Cygnes Is French For Éclair Swans

by Caterina Borg, Good Food Gourmet on February 16, 2013

eclair swansSwans are one of the most majestic members of the waterfowl family, and this adorable little dessert captures their beauty and elegance. The necks and the bodies are made from éclair dough (choux paste) and piped out and baked, then put together once they have cooled. They make stunning desserts for individually plated desserts, and if you make them slightly smaller, they are a beautiful addition to a mini pastry platter.

The most difficult part is mastering the piping, so once you get that part right, you will be able to make them in your sleep. For the bodies, I like to use a large scallop tip that ends in a slight point to represent the tail. The necks are made with a coupler set and a small round decorating tip. You can pipe out the necks in a variety of different shapes, depending on which one you like. I prefer the classic one with the head down, but you can do others too…

The good thing about éclair dough is that it is very forgiving…so make a batch and practice your piping. If you aren’t happy with it, just scrape the dough off the parchment paper and back into your pastry bag and start again!

These little beauties are well worth the effort…

Éclair Swans (choux swans)
1 recipe éclair dough
1- 12” pastry bag
1 large scalloped decorating tip
1-8” pastry bag
1 coupler set
1 small round decorating tip
Jam  of your choice or ganache **optional
Sweetened whipped cream

Add the scalloped tip to your large pastry bag and the coupler set with the small round tip to the smaller pastry bag.  Make the éclair dough and place a few tablespoons into the small bag and set aside. Pipe out the bodies first, like this and bake them at 350°F about 30 minutes until golden brown.

piping out the bodies of eclair swans using a large scalloped decorating tip

baked eclair swan bodies

Then pipe out the necks and make sure to make them even or they will bake with brown spots in the thinner sections. Pick a design from the ones below to pipe out, or do a little of each of them, especially if you are presenting a few on a plate…

style 1, eclair swan neck

style 2, eclair swan neck

style 3, eclair swan neck

This one is my favorite…

style 4, eclair swan neck

The necks are only baked until set, and should really not take on too much color, so keep that in mind.  Once you have piped out all of the necks, bake at 350°F also, but for about 10 minutes or so, until they are set to the touch.

bake eclair swan necks until they are set to the touch

Once cool, cut the bodies carefully in half, and spread on some jam or chocolate ganache if you like.

cut the eclair swan bodies in half and add a little jam or ganache

Place the bottom part of the bodies on your serving plate so that you don’t have to transfer everything over once they have been put together. Pipe out some sweetened whipped cream and then add the necks carefully. Lastly add the wings and dust with powdered sugar.

Add some sweetened whipped cream

cut the top part of the eclair body in half and they become the wings

add the eclair dough necks to the swans and then add the wings

eclair swans

add the eclair swans to white chocolate custard, topped with a chocolate lake in a martini glass for an elegant dessert


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