Choux swans

Having gone in-depth with the choux pastry method and demonstrating its most famous form: the profiterole, we wanted to spend a little more time with choux pastry for this masterclass, expanding on its decorative potential and looking at its savoury applications.

You will need:
1 teaspoon of dried dill
1/2 teaspoon of smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon dried seaweed flakes
Potted shrimp:
90g brown shrimp, peeled and cooked
100g unsalted butter
1 bay leaf
Small pinch of saffron
8 pink peppercorns
Teaspoon of smoked paprika
Large pinch of mustard powder
Zest from a whole lemon
Juice from just half a lemon
1 tablespoon of chopped dill

Make a batch of choux pastry and add the spices and herbs
Mix it in thoroughly, then transfer to a piping bag
Cut quite a narrow opening in the piping bag – half a centimetre or so, and get a tray ready, lined with baking paper
Pipe an s-shaped line of pastry – this will serve as the neck of the swan
Pipe out as many as you need, plus one or two spares in case of mishap
On a separate tray, lined with baking parchment, pipe the buns
Leave plenty of space between each bun, and keep them very similar in size
The necks will take about 10 minutes, so bake them first at 200C
The buns (or bodies) more like 20 minutes
Again, we want crispy, light buns with a uniform golden browning and the feel of a ping pong ball in the hand
To turn them into swans, just slice the top off and remove any uncooked mixture with a small knife
Then return to the oven for 5-10 minutes, then leave to cool

Potted shrimp
Add the butter to a pan and melt, together with a bay leaf, saffron, pink peppercorns, smoked paprika and a large pinch of mustard powder
Add the lemon zest and juice
Once it has completely melted, add the shrimp and dill
Mix, then transfer to a dish and let it chill for at least 2 hours
Before you’re ready to serve, it’s best to let the shrimp come up to room temperature first, letting the butter soften and more of the flavours emerge

Fill and assemble the swans.