Daring Bakers August Challenge: Filled Pate au 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!

Today I'm just leaving a small note: I haven't been in the mood lately for some kind of baking or cooking, that's the reason I skipped the last month's challenges. My thoughts got distracted lately by something (or better someone) else ...
The swans were easy (as promised) and it was a quick challenge - so you should really give it a try (like Kat says).

 Filled Pate au Choux Swans

Pate a choux
(cannot be doubled)
  • 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
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. 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. 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 (my heads needed about 15 minutes, the bodies 5 minutes longer).
Remove the pastries to a cooling rack, and let cool completely before filling. 

Filling: Café Crème Patissiere (Half Batch)
  • 1 cup (225 ml.) whole milk 
  • 2 Tbsp. cornstarch 
  • 6 Tbsp. (100 g.) sugar 
  • 1 large egg 
  • 2 large egg yolks 
  • 2 Tbsp. (30 g.) unsalted butter 
  • 1 Tsp. Vanilla
  • 1 ½ teaspoons instant espresso powder, dissolved in 1 ½ teaspoons boiling water
Dissolve cornstarch in ¼ cup of milk. Combine the remaining milk with the sugar in a saucepan; bring to boil; remove from heat. Beat the whole egg, then the yolks into the cornstarch mixture. Pour 1/3 of boiling milk into the egg mixture, whisking constantly so that the eggs do not begin to cook. Return the remaining milk to boil. Pour in the hot egg mixture in a stream, continuing whisking. Continue whisking (this is important – you do not want the eggs to solidify/cook) until the cream thickens and comes to a boil. Remove from heat and beat in the dissolved espresso, butter and vanilla. Pour cream into a stainless steel/ceramic bowl. Press plastic wrap firmly against the surface. Chill immediately and until ready to use.


Take a swan body and use a very sharp knife to cut off the top 1/3rd to ½. Cut the removed top down the center to make two wings. Dollop a bit of filling into the body, insert head, and then add wings. 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.

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