Choux pastry swans filled with vanilla cream and raspberries

Impress your dinner party guests with Michel Lemoine's truly decorative dessert, which tastes as good as it looks
By Michel Lemoine
Choux pastry swans filled with vanilla cream and raspberries
  • Rating:
  • Serves: Makes 6-8 swans
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Prep Time: 40 minutes plus cooling and chilling
  • Effort: hard

Ingredients

main

  • 2 punnets of fresh raspberries
  • icing sugar, for dusting

For the choux pastry:

  • 500 ml water
  • 125g cold butter, diced
  • pinch of salt
  • 250 g plain flour, sifted
  • 7 eggs, plus beaten egg for egg-wash

For the raspberry coulis:

  • 75 g caster sugar
  • 250 ml raspberry purée
  • 225 ml water
  • 150 g glucose

For the whipped vanilla cream:

  • 300 ml double cream
  • 150 g icing sugar
  • seeds of 1 vanilla pods

Method

1. First make the raspberry coulis. Place the sugar, raspberry purée, water and glucose in a saucepan. Bring to the boil. Simmer for 2-3 minutes, skim off any scum from the surface, strain through a sieve and set aside to cool. Chill in the refrigerator until required.

2. Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas 4.

3. To make the choux pastry, place the water, butter and salt in a saucepan. Bring to the boil.

4. Remove from direct heat and immediately add in all of the flour. Mix together vigorously, using a wooden spatula, to break down any lumps.

5. Continue beating until the mixture leaves the sides of the pan to form a ball. Allow to cool slightly.

6. Mix in the eggs, one by one, making sure that each egg has been thoroughly incorporated before adding the next. Check the mixture when 6 eggs have been added and if the mixture seems too soft, do not add the final egg.

7. Put the choux pastry into a piping bag with a medium sized nozzle.

8. Take a greased baking sheet and pipe the choux pastry into 6-8 oval shapes onto the sheet, using two-thirds of the choux pastry mixture.

9. With the rest of the pastry, pipe 6-8 number '2' shapes to make the neck of the swan.

10. Egg-wash the top of all the shapes and pinch the beginning of the number '2' shapes to make the beaks of the swans.

11. Bake in the oven for about 15 minutes until the choux pastry is risen and golden. You may need to remove the necks before the ovals are cooked. Cool on a wire rack.

12. To make the vanilla cream, mix together the double cream, icing sugar and vanilla pod seeds. Whisk until stiff peaks form. Place in a piping bag with a medium sized nozzle.

13. To assemble the swans, take one of the oval-shaped choux buns. Cut off around the top one-third of the bun and then cut the piece you have removed in half lengthways to make two long strips (these will form the wings).

14. Fill the remaining choux bun with whipped vanilla cream, then top with fresh raspberries.

15. Place each wing half on the side of filled bun. Place the swan's 'neck' at one end of the filled bun and dust with icing sugar.

16. Pour some cold raspberry coulis on a serving plate and place the swan over.

17. Repeat the process making 6-8 swans in all.

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