Inspired by all the baking going on in Bake Off, I really wanted to get baking again, specifically to make some choux pastry swans which is also sometimes called cream puff swans.
I’ve only made choux pastry a couple of times before, just to make eclairs and cream puffs. The last time, I was guided by a friend who had just finished her Cordon Bleu course. That attempt was quite successful as they were delicious but the shapes were awful. Piping choux pastry is quite tricky.
This time, the team at Tala Kitchenware invited us to a baking masterclass using their high-quality British made bakeware. We were shown, step by step, how to make the choux pastry, how to pipe the shapes for the swan body and head and being super creative, we even made a pond with fondant icing for the swans to swim on.
If you are feeling a bit creative and need to make some delicate and pretty patisseries for an afternoon tea or party, you must have a go at this. It might look a bit complicated but it is really really easy.
You can get little helpers to get involved with the decorations too. We went a bit overboard with ours, using all the sprinkles and lots of colour to make our pond. We even sprinkled these edible pearls on our swans. It was like swans in fairyland, a bit kitsch but so fun to create. Our pond was inspired by Monet, with lots of water lilies and golden carp. What do you think?
About Tala Kitchenware
Tala is a British kitchenware brand that has been operating since 1899. Today, they are best known for their baking and cake decorating products. Most of their manufacturing is still done in the UK.
For this event, we used the Tala cook’s measure which is a simple cone shaped cup with measures for liquids and dry ingredients marked on the inside. My mum had one of these and it is the most versatile piece of kitchen equipment you can have. It will save you if you don’t have your digital scales handy.
Their baking trays are really heavy duty, didn’t need any sort of preparation like butter, flour or baking parchment to prevent the choux pastry from sticking. They also make a range of enamel wear that is made using an old technique involving many layers of enamel. This makes it longer lasting and more durable.
Choux Pastry Swan Recipe
Using a basic choux pastry recipe, we made up a small batch, enough for about 8 swans. All the equipment you need is listed below.
What is choux pastry used for?
Choux pastry or pate a choux is used for a variety of pastries and buns. It is made using plain flour, water, butter, milk and eggs. Someimes, sugar is added if you want the pasty sweet. Choux pastry doesn’t need a raising agent as the high moisture content will create steam as it is cooked which causes the pastry to puff up. The most common pattiserie items made from choux pastry are eclairs and profiteroles. Shops like Maitreux Choux have made it fashionable to create unusual flavours for their eclair fillings which are then beautifully decorated. A Croquembouche, tower of profiteroles dressed with spun sugar is often made as a show stopper for special events.
Is choux pastry the same as puff pastry?
Puff pastry, made of flour and butter, is a multi layered light pastry, usually made as a dough with many layers of butter in between. It is used for making pies and pastries, with a variety of sweet and savoury fillings and then baked. Chouox pastry on the other hand is made of flour, butter, water and eggs and is made by boiling the ingredients before baking. The result if a crispy, light and airy shell which is then filled with a variety of cream fillings and adorned with chocolate or sugar.
Step by step instructions on how to make these uber impressive choux pastry swans filled with jam and cream.
- 80ml water
- 25g butter
- 50g plain flour
- 1 egg
- whipped cream, sweetened to taste
- strawberry jam
- icing sugar
1 Preheat oven to 210C (410F).
2 Place water and butter in a pan and bring to boil.
3 Turn off heat and add flour, stirring with a wooden spoon until mixture comes away from sides of pan.
4 Remove from heat and cool for a minute. Whilst cooling beat the egg and prepare two piping bags -one with the smallest, and one with the largest writer tip nozzles.
5 Add beaten egg to the pan a little at a time until the mixture comes together. Transfer a little over three-quarters of the mixture into the large nozzled bag, and the remaining mixture into the small nozzled bag. Tip: put the piping bag into a jug or a Tala Cook's measure to help you fill it.
6 Using the large nozzled bag, pipe four large teardrop shapes onto the baking tray. Bake for 10 minutes.
7 Meanwhile, on a second baking tray and using the small nozzled bag, pipe four large, elegant 'S' shaped swan necks (tip: at the top end, pipe the head of the swan, pulling the bag away sharply to make pointed beak).
8 After 10 minutes, add swan necks to oven and bake with the teardrops for a further 8-10 minutes (choux pastry is ready when golden brown and well puffed).
9 Remove from oven and allow to cool.
10 Assemble the swan as directed. Cut off the top third of one teardrop with a serrated knife, horizontally and lengthways, to create two wings. Fill with jam and whipped cream and position the wings and head as shown.
Dust with icing sugar and personalise as desired. Or you can make the pond using fondant icing on a cake stand like we did in the pictures. Use multi coloured fondant and cut shapes using the fondant cutters. Go crazy.
Practice piping the heads a few times and make a few extra as they are quite fragile and liable to break.
Alternative fillings instead of whipped cream, you can use creme patissiere which is like a thick custard. My personal favourite.
Serving Size:1 swan per person
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 180 Total Fat: 12g Cholesterol: 75mg Sodium: 100mg Carbohydrates: 15g Sugar: 10g Protein: 3g
Baking equipment used to make these swans. You can buy them online from Amazon (links below) or at Divertimenti.
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EatCookExplore was a guest of Tala Kitchenware.