YOU won't be sticking your neck out when you create the beloved bird here. It's sure to win the heart of everyone you serve it to! CT's kitchen staff shaped the sweet swan with meringue, chocolate mousse, whipped cream, almonds and a pool of cherry sauce. Since the confection is just the right size for one person, you can delight all of your guests with their own special treat. What's more, folks will never guess how easy this romantic recipe is to prepare. They'll be too busy enjoying it!
- 4 egg whites
- 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 1 cup vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 8 slivered almonds
- CHERRY CHOCOLATE MOUSSE:
- 2 packages (3 ounces each) cream cheese, softened
- 1/4 cup butter, softened
- 1-1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
- 1/4 cup baking cocoa
- 1 can (14-1/2 ounces) pitted tart cherries
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1/3 cup water
- Red liquid food coloring
- 2 cups heavy whipping cream
- 2 tablespoons confectioners' sugar
- 1/3 cup sliced almonds
- Meringue: In a small bowl, beat egg whites and cream of tartar until soft peaks form. Gradually add sugar, vanilla and salt, beating until stiff peaks form and sugar is dissolved, about 8 minutes. Drop eight 1/4 cupfuls onto an ungreased parchment paper lined baking sheet. Shape each into a 4-in. long teardrop shell.
- Spoon remaining meringue into a pastry or plastic bag and cut a hole in the corner of bag. For swan necks, pipe eight 3-in. long question-mark shapes onto a second parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Insert a slivered almond in each for a beak.
- Bake teardrop shells at 225° for 30 minutes, then place meringue necks in oven and bake both the shells and necks 1 hour longer. Turn oven off. Let stand in oven for 1 hour. Remove to wire racks to cool.
- Mousse: Combine the cream cheese and butter in a small bowl. Beat in confectioners' sugar and cocoa until fluffy.
- Drain cherries, reserving juice. Chop cherries and gently fold into mousse. Refrigerate until assembling.
- Sauce: Combine the cornstarch, water, food coloring and reserved cherry juice in a saucepan until smooth. Bring to a boil, then cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Cool.
- Topping: In a bowl, beat whipping cream and confectioners' sugar until soft peaks form. Spoon 1/3 cup into a pastry or plastic bag. Cut a small hole in the corner of bag and set aside.
- Assembly: Spoon 1/4 cup chocolate mousse into each meringue shell. Referring to photo above for shape, carefully spread remaining topping over mousse and shell to form swan body. Insert sliced almonds for wings. Insert meringue neck.
- Place each swan on an individual serving plate. Spoon cherry sauce around swans. Pipe hearts in the sauce around swans with reserved topping. Yield: 8 servings.
Originally published as Valentine Swans in Country Woman January/February 2002, p30
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