The Dessert Burger

Categories: Bakes, Dessert, Recipes, Vegetarian, West
Comments: No Comments
Published on: April 2, 2013

I’ve always loved the idea of making a dessert burger.  I like making food a little whimsical and I love burgers so when my work’s cake club came around again (I made cookies last time) a dessert burger seemed like a pretty logical next step.  I figured someone, somewhere would have tried it but a quick search on google didn’t come up with much.  In fact, the only good example of a dessert burger I can find was from Hubert Keller’s restaurant in San Francisco.  I couldn’t really hope to match Hubert’s effort (he is one of the best chefs in the world!) but I could at least have a go and I know I’m in good company!

First of all, I wasn’t going to use a donut for the burger bun.  It would be great but for two minor problems, I don’t have the first clue how to make them, although they’re probably not that hard to make, but that brings me to my second point, I am hopeless at baking.  My baking skills go as far as choux pastry and cookies (I class puff pastry and shortcrust pastry as cooking).  A cookie for a bun would be interesting but I can’t imagine how I would make one so big that it could easily hold a solid, inch thick chunk of chocolate ganache.  So realistically I was left with choux pastry, which I had done all of once before, years ago, before I really learned to cook.  This idea was clearly well thought out!

I had initially considered doing chocolate eclairs for my cake club contribution, that way I could focus on getting the choux pastry right and the cream (I had just bought a siphon so this was a good excuse to put it to use) and chocolate were fairly straight forward… but that was the problem, it all seemed a little too easy.  I managed to do choux pastry profiteroles when I was 18 and I didn’t have a clue what I was doing.  I could melt bars of milk chocolate and I had a can of whipped cream, I figured I could do slightly better 10 years on.  So I settled on a dessert burger, not really considering what that entailed or how I was going to do it until yesterday…

GnY_DessertBChocI had planned to do a few practice runs but I had a crepe party arranged for the easter sunday, so all my attention was on that.  The dessert burgers got my attention when I woke up and 8 hours later, they were done!  It probably shouldn’t have taken me this long, but between a slightly iffy oven, a shortage of eggs and chocolate and a failed batch of choux buns which were laughably small (and burnt), I think it’s a miracle that these things even got made at all.  More than once I considered trashing it and doing something else, more than a few times I stood in the kitchen shouting and swearing at my useless oven / unset chocolate / gas-less siphon / shortage of ingredients / god-only-knows-what-else-that-went-wrong, but somehow I made them and I barely managed to make 12 plus a failed bun that got used as tester (since we have 12 people who still partake of the cake club contributions – 13 if you include me).

More importantly, these dessert burgers actually look like a burger.  They’ve probably been worth the effort (just) although I wish they were sweeter.  I’ve loaded them with sugar at every possible stage but somehow it still isn’t sweet enough for my liking!  Choux pastry is fairly neutral in flavour, the kiwis weren’t very ripe and since I’m using them in an agar jelly that reduces the flavour and dark chocolate seems to absorb sugar and never tastes sweet – thankfully the salt ensures there is no bitterness from the chocolate.  The strawberry jam sauce is very sweet however, so a generous portion of that should help resolve the issue.

If you are going to make these yourself, don’t expect to spend 8 hours making them, I had a few failed attempts, a few adjustments along the way, I had to run to the shops to get more ingredients as well as stop to eat and I only had the one baking tray so everything had to be done in small batches, one after the other.  Regarding the exotic ingredients; Agar-Agar is a replacement for gelatine, it’s suitable for vegetarians (as it is made from seaweed), it sets at room temp and it can be re-boiled in order to re-mould it if you so desire.  I use it to make pea or chicken stock pasta, the Malaysians (Agar-Agar is a Malay word) use it to make desserts, anyone who is on a gluten-free diet will probably be familiar with it.  Agar-agar is very neutral in flavour so unlike gelatine it won’t alter whatever you make it with.  Also, Agar is very stable, you can cut it, it won’t melt at room temp and it tolerates greater PH levels (so lime jelly is possible).  I’ve used it here because the enzymes in kiwis and pineapples attack proteins, so a gelatine based jelly wouldn’t set but agar doesn’t have that problem.  Also we have a vegetarian in the club which means gelatine is a no-no anyway.  Guar gum is just a stabiliser, think of it as cornflour but 10 times stronger, it has an elastic property when combined with water – a couple of teaspoons of it added to any water based substance and it will thicken to the point where particles inside it (like herbs) will be suspended.  Here, I’ve used it to thicken the strawberry sauce into a jam like substance, mainly because I don’t want it to dribble everywhere and that will let people put a tablespoon of it on the burger… it’s all going to end up as a sticky mess anyway because of the cream filled choux buns but it’s one less thing to worry about.  I’ll explain the likes of Agar-Agar and Guar gum (plus others) in more detail in a molecular gastronomy article I will do later.


