Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Chocolate Cream Puff Swans – Oh, Mama!

Mother’s Day is coming up soon, and these chocolate ganache-filled cream puff swans would be a great way to say thanks to her for that whole giving you life thing. I think once she tastes them, she’ll agree that it was all worth it after all.

This is mostly a technique video, as these beautiful birds would work with any number of fillings. Pastry cream, lemon curd, mousse, and fresh fruit are all perfect with this pâte à choux delivery system. This classic French dough has a thousand uses, and must be mastered by any serious cook. 

By the way, these are much better chilled, so make them an hour or two ahead. The one I eat in the video wasn’t well chilled, and you can see was pretty soft. Once cold, the chocolate ganache becomes very truffle-like, the whipped cream firms up, and you get something much more toothsome. So whether you do these for Mother's Day or not, I really hope you give these a try soon. Enjoy!


Pâte à Choux (Cream Puff Dough)
*enough for about 8-10 “swans”
1/2 cup water
1 tsp sugar
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
pinch salt
1/2 cup flour
2 eggs
*Bake "bodies" at 425 F. for 20-25 minutes, necks for about 12 minutes

For the ganache (makes extra):
4 oz dark chocolate, chopped
4 oz boiling heavy cream

For the whipped cream:
1 cup very cold heavy cream
1 tsp vanilla
1 tbsp sugar or to taste
*whip cream to soft peaks, add sugar, and whip to firm peaks

38 comments:

Annie Osenbaugh said...

Hi Chef John! I love your videos!

Any tips for what to do if you want to make these the night before serving them?

Nicholas said...

what kind of knife was that?
looks like a damascus tomato knife of sorts

Claire said...

These look absolutely stunning. Thank you, Chef John!

Chef John said...

Sorry, never done overnight! The longest I've made ahead is a few hours.

Sean said...

Wow. Mind = blown.

Jesse from Detroit said...

It's amazing that you can make a swan outta anything! Have you ever done a swan burger? (My wife is pregnant with twins and needs her protein.)

E said...

Never did them over night, because really who could wait that long to eat them!!!!! Awsome

bnvfairydust289 said...

Chef John would it be possible to put the directions like oven temp and cooking time as well in the blog? It's helpful to screenshot and read when making so we don't have to rewind the video if we miss something :) I'm SO making these for my mom!

Beth said...

Great presentation and doable - perfect for the occasion! Maybe chocolate pastry cream instead of ganache.

Marcelo said...

I would love to see you make an olive oil based lebanese garlic dip, better known as Toum,
cheers

Curtis Boucher said...

I made a batch, but my puffs didn't work and now I have a bunch of hoopty biscuits. Is there a secret to getting them to puff?

Richard st.louis said...

This is Awesome chef, i am going to try this today, and if it comes out like your's i will use them as a dessert special for next week for dinner service! Thanks Again chef

The Knife said...

I'm sure the pastry could be made and kept over night with ease. The piping shouldn't take too long depending on how many you want.

trinh tran said...

this is going to be my first time making this and I don't what kind of flour to use and also could you tell me the temp. and time how long they need to be cooked.

Unknown said...

I want to make these swans but i am German. So i have no real clue about the measurements. Can you give them in grams/milliliter please?!

Unknown said...

I tried to convert the measurements.
If anyone can confirm these i would be very grateful.

1/2 cup = 125 ml water
1/2 cup = 60 g flour
1 cup = 250 ml very cold heavy cream
4 oz = ~ 120 ml boiling heavy cream
4 oz = 110 g of chocolate
425°F = 220°C

(heavy cream and creme double is the same as far as i know)

Cecilia Ramírez Lira said...

I did it!! I feel good! my mum will be very happy! Thankyou very much chef John, I never thought that I could accomplish something like this. I feel like a chef! :O!! I am impress by myself jejeje!!

Nils Oberheim said...

Hallo John,
I did it but its way to much Butter.
My question is: how muxh Butter in grams is 4 tablespoons?
I got only One nice looking but Mythos mother was very Happy,
Thanks ;D

mrgallion said...

