These chocolate ganache-filled cream puff swans would be a great way to say thanks to your mother for that whole giving-you-life thing. I think once she tastes them, she'll agree that it was all worth it after all. Make more swan 'heads' so that you have extra in case one breaks.

Recipe Summary

prep:
45 mins
cook:
25 mins
additional:
1 hr
total:
2 hrs 10 mins
Servings:
8
Yield:
8 cream puffs
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Ingredients

8
Original recipe yields 8 servings
The ingredient list now reflects the servings specified
Pâte à Choux (Cream Puff Dough):
Ganache:
Cream:

Directions

Instructions Checklist
  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C). Line 2 baking sheets with silicone baking mats.

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  • Stir water, butter, 1 teaspoon white sugar, and salt together in a pot; bring to a simmer. Add flour and stir with a wooden spoon until mixture pulls away from the sides of the pot and forms a thick, paste-like dough. Remove from heat and let cool for 10 to 15 minutes.

  • Stir eggs into dough one at a time, mixing until egg is completely incorporated after each addition. Transfer 2/3 the dough to a large resealable plastic bag. Cut corner of the bag away, about 1/2-inch wide, to form an opening through which to pipe the dough.

  • Pipe 8 tapered ovals of dough onto the prepared baking sheet to form the 'swan bodies', pulling up at the tapered end to form the 'tail/wingtips'.

  • Bake in preheated oven until golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes.

  • While the 'swan bodies' are baking, fill a smaller bag with with the remaining 1/3 the dough; cut a small tip from the corner. Pipe out S-shapes to form the swan 'necks'. At the top of each S, pipe out more dough to form the swan 'heads'.

  • When the 'bodies' are halfway cooked, bake the 'necks' in the oven together with the swan 'bodies' oven until golden brown, 10 to 12 minutes.

  • Turn off the oven, open the oven door slightly, and let pastries cool completely.

  • Cut the top 1/3 off of each swan body horizontally, from fatter end to tapered end. Cut each top in half to form the 'wings'.

  • Place chocolate in a heat-proof bowl. Bring 4 ounces heavy cream to a boil in a small saucepan. Pour hot cream over chocolate and whisk until chocolate is completely melted and ganache is shiny and smooth. Spoon or pipe chocolate ganache into the base of each swan 'body'.

  • Beat 1 cup cold cream in a chilled glass or metal bowl with an electric mixer until soft peaks form. Add 1 tablespoon sugar and vanilla extract, continuing to beat until stiff peaks form. Transfer whipped cream into a piping bag with a star tip.

  • Pipe cream to fill each swan 'body', piping up and out the top to resemble swan 'feathers'. Place 'wings' on each side of the 'body' sticking up out of the cream, and place 'neck' in the base of each swan. Refrigerate until chilled. Dust with confectioners' sugar.

Nutrition Facts

335 calories; protein 4.1g 8% DV; carbohydrates 18.2g 6% DV; fat 27.9g 43% DV; cholesterol 122.7mg 41% DV; sodium 55.9mg 2% DV. Full Nutrition

Reviews (24)

Read More Reviews

Most helpful positive review

Rating: 5 stars
05/12/2014
Made a double batch of these. They were super easy. I was new at piping out dough in this fashion so I want sure just how much to do. I could have made the bodies larger but they worked out great still. I ended up with a lot of extra ganache and whipped cream but that is likely because I didn't make big enough swans. I'd hardly call having extra chocolate and whipped cream in the house a problem though. Assembly was simple and in the end made for a big hit at dessert. I will do again! Also I don't have silicone mats so used parchment and had no problems at all. Read More
(11)

