These choux pastry swans are great fun to serve at a family buffet – the kids will love them.
- For the choux pastry
- 75g (2½oz) plain flour
- 1 level tsp caster sugar
- Pinch of salt
- 60g (2oz) butter
- 2 large eggs, beaten
- For the sauce
- 30g (1oz) cocoa powder
- 75g (2½oz) granulated sugar
- For the filling
- 150ml (¼ pint) double or whipping cream
- Large piping bag fitted with a 3/8in plain nozzle
- 2 baking sheets, rinsed under cold water and dusted with flour, or lined with Bakewell paper
Set the oven to gas mark 6 or 200°C. On one baking sheet, or on the Bakewell paper, draw eight figure 2s, about 7.5cm (3in) high. On the other baking sheet, or paper, draw eight 7.5cm (3in) lengths.
To make the pastry: Sift flour, sugar and salt on to a piece of paper to make it easier to add quickly. Cut butter into chunks and put in a medium, non-stick pan with 150ml (¼ pint) water. Heat gently until butter has melted, then bring to the boil and quickly tip in the flour. Take off heat and beat well, then put back on to heat until mixture forms a ball and leaves sides of pan. Cool for 2 mins. Add half the egg and beat well, then keep adding more egg, beating with a wooden spoon to make a smooth, glossy paste.
Spoon about a third of the pastry into the piping bag fitted with the nozzle. Pipe over the figure-2 shapes and, rather than cutting the pastry free at the end of the figure, just pull it away gradually until it breaks. Bake for 15 mins, above centre of oven.
Squeeze out excess pastry from bag into the pan with rest of mixture. Using a dessertspoon, make oval shapes along the straight lines on the baking sheet or paper. Bake for 25-30 mins above centre of oven. Take out, make a small slit in side of each oval, then return to oven for 5 mins more to crisp and dry them. Leave them on a wire rack to cool.
To make the sauce: Put the cocoa and sugar into a large pan. Measure out 300ml (½ pint) hot water and add some to the cocoa to make a paste, then add rest and stir over a low heat until sugar has dissolved completely. Bring to the boil for about 10 mins to make a light syrup. Pour into a bowl; leave to cool.
To assemble swans: Using a serrated knife, cut each choux body in half horizontally. Cut top half lengthways to form wings. Whip cream until it just holds its shape, adding a little sugar if you like. Spoon cream into the bottom half of body. Press a swan’s neck into each body, then press the wings in at an angle. Arrange on a serving plate and spoon a little chocolate sauce over each swan. Pour rest of sauce into a jug and serve separately. Make the swans on the day they are to be eaten.
The recipe was originally featured in a 1982 issue of Woman's Weekly, so they've got a touch of retro chic!