Your taste buds will think they’re swimming in heaven when you introduce them to this dessert. Katy Reddick, the pastry chef at the Pyramid Room at the Fairmont Hotel downtown was inspired by a famous French pastry –the swan – for the dessert in the hotel’s dinner based on “The Twelve Days of Christmas.”

“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, guests 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.

Seven Swans-a-Swimming

Makes 4 swans

Pate choux (eclair dough):

  • 4 cups water
  • 20 oz. bread flour
  • 7 eggs
  • 8 oz. butter

In a 4-quart heavy saucepot, bring the water and butter to a boil. Reduce heat to very 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 in between each egg added. You will need to get a piping diagram of a swan to accomplish the recipe. Almost any French pastry cookbook will have 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 1/2 cup of heavy cream and blend. Remove from the heat and cool to room temperature. Whip 3 cups heavy cream to a soft peak. Fold in whipped cream.

White Chocolate Mousse

  • 1/2 cup cream
  • 16 oz. white chocolate
  • 3 cups cream

Follow the same procedure as above.

Milk Chocolate Mousse

  • 1/2 cup cream
  • 14 oz.. milk chocolate
  • 3 cups cream

Follow same procedure as above.

Herbaceous Red Wine Cherry Sauce

  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 1 bottle red wine (Cabernet or Merlot)
  • 2 1/2 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 cornstarch and water.  Lightly thicken with cornstarch 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.


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