Most helpful critical review

Rating: 3 stars
12/30/2016
I have to make it again. They collapsed on me. Let me first say that taste wise, they were great. Two things I should have done, I think are these: 1. mix the eggs and dough longer and 2. Lower the temperature to 350 after ten minutes for 20 more minutes. I took them out when 20 minutes passed because of the color; they looked great. I even pricked them with a toothpick (a clean one, thank you) to let the heat out, but they fell, as did my heart. But let me review the components I used: the pate a chou was made exactly as Chef John (who I love) recommended. The filling was a simple custard package with cream and was lovely. And, the ganache was just as Chef John said. Now, I realize that no recipe will re create the joy that my hubby felt when his mom (now a celestial chef) made them for his birthday. Even if they are better, they aren't from his mom. So, to satisfy my chemistry perfectionistic compulsions and to try to create an 'almost' mom like puff, I shall try again. Hope springs eternal. Read More
(4)
33 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 23
  • 4 star values: 9
  • 3 star values: 1
  • 2 star values: 0
  • 1 star values: 0
Rating: 5 stars
05/12/2014
Made a double batch of these. They were super easy. I was new at piping out dough in this fashion so I want sure just how much to do. I could have made the bodies larger but they worked out great still. I ended up with a lot of extra ganache and whipped cream but that is likely because I didn't make big enough swans. I'd hardly call having extra chocolate and whipped cream in the house a problem though. Assembly was simple and in the end made for a big hit at dessert. I will do again! Also I don't have silicone mats so used parchment and had no problems at all. Read More
(11)
Rating: 5 stars
02/14/2017
These were great. I filled them with a strawberry whipped cream—I ground up about 1/2 cup freeze-dried strawberries in the food processor with the sugar, adding it when the cream was softly whipped. Next time, I might make a 1.5x batch of the pate a choux, so that I’d have eight perfect swan bodies and enough for plain ol’ cream puffs. The swan bodies I piped were about the size of Italian plums; they do puff up nicely. I pricked the bodies at the head end with a skewer about three-quarters of the way through the bake time so the insides would dry out somewhat. Loved these! Really quite easy, once you get the piping down. Oh, and I made the swan components the night before, and filled right before serving so they didn’t get soggy. Read More
(10)
Rating: 5 stars
12/09/2016
Turned out great. We made 4 batches of these and they were a hit at our party. Some people said the swans were too pretty to eat. Will make again. Read More
(4)
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Rating: 5 stars
05/09/2014
Chef John wins again! I made them with my 10 year old and we had a blast! I was so excited I sent my mom a picture! Read More
(4)
Rating: 3 stars
12/29/2016
I have to make it again. They collapsed on me. Let me first say that taste wise, they were great. Two things I should have done, I think are these: 1. mix the eggs and dough longer and 2. Lower the temperature to 350 after ten minutes for 20 more minutes. I took them out when 20 minutes passed because of the color; they looked great. I even pricked them with a toothpick (a clean one, thank you) to let the heat out, but they fell, as did my heart. But let me review the components I used: the pate a chou was made exactly as Chef John (who I love) recommended. The filling was a simple custard package with cream and was lovely. And, the ganache was just as Chef John said. Now, I realize that no recipe will re create the joy that my hubby felt when his mom (now a celestial chef) made them for his birthday. Even if they are better, they aren't from his mom. So, to satisfy my chemistry perfectionistic compulsions and to try to create an 'almost' mom like puff, I shall try again. Hope springs eternal. Read More
(4)
Rating: 5 stars
01/01/2016
Just made these, super easy and very yummy! I have not made cream puff dough before and it was beyond easy. THANK YOU! Read More
(3)
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Rating: 5 stars
02/15/2017
Wonderful, my heads looked more like dinosaurs, but it's a learning curve. I used sweet German chocolate instead of dark, and I whisked it to thicken slightly. Read More
(3)
Rating: 5 stars
05/12/2014
I made these for Mother's Day. They were delicious. My necks were not as good as Chef Johns that was my error however. I had some butterscotch syrup on hand so I put that in on top of the chocolate ganache. Oh yeah Mom loved them. Read More
(2)
Rating: 4 stars
10/11/2015
My 10 year old made these into turkey's for Thanskgiving! Lots of fun. Had a bit of trouble with the dough - cook it a few minutes after you mix in the flour in one shot (not gradually). And would probably do better with regular size eggs (we used large and the dough was runny). Read More
(2)