Your taste buds will think they’re swimming in heaven when you introduce them to this dessert. Katy Reddick, the pastry chef at the Downtown Fairmont Hotel’s Pyramid Room was inspired by a famous French pastry – the swan – for this dessert, which is part of the hotel’s “The Twelve Days of Christmas” dinner.
“It is well worth the hunt to find the swan diagram,” says Reddick. “The design of the pate choux makes the entire dessert unforgettable.”
The Pyramid Room at the Fairmont Hotel will feature the cuisine of chef Jean Lafont for a special five-course Christmas dinner with the Seven Swans-a-Swimming as the grand finale. To recognize the unique nature of the feast and to celebrate the holidays, guest are encouraged to dress in Victorian England-period costume.
Dinners will be held Dec. 14-24, Monday through Saturday evenings only. The evening’s music will also reflect the holiday season.
Indulgent? Perhaps. “But if not at Christmas time, then when?” asks Reddick.
(Makes 4 swans)
Pate choux (eclair dough):
4 cups water
20 oz. bread flour
8 oz. butter
In a 4-quart heavy saucepot, bring the water and butter to a boil. Reduce heat to low. To the mix, add the flour all at once and mix well with a large wooden spoon until the dough comes away from the sides of the pot. Transfer the dough to an electric mixer with a paddle, and add the eggs, one at a time, mixing vigorously as each egg is added. (You will need to obtain a piping diagram of a swan to accomplish the recipe. Most French pastry cookbooks include a swan diagram.)
For the piping, use a pastry bag with a No. 7 or No. 8 star tip. Bake at 375 degrees for approximately 30 minutes. To check the pate choux, pick up the bottom and tap it. If the dough sounds hollow, it’s done.
Make each mousse, and pipe or rosette it into the cavity of the swan by cutting off the back of the swan with a sharp serrated knife. Chill all mousses before piping. Cut the back piece into two pieces to make the wings.
Dark Chocolate Mousse
Melt 11 oz. dark chocolate over a double boiler. Add ½ cup heavy cream and blend. Remove from heat, and cool to room temperature. Whip 3 cups heavy cream to a soft peak. Fold in whipped cream.
White Chocolate Mousse
½ cup cream
16 oz. white chocolate
3 cups cream
Follow the same procedure for Dark Chocolate Mousse.
Milk Chocolate Mousse
½ cup cream
14 oz. milk chocolate
3 cups cream
Follow same procedure for Dark Chocolate Mousse.
Herbaceous Red Wine Cherry Sauce
2 cinnamon sticks
4 whole cloves
1 bottle red wine (Cabernet or Merlot)
2 ½ cups sugar
1 15 oz. can sour cherries
4 T. corn starch
6 T. water
4 T. cream
In a 4-quart pot, add cinnamon sticks, cloves, wine and sugar. Simmer until reduced by a third. Drain cherries, and add juice to pot. Puree cherries in food processor and strain. Once the wine mixture is reduced by a third, add strained cherries to the wine. Simmer for 6-8 minutes. In a separate bowl, mix corn starch and water. Lightly thicken with corn starch mixture, and simmer for 3-5 minutes to cook out the corn starch taste. Add the cream. Strain the mixture, chill and then pour a pool on each plate. Before setting the completed Swan on the sauce, dust lightly with powdered sugar.