Friday, 25 May 2012

Profiterole Swans!

Exam is now unofficially over. Unofficial in the sense that I still have one more paper to go next Friday but it doesn't require any revision on my part since it's about data interpretation. What a relief! I was on the verge of a mental breakdown yesterday after spending the last 2 months revising for the four papers that I have just sat for over the last week. Anyway I promised myself I'd bake something today and so I did. I made profiterole swans, or, swans made out of profiteroles, filled with whipped cream. The profiteroles weren't perfect because this is my first time baking them in specific piped shapes so I literally had to rely on my baker's instinct to decide when to take them out. The creme patissiere that I initially wanted to use was good when I made it but turned too solid after I refrigerated them. Not sure if it's meant to be like that. The whipped cream turned out over-whipped as well and I think I'll go with double cream instead of 'whipping' cream next time since ironically double cream has higher fat content and should be better for whipping. Overall, a little disappointing but the swans looked good nevertheless. Or shall I leave that to you to judge?

Lesson learned:

1. If in doubt, I'd rather over-bake my profiteroles than under-baking them, as they would give me deflated profiteroles, certainly no good for presentation.
2. Try using double cream the next time instead of 'whipping cream' as the former has higher fat content so should whip up better.

I feel like making these one more time but that'd be a little excessive for a post-exam frenzy I reckon. :D

P/S: I will include the recipe the next time I make them as I wasn't happy enough with the result this time. Watch this space.


So the first thing I did today was to grab myself a pint of double cream and I am happy to announce that the whipped cream disaster yesterday was NOT my fault, as there was no way I could have whipped the 'whipping cream' to stiff peaks, due to its lower fat content compared to double cream, the latter is meant for making pipable whipped cream. I also managed to combine the whipped cream with the remaining creme patissiere/pastry cream from yesterday to make creme diplomat to fill the three extra profiteroles that I made. They, tasted, good! Would have been perfect to go with my swans. Anyway now that I've got the filling sorted I will hopefully be able to make some perfect profiterole swans next time.

- I'm writing this in retrospect. I came across a French Classic challenge for food bloggers organised by Jen who's the owner of the beautifully designed Blue Kitchen Bakes and thought I'd take part in it with these profiterole swans I've made earlier in summer. Feel free to check out Jen's website as well as she's got lots of original recipes and challenges that you can take part in!

Profiterole recipe:

Preheat oven to 180C.

65ml of water
65ml of milk
55g of butter
75g of flour
2 whole eggs, beaten

1. Melt butter with water and milk in a saucepan.
2. Take off heat and stir in butter.
3. Cook the dough until patina forms at the bottom of the pan. (Patina is the film of dough that sticks at the bottom).
4. Turn the dough out into a mixing bowl. Stir for 15 minutes to cool the dough down.
5. Add the eggs half at a time, mixing vigorously. The dough will look curdled when you add the egg and that's normal.
6.  The batter should be very smooth and drips from the spatula sluggishly.
7. Transfer into a piping bag and pipe at an angle on parchment papers to avoid the tips on top. Smooth them out with your wet fingers if you wish.
8. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or longer depending on the shape and size that you've piped.

Again, I always use these timing as a rough guide, I tend to rely more on my previous experience and learn to judge when the things I bake are ready. For profiteroles you really ought to bake them well, as they deflate quickly if you under-bake them. The way I judge is to allow them to bake for 5 minutes longer after they have attained the desired golden colour. Remember to make a tiny hole at the bottom of the profiteroles after taking them out of the oven to let the extra steam escape.

For the swan contructs, type in 'Pate a choux swans' on youtube and you should get a few fairly good tutorials on the shape you need to pipe. It's more helpful to watch how it's done than for me to describe it in words.

For the filling:

In a chilled bowl, whip 100ml of double cream to stiff peaks. Pipe into your profiteroles.

Alternatively you could also mix the whipped cream with creme patissiere (pastry cream) to make creme diplomat, which will have more 'body' to it compared to plain whipped cream.

Creme Patissiere recipe:

60g sugar (2/3 in yolks, 1/3 in milk)
3 yolks
12.5g flour
12.5g cornstarch
250ml milk
Vanilla essence

Whisk in 2/3 of the sugar, flour, cornstarch and vanilla essence into the yolks. Bring milk to a scald and temper the yolks slowly. Pour the yolk-milk mixture into the saucepan and bring to a boil while whisking constantly. Keep whisking for a further 1 minute. Pour into a bowl with cling film touching the surface of the creme patissiere and leave to cool in the fridge. Whisk the pastry cream before use.

Have you made profiteroles from scratch before? How did it go? Have you come across any other interesting ways to present an otherwise plain looking profiterole that tastes a hundred times better than it looks?


  1. These are really impressive! Well done:)

  2. Cheers Miss Kimbers. If only I could ask the manufacturer to stop putting such deceptive label, i.e; whipping cream, on a product that isn't that 'whippable'.

  3. Hi these look great, if you want to enter them into my Classic French challenge please can you update the post to include the challenge logo and a link back to my blog please?

    1. Hi Jen I've just updated my blog entry. Sorry for taking so long I have been really busy with work! Thanks for organising the challenge by the way it was nice to see all the other entries on your blog too!


Comments and feedback are what keep me going! I'd always be happy to help you with questions you have regarding the recipes in my entries.