Made for my mom today and added peanut butter fudge in with the panache and used extra cream they came out great

mrgallion said...

Made for my mom today and added peanut butter fudge in with the panache and used extra cream they came out great

244hunter said...

Hello Chef,
My kids and I tried making these today but ours didn't puff up either and where flat. Our dough didn't look as thick as yours but we followed the recipe. What could be the problem

Chef John said...

Sorry, but I have no idea! I got at least 10 photos sent from people that had success attempts, so I know the recipe amounts are correct. That yours was "thinner" suggests a measuring problem. But really no way to tell unless I saw what you did. Watch the video again, and see which step looked different, and compare to what you did.

TVAN said...

Such a neat idea. Definitely gonna try. Is it possible for you to do a video making Blood Orange Cheesecake? Haven't had any luck finding a good recipe.

sporty mädchen said...

Just made these tonight! So easy and fun!

choral singer said...

I noticed your recipe is nearly identical to another one from a famous french chef (doubled amount), except for the amount of butter. Yours is double the amount in the other recipe. I split the difference and they came out great. Can you tell us if you add more butter for a particular reason? I'm making these for an "iron chef" party this weekend.

Chef John said...

no reason, that's just the recipe i like! :)

TVAN said...

Can you do a video for Blood Orange Cheesecake?

Rick said...

I can't even describe how happy these make my wife. I'll begin with I don't make swans, the regular puffs do it for her.

My first batch came out absolutely perfect and the next two were bitter disappointments. As soon a as they came out oft the oven they collapsed. I know now that they fell because they werent fully cooked and as such I'm back on track and in good graces with the misses.

I did discover a neat little trick along the way. The dough is so sticky that getting into the corner of a freezer bag was tough. The stuff just seemed to stick to the sides of the bag and didn't want to leave the spatula. I figured out that I can just slop it in the bag and run the blade of a pastry scraper on the outside of the bag to to push it into position with no waste at all. And, by setting a finger I can make adjustments to the dough I piped onto the baking sheet. I'm sure there's a pun in there somewhere!

Thank you Chef John.

Joshua Sherman said...

Hi, this recipe is great, except I found my birds a little too small for what amount of dough I got out of this recipe. I'd recommend doubling if you want very large and impressive birds to show off to mama.

passionatewriter said...

When you say oz, do you mean it in volume or mass?

Chef John said...

choc is mass, and cream is the same either way!

Dayna H said...

Chef John, I made these tonight (couldn't help myself!), and I found myself using milk chocolate instead of dark chocolate (as it was what was on hand).

My ganache did not turn out fluffy/creamy like yours! After continuous mixing, it wound up as a kind of runny, thin consistency.

Do you know if this was due to the wrong chocolate or perhaps I measured incorrectly, or maybe I didn't mix it long enough? Any help would be great- otherwise they came out fabulously!

Joyce P said...

I need to make 300 of these for an event (Yikes) Could I freeze the cream puffs and then defrost and fill? BTW, your voice over and directions on the video was very easy to understand and amusing--loved it!

The temp and time to bake is listed in his blog and he mentions it during the video--people, read carefully and listen up--such a beautiful dessert and he explains it in an easy to understand method--Thank you!!

Chef John said...

You can freeze, but they get kind of soggy! This is a tough thing to do for that many, even for a professional baker!

Chef John said...

You can freeze, but they get kind of soggy! This is a tough thing to do for that many, even for a professional baker!

Joyce Phui said...

Could I order these from you Chef John? I'm in SF! I need them for an event on 9/20. Please help! :)Let me know if you're able to do it or know anyone that could! Thanks so much!

Chef John said...

Sorry, catering is too hard! ;)
I don't know anyone, but any decent bakery can make them.

Rachel Page said...

Thank you for sharing all your lovely recipes, Chef John. I really enjoy trying out your recipes and savoring the end results! :-)