Chocolate eclairs recipe for two, a small batch of homemade eclairs. Homemade small batch pastry cream recipe, too.
These mini chocolate eclairs for two positively melt my heart.
I want to dunk them in my coffee in the morning, snack on them in the afternoon, and eat them for dessert after dinner.
The good news in that scenario is that this recipe only makes 6 mini two-bite eclairs. If you share these with someone you love, you’re almost guaranteed to not eat the whole batch yourself…almost.
For some divine reason, pâté à choux dough is easy to scale down.
Of all the things I thought would cause me to reach for the cork screw before 5:00, pâté à choux is not one of them. (By the way, Cabernet is my favorite problem solver ever). Cookies, on the other hand, give me loads of trouble when scaling down. Switch out just 1 teaspoon of something-or-other, and the cookies spread across the entire sheet and crisp to black in no time.
But delicate French pastry filled with rich cream and topped with chocolate? A cinch. Maybe a little too easy (says my waistline).
I used my Cream Puffs for two recipe, but I discovered something important worth mentioning–now that I’m cooking on a gas stove, I find that the pan doesn’t hold as much heat once turned off. So, if you’re cooking on a gas stove, instead of turning the heat entirely off to incorporate the flour, just turn it to low. If you’re cooking on a glass cooktop, turn it off–those things hold enough heat to burn you 6 hours later.
Yes, this is exactly what I’m eating in those photos on my About page. Sorry to tease you for so long, but here they are!
I took a few photos to help you along the way.
When I say ‘cook the flour until the dough pulls away from the edges of the pan,’ this is exactly what that looks like:
The dough clings to the spoon and become hard to stir. This is also what I’m referring to when I say if you have a gas stove, turn the heat to low; if you have a glass cooktop, turn the heat completely off. If the dough does not clump around the spoon after 1 minute, turn the heat up slightly and continue to stir.
Cooking process for chocolate eclairs:
1) As soon as the dough clumps together, move it to a mixing bowl, and begin beating it with an electric mixer until it is warm to the touch, about 1-2 minutes.
2) Once the dough has cooled, add the egg and continue beating.
3) Beat until the dough falls off the beaters in sheets, and is pale yellow.
4) Notice the color change from photo three to four? Perfection!
Now, go on! Make delicate French pastries and dunk them in black coffee because you deserve it!
I used my silicone mat when baking these chocolate eclairs, and I highly recommend using one when baking.
First, make the pastry cream: In a small saucepan, warm the heavy cream until the tiniest of bubbles appear on the edge of the pan--do NOT boil.
Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar and salt. Add the egg yolks, and whisk. It will be crumbly, it's fine.
Slowly pour the warm cream into the egg yolk mixture, a tablespoon or so at a time. Continue to whisk as you pour.
Next, pour the entire mixture back into the saucepan over medium heat. Whisk constantly while it comes to a simmer. Once simmering, it will begin to thicken. Once large bubbles pop on the surface, continue to cook for a few more seconds while whisking, then remove from heat. Stir in the vanilla.
Scrape the pastry cream into a bowl, press a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface, then chill in the fridge for at least 3 hours.
Next, make the eclairs: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a sheet pan with a silicone mat or parchment paper.
In a small saucepan, stir together the water and butter over low heat. Let the butter gently melt without bringing the water to a rolling boil for too long.
Remove the water-butter mixture from heat, and add the flour, sugar and salt mixture all at once. Stir, stir, stir.
Put the pan back on the burner that's been turned off and stir until the dough starts to pull away from the sides of the pan. In other words, the dough will stick together in one big clump around the spoon and not the edges of the pan. It happens in about 1 minute. This is the part where you may have to leave your burner on low if you're cooking with gas or electric burners. If using a glass cook-top, turn it off entirely for this step.
Scrape the dough into a mixing bowl, and beat on low speed with an electric mixture until the mixture is only warm to the touch (about 1-2 minutes). Add the egg and continue beating. Beat for a few minutes, until the dough falls off the beaters in sheets and is pale yellow.
Scrape the mixture into a piping bags (or use two spoons). To get the most rise out of your dough, scoop 3 balls of dough and pile the dough on top of itself with the edge of a spoon. (See photo for reference). You should get 6 eclairs.
Bake the eclairs for 10 minutes, then open the oven door for 5 seconds, lower the heat to 350, and close the door. Continue to bake at 350 for 18-20 minutes. Do not be afraid of brownness--if you under-bake, the insides do not dry out. See photo for reference.
When the eclairs are done baking, turn the oven off, and remove the sheet from the oven. Using a thin knife, poke a hole in the side of each eclair. You will eventually cut all the way through the eclair to fill it with the pastry cream, but for now, just cut a slit so steam can escape. Return the pan to the turned-off oven, and let cool for 30 minutes with the oven door ajar.
Next, slice the eclairs in half, and fill with the chilled pastry cream.
For the chocolate topping, combine the chocolate and coconut oil in a small bowl. Stir well, then microwave in 10-second pulses until almost all the way melted, stirring between each pulse. Dip the tops of the eclairs in the chocolate, and chill until set for 15 minutes.
The eclairs taste best served within a few hours of making, but they will keep covered in the fridge for 1 day.
Christina Lane is the author of 3 cookbooks all about cooking and baking for two. She has scaled down hundreds of recipes into smaller servings so you can enjoy your favorite dishes without the leftovers! Valentine's Day is her favorite holiday.