Baking | Filled Pate a Choux Swans – Daring Bakers, Ugly Ducklings and Swans

“I believe that every human has a finite number of heartbeats and I don’t intend to waste any of mine.”
Neil Armstrong

Filled Pate a Choux SwansWhen the pastry turned from ugly ducklings into swans it was definitely an ‘almost missed a heartbeat’ moment!  Ever since I got these gorgeous glasses from Urban Dazzle, I thought coffee filled pate-a-choux drizzled with melted chocolate would look beautiful in them! Fancy getting to the Daring Bakers rather late this month, and finding one of the easiest pastries ever but with a delightful challenge woven in –  Filled Pate a 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!

 Filled Pate a Choux SwansIt was a strange coincidence that I’d been thinking choux pastry the last few weeks and knew I HAD to make the swans even though they did look a little formidable. My only concern was the pastry creme filling, given the hot and humid weather these days. However, the month passed in a heartbeat {what is it with time these days?} and the challenge got left behind!Filled Pate a Choux SwansThen 2 days ago at Veda for a Delhi Bloggers Table meet, the very talented and sweet {wickedly so if I may add} food blogger and fellow Daring Baker Ruchira fished out a pastry bag clandestinely and whispered, “Have got these. How much do I snip to get the necks right? Mine are just not piping OK!”Monsoons in IndiaYou need a trigger sometimes … sometimes stronger than Mr PABs persistent prod when he doesn’t see a show stopper by the 25th of any month. This was it! The next evening it was choux pastry time, done in minutes by the ever efficient Thermomix! The weather has been REALLY drippy and wet the past week, and all of last night too {the pic above is from this morning}. Humidity is HIGH … and crisp pastry proved elusive.Filled Pate a Choux SwansThe arty daughter decided to pipe a few swan necks too, and got the one that looks the best! See…Filled Pate a Choux Swans Made the pastry cream last night {Thermomix again, 7 minutes and done} … and just as my DB alarm rings out loud on my phone, I am hitting the keyboard while the pictures download! Breathless as always, so much to do and so little time … but I got there! Thank you for the inspiration Ruchira @ Cookaroo!Filled Pate a Choux SwansI loved the way these came out … whimsical, charming, romantic like a fairytale! Much like the ugly duckling story we read when we were little. I would have liked to whip some home made mascarpone that I had left over into the pastry cream, but there was no time!Filled Pate a Choux SwansFilled Pate a Choux SwansPate a choux is one of the simplest and lightest pastries to make – think chooclate eclairs, think Croquembouche, think profiteroles, think cream, puffs or think gougères. One delightful, light as air, crisp golden puff and so much variety. I love that you need very basic ingredients, a strong arm and you are good to go!Filled Pate a Choux SwansThe Thermomix Cookbook had a choux recipe in there, so my work was easy! The tough part was the waiting to see if the necks came out good, if the piped out ‘poopy‘ shapes made the ugly ducklings into swans, if the crème patisserie  would hold. Worked a charm! The swans remind me of Tchaikovskys Ugly Duckling … a ballet we attached on TV several times as kids; the LP would play forever at home!

Thank you Katand thank you as always Lisa of La Mia Cucina and Ivonne of Cream Puffs in Venice for hosting this fab kitchen!! Do stop by here and check out some more fabulous swan songs!!!

[print_this]Recipe: Filled Pate a Choux Swans
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Summary: Light as air p’pate a choux swans filled with a crème patisserie. Choux recipe source: Good Housekeeping Illustrated Guide to Cooking, 1980 edition. Crème patisserie recipe source adapted from Thermomix Cookbook

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour {plus cooling time}

  • 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
  • Crème patisserie
  • 75g raw sugar {or granulated
  • 1/2 vanilla bean, scraped
  • 200ml low fat cream
  • 300ml 2% milk
  • 4 eggs
  • 40g cornflour


  1. Pate a choux
  2. Line at least two baking sheets with silicone mats or parchment paper, or grease pans well.
  3. Preheat oven to moderately hot 190°C.
  4. In a small saucepan, combine butter, water, and salt. Heat over until butter melts, then remove from stove.
  5. Add flour all at once and beat, beat, beat the mixture until the dough pulls away from the sides of the pot.
  6. 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.
  7. Thermomix Recipe
  8. Place water, salt, sugar and butter in TM bowl and cook at 100C /Speed 2 for 10 minutes.
    Add the flour and mix for 30 seconds on speed 4. Allow to cool for around 10 minutes.
    Once cool, add eggs to the mix by dropping one egg at a time onto rotating blades for 30-40 seconds each on speed 5.
  9. … the choux swans
  10. 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.
  11. Remove the tip from the bag and pipe out 36 swan bodies{ I got about 28}. 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.
  12. Bake the heads and bodies until golden and puffy. {I baked the heads and bodies in separate lots}. The heads will be done a few minutes before the bodies, so keep a close eye on the baking process.
  13. Remove the pastries to a cooling rack, and let cool completely before filling
  14. Crème patisserie
  15. In the meantime, whisk the egg yolks and sugar with a wooden spoon in a big bowl until the mixture becomes pale and light. Stir in the flour slowly until it is thoroughly mixed with the egg mixture.
  16. Pour the boiling milk into the mixture a little by little while whisking continuously to avoid curdling. And then stir in the rest of the milk until the mixture is well combined.
  17. Transfer the whole mixture into a pot, with the seeds scraped from the vanilla bean, and heat it under low setting. Stir it constantly with the wooden spoon or spatula scraping the sides and bottom until it has thickened.
  18. Once the custard has thickened, take it off the heat, and strain / pour it into a clean bowl.
  19. Thermomix Recipe
  20. Place sugar and vanilla bean in TM bowl, and process for 30seconds on speed 10.
  21. Add remaining ingrdeints, plus vanilla bean shell and cook on 90C/Speed 4 for 7 minutes {until thick}. Strain into a bowl immediately to cool. I chilled it overnight.
  22. Assembling
  23. 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.
  24. Dollop a bit of filling into the body, insert head, and then add wings. {I used some pastry cream to secure the wings too}.
  25. 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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Also find me on The Rabid Baker, The Times of India
Thank you Sparkah for including Passionate About Baking in this list –  Top 100 Food Bloggers You Should Cater To And Treat to Expensive Pu Ehr Tea.

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About me: I am a freelance food writer, recipe developer and photographer. Food is my passion - baking, cooking, developing recipes, making recipes healthier, using fresh seasonal produce and local products, keeping a check on my carbon footprint and being a responsible foodie! I enjoy food styling, food photography, recipe development and product reviews. I express this through my food photographs which I style and the recipes I blog. My strength lies in 'Doing Food From Scratch'; it must taste as good as it looks, and be healthy too. Baking in India, often my biggest challenge is the non-availability of baking ingredients, and this has now become a platform to get creative on. I enjoy cooking immensely as well.


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