Swans with White Chocolate Mousse
These decorative cream puff swans are quite simple to make, and the white chocolate mousse filling is delicious. If making the swans is intimidating, simply form the cream puff dough into round puffs or long éclairs. The cream puffs, mousse, raspberry sauce, and crème anglaise may be made up to 2 days in advance. Refrigerate the sauces, tightly covered. The swans must be assembled just prior to serving.
- Cream Puff Dough
- Water - 1/2 cup
- Milk - 1/2 cup
- Unsalted Butter - 1/2 cup (1 stick)
- Salt - 3/4 teaspoon
- Granulated Sugar - 1-1/2 teaspoons
- All-Purpose Flour - 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon
- Eggs - 3
- White Chocolate Mousse
- White Chocolate - 1-1/2 pounds, chopped
- Unflavored gelatin - 1 envelope
- Amaretto Liqueur - 2 tablespoons
- Eggs - 4
- Egg Yolks - 4
- Heavy (whipping) cream - 3 cups
- White Chocolate - 6-1/2 ounces, chilled
- Fresh or thawed frozen unsweetened raspberries - 1 cup
- Granulated Sugar - 1 tablespoon
- Fresh lemon juice - 1 tablespoon
- Confectioner’s sugar for dusting
- Fresh Raspberries - 24
- Mint leaves - 8
To make the cream puffs: Preheat the oven to 325 F. Combine the water, milk, butter, salt, and sugar in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Remove the pan from the heat and add the flour all at once. Stir quickly to combine and return the pan to the heat. Cook, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until the mixture forms a ball and leaves a film on the bottom of a pan. Scrape the mixture into a large bowl and beat in the eggs, one at a time.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or lightly butter it. Spoon some of the dough into a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2-inch star tip. Pipe the dough into 24 teardrop shapes, 2 inches apart, at one end of the prepared pan to form the bodies of the swans. Place the remaining dough in a parchment cone with a snipped tip or another pastry bag fitted with a small round tip. To make the necks and heads of the swans, pipe 30 long S-shapes with an oval at one end at the other end of the pan; you will need extra neck/heads since they are very fragile and some may break in assembling the swans. Bake the puffs in the preheated oven for 20 minutes, or until puffed and lightly browned. Set aside and let cool.
To make the mousse: Melt the white chocolate in a bowl over a pan of barely simmering water, stirring until smooth; set aside. Sprinkle the gelatin over the Amaretto in a cup. Place the eggs and the egg yolks in a medium bowl, then place the bowl over a pan of simmering water. Beat the eggs and egg yolks until they are warmed through. Remove the eggs from the heat, add the gelatin mixture, and whisk to combine. Whisk in the melted white chocolate, and set aside.
In a deep bowl, whip the cream until stiff peaks form. Fold the whipped cream into the white chocolate mixture. Cover and chill the mousse until set.
To assemble: Cut each swan body in half horizontally and pull out any cooked dough, leaving only the crisp shell. Cut each top in half lengthwise to form the wings. Place the mousse in a pastry bag fitted with a fluted tip and pipe the mousse into the bottom part of the shell, forming the body of the swan. Use the base of mousse to anchor the heat and neck piece of pastry in each. Add the wings, turning the browner side to the inside. Pipe more mousse between the wings and over the bases of the necks.
To make the garnish: Chop 2-1/2 ounces of the white chocolate and melt it in a bowl over a pan of barely simmering water, stirring until smooth. Let cool slightly. Put the melted chocolate in a squeeze bottle. Shave the remaining 4 ounces of white chocolate with a vegetable peeler. Combine the raspberries, sugar, and lemon juice in a blender or food processor and puree. Strain the raspberry sauce through a fine-meshed sieve.
To serve: Fill the inside of each plate with the raspberry puree. Pipe a design with white chocolate around the perimeter of the raspberry sauce. Place two or three swans on each plate, head to had. Top the mousse with white chocolate shavings to resemble feathers, then dust with confectioner’s sugar. Arrange fresh raspberries and mint leaves on each plate.