Spring is finally here again. The first seasonal baking project that popped into my mind was of course, Swan Cream Puffs.
A few years ago I got this recipe from Princess Cruise Lines. I have to admit, mine didn’t come out tasting as good as theirs, but they still look nice. They were easy to make, don’t require any fancy cooking utensils, very few ingredients, and don’t take much time to make.
Makes 12 swans
1 1/2 cups water
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups flour, sifted
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 3/4 cups heavy cream
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 tablespoons confectioner’s sugar
Berries (for garnish)
Bring the water and butter to a boil. Add the flour and salt and stir vigorously. Reduce the heat and continue to stir until the mixture is a smooth paste and pulls away from the side of the pan. Remove the pan from heat and allow to cool slightly for approximately 2 minutes. With a hand mixer, add the eggs one at a time stirring well to incorporate. (If you don’t have a hand mixer, you can do this by hand) The mixture should be smooth and stiff. Let cool to room temperature.
Preheat the oven to 400 F. Place 1/4 of the mixture in a small piping bag with a small plain tip. Pipe the shape of a backwards S onto the baking tray to form the head and neck.
Place the remainder of the pastry in a piping bag with a medium sized star tip. Pipe 12 egg-sized balls of mixture onto a separate baking tray. Place the trays in the oven. The neck pieces will bake in approximately 5 minutes, remove once browned and firm. Bake the balls for the body approximately 5 minutes longer, then reduce the temperature to 350 F adn continue to bake 10 to 12 minutes. The bodies should be golden brown, dry and firm to the touch. Remove from the oven and cool on a rack.
Whisk the cream, vanilla and sugar together to a medium peak. Taste and adjust sweetness. Place the cream in a piping bag with a medium star tip.
To create the swans, cut off the top half of the body using a serrated knife, then split teh top piece in half for the wings. Dust the wings with confectioner’s sugar. Fill the bottom of the body with the chantilly cream. Place the head and wings and garnish with berries.
Can also be served with a chocolate sauce.