Posted by: njbrown | December 17, 2011

Choux Paste (Cream Puff) Swans A-Swimming

Choux Paste (Cream Puff) Swans A-Swimming

Choux Paste (Cream Puff) Swans A-Swimming

At a recent Christmas party, my husband and I were assigned “Seven swans a-swimming” in singing the Twelve Days of Christmas.  Since then, I’ve been thinking of the cream puff swans that we made so many years ago in my evening pastry classes.  I’d never seen such an enchanting dessert.  However, as much as I loved them, I never made them or even saw them until about a year ago when Hubert Keller made them in a Top Chef Masters competition where the challenge was to make desserts for children. (The children loved them as much as I did.)

It is lovely to make a dessert with so much “wow factor” that is so easy.  Although these are just filled with sweetened whipped cream, berries could be added to the filling, or even chocolate mousse before the final piping with whipped cream.

Choux Paste Swans

(Makes 8 )


  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup butter cut in pieces
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 tablespoon sugar
  • ½ cup flour
  • 2 1/2 eggs lightly beaten – should equal 1/2 cup
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 1+ tablespoons confectioner’s sugar to taste
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Confectioner’s sugar for garnish


  1. Bring water, salt, sugar and butter to a boil
  2. Add flour all at once
  3. Stir vigorously with a wooden spoon until the mixture forms a ball
  4. Let cool 5 minutes
  5. Add eggs gradually, beat well until smooth and shiny
  6. Line pastry sheets with parchment paper or silicone mat
  7. With a number 10 plain piping tip, pipe 8 curved shapes approximately 2 ½ inches to form the swans’ necks (see video: Cream Puff Pastry – How To Make A Swan below).  (My pastry instructor had us pipe the neck upside down, beginning with almost a question mark, but curving the bottom of the question mark toward the right, then making a sharp 45-degree flick of the pastry tip to form the head of the swan. This gave a graceful curve to the neck, and a very delicate head.)
  8. With about a ½ inch plain piping tip, pipe 8 mounds, tapering the ends to form the tails of the swans.
  9. Bake heads and necks at 425 degrees for about 12 minutes until golden brown.  Cool on rack.
  10. Bake puffs at 425 degrees for 20 minutes until golden and crisp to the touch.
  11. Remove from over and make a slash in each to let out steam, then return to turned off oven for 5 more minutes.
  12. Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack.
  13. Using a chilled bowl and beaters, whip the cream with the confectioner’s sugar and vanilla until stiff enough to hold the piped shape.
  14. Cut the top 1/3 off of each cream puff.  Split the top in half – the halves become the wings.
  15. Fill bottom of each puff with whipped cream.
  16. Place head and neck into the whipped cream.
  17. Fill remainder of each puff with whipped cream piped with the star tube in overlapping shells.
  18. Place wings into the whipped cream, almost touching along the center of the back.
  19. Using a fine sieve, dust with confectioner’s sugar.


  1. I haven’t made these since pastry school too. I had forgotten how elegant they look. I loved the video. Going to have to try my hand at these again, great blogging!

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