiff peak. Do not over-whip.
1. Take a swan body and use a very sharp knife to cut off the top ½.
2. Cut the removed top down the center to make two wings.
3. Dollop a bit of filling into the body, insert head, and then add wings.
4. Your first attempt will probably not look like much, but the more you make, the more your bevy of swans will become a beautiful work of swan art.
VariationsYou can use Vanilla Crème Patisserie, or any other cream of your choice can be used as filling.
I am linking this beautiful swan's to Hearth and Soul blog hop hosted here.
Food Friends Friday