Swan Eclairs with Lemon Crème Pâtissière
1 hour 15 minutes
What you need for the choux paste éclairs
- ¾ cup (180 ml) water
- ½ cup (112 g) unsalted butter
- ¼ cup (60 ml) whole or 2% milk
- 1 tsp (4 g) Redpath® Granulated Sugar
- 1 tsp (6 g) fine sea salt
- 1 cup (120 g) bread flour, sifted
- 3 to 4 large eggs
What you need for the lemon crème pâtissière
- 1 ¼ cup + ½ cup (300 ml + 120 ml) heavy cream
- 1 cup (240 ml) whole milk
- ½ cup + ¼ cup (100 g + 50 g) Redpath® Granulated Sugar
- 2 tbsp (8 g) lemon zest (about 2 lemons)
- 1 vanilla bean, split and scraped
- 5 large egg yolks
- ¼ cup (34 g) cornstarch
- ½ tsp (3 g) fine sea salt
- 3 tbsp (42 g) unsalted butter, cold
- 2 tbsp (30 ml) lemon juice
How to prepare the choux paste eclairs
- Pre-heat oven to 425℉ (220℃). On a sheet of parchment paper draw 8 elongated S-shapes about 3 inches (7.5 centimeters) in length. On a separate sheet draw 8 circles 2 inches (5 centimeters) in diameter. Turn the sheets over and use them to line 2 large baking sheets.
- In a heavy bottomed saucepan place the water, butter, milk, Redpath® Granulated Sugar and salt. Set over medium-high heat and allow the butter to melt and the mixture to then come to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and add the flour all at once. Stir mixture vigorously with a wooden spoon until dough forms a loose, shiny ball and pulls away from the sides, 3 to 4 minutes.
- Place dough in the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and mix on medium-low speed for 3 minutes. Begin adding the eggs one at a time, waiting until each is fully incorporated before adding the next. After three eggs, stop and check the consistency of the choux paste. The paste should be smooth and moist, forming a long, stretchy peak when the paddle is lifted. If paste is too thick, mix in the fourth egg.
- Place ½ cup (120 ml) of the choux paste in a piping bag fitted with a ¼ inch (6 mm) plain round tip; place the rest in a separate pastry bag fitted with a large open star tip (we used Ateco #827).
- Following the S shapes on the parchment, pipe 8 necks with the plain pastry tip. On one end of each neck pipe a …œ inch (1 centimeter) circle, pulling downwards to create a small pointed beak.
- To pipe the bodies hold the bag with the star tip about ½ inch (1 centimeters) above one of the traced circles. Squeeze until there is a circle of choux paste about 1 ½ inch (3.8 centimeters) diameter, then pull the bag about 1 inch (2.5 centimeters) below the circle to create an elongated tail; repeat for all 8 circles.
- Place the bodies in the oven and bake for 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to 350 ? (180?) and cook for 25 minutes. Place the tray with the necks in with the bodies and bake both for 10 more minutes. The heads and necks should be golden brown and feel dry to the touch. Remove and set trays on a rack to cool completely.
How to prepare the lemon crème pâtissière
- In a medium heavy saucepan combine 1 ¼ cup (300 ml) heavy cream, milk, ½ cup (100 g) Redpath ® Granulated Sugar, lemon zest, vanilla seeds and vanilla pod. Over medium heat bring to barely steaming, then remove from heat, cover and set aside for 20 minutes to steep.
- In a medium bowl whisk well to combine the egg yolks, cornstarch, salt, and ¼ cup (50 g) Redpath ® Granulated Sugar.
- Reheat the milk mixture to hot (but not simmering). Using a ladle slowly add the hot cream to the egg yolk mixture about ½ cup (120 ml) at a time while whisking continuously. Once all the cream mixture has been added, return to the saucepan. Cook, stirring continuously until mixture has thickened, 2 -3 minutes. Immediately push crème p tissière through a fine sieve. Stir in butter, followed by the lemon juice. Place a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the crème p tissière and allow to cool to room temperature, then chill in refrigerator.
- Using a whisk or electric mixer whip ½ cup (120 ml) heavy cream to soft peaks. Whisk the crème p tissière to stir until smooth and gently fold the whipped cream. Place the crème p tissière in a large piping bag fitted with a plain ½ inch (1 centimeter) tip and chill until ready to pipe into swans.
How to assemble swan éclairs
- Cut the top half of the swan bodies off, angling the cut downwards slightly from front to back. Cut the top piece vertically in half to create the wings.
- Angle the piping tip towards the front of the body and pipe the cream into the cavity in circles, filling the body so that the crème p tissière rises about an ½ inch (1 centimeter) above the edge (each swan will need about ¼ - ? of cream to fill it). Place one neck in the front centre of the cream and place the wings gently on either side of the neck. Serve immediately.
- Swan éclairs are best served immediately but unfilled éclairs and crème patissière will keep for up to 3 days in separate airtight containers in the refrigerator. Before serving crisp the éclairs in a 400℉ (200℃) oven for 5 minutes. Cool and continue with assembly as directed.