Ingredients (makes 12 burgers):

Choux Buns:

300g Flour (sifted)

250g Butter (cubed)

10 Eggs

750ml Water

50g Caster Sugar

Pinch of Salt


Chocolate Burgers:

400g Dark Chocolate (85% cocoa solids)

400ml Full Cream Milk

50g Caster Sugar

Pinch of Sea Salt


Kiwi Jelly:

6 Kiwis

10g Agar-Agar

Caster Sugar (to taste – I added about 50g)


Strawberry Jam Sauce:

500g Strawberries

5g Guar Gum

Vanilla Caster Sugar (to taste – I added about 100g)


(Optional) Frangelico Whipped Cream:

800ml Double Cream

150ml Hazelnut liqueur (Frangelico)

100ml Irish Cream liqueur (Coole Swan)

50ml Chocolate liqueur (Mozart Dark Chocolate)

6 Tbsp Vanilla Caster Sugar



1.  Start by making the choux buns, pre-heat your oven to 200C.  Prepare the flour, salt and sugar on a folded piece of greaseproof paper

2.  In a medium-sized saucepan, combine the butter and water and heat until it just begins to boil, then take off the heat and immediately pour in the flour mix while stirring vigorously.

3.  Stir the mixture until it forms a ball that leaves the sides of the pan clean.

4.  Crack the eggs in a small bowl and beat well, then gradually add in a small amount of the eggs to the pan while continuing to mix – repeat until all the eggs have been combined to form a glossy paste (there should be no lumps).

5.  Take a baking sheet and line it with greaseproof paper.  Now sprinkle some water over the paper.

6.  Take two tablespoons of the choux paste and spread it in a circle about 5 to 5 1/2 inches in size.  You should be able to get about 8 to a tray – you will make 24 in total.

7.  Place the tray in the oven, throw in a tablespoon or two of water in the bottom of the oven then allow to bake for 30-35mins or until golden brown and crispy.  If you put in multiple trays then you might need to increase cooking times.

8.  Once cooked, pierce each bun with a knife (to release the steam inside) and then set the aside on a wire rack to cool and load in the next batch.


For the Chocolate Burgers:

1.  Setup a double boiler, ensuring the water does not touch the bottom of your glass bowl.  Break up the chocolate into small pieces and melt in the double boiler, stirring occasionally.

2.  Once the chocolate is almost melted, add in your pinch of salt and stir.

3.  Once all the chocolate is melted, add in half the milk and stir well.  Then add in all the sugar.  Return to the heat if the mix gets too stiff.

4.  Add the remaining milk and mix well again, then place in a baking dish lined with greaseproof paper, ensure that the chocolate is about 1 inch thick or greater.

5.  Allow the chocolate to cool until it is nearly set, then take a 4 inch round cookie cutter and make 12 burgers, combine half-set chocolate bits and press down with a spoon inside the cookie cutter if you can’t make 12 whole burgers.

6.  Place each burger on top of a cool choux bun.


For the Kiwi Jelly:

1.  Peel and dice 6 kiwis, then blitz in a blender.

2.  Heat the kiwi puree with the sugar in a small pan until it begins to boil, then add in the agar-agar and stir well.

3.  Transfer the hot kiwi mix back to the blender and blitz until smooth.

4.  Spread the kiwi mix over another greaseproof lined baking tray and leave to set (about 5-10mins).

5.  Once firm, cut with a 4 inch cookie cutter and place on another choux bun.


(Optional) Frangelico Whipped Cream:

1.  Combine the sugar, cream and liqueurs in a jug, ensuring that the sugar is completed mixed in with the cream.

2.  Pour half the cream mixture into a cream whipper (siphon), fit an injector nozzle and charge with one Nitrous Oxide canister, shaking well.

3.  Fill each choux bun with the cream via the small knife hole made earlier.

4.  Once the whipper runs out of cream, refill and recharge, then repeat until all the buns have been filled with cream.


Strawberry Jam Sauce:

1.  Dice up the strawberries and blitz in a blender.

2.  Place the purreed strawberries in a small pan with the vanilla sugar and heat slowly.

3.  Add in the guar gum and mix well.  Once the sauce begins to bubble, take off the heat and allow to cool.



1.  Place the kiwi jelly slice on the flat of one choux bun.

2.  Place the chocolate burger on top of the jelly slice.

3.  Finally drizzle with a generous helping of the strawberry sauce and serve immediately.



– You could easily replace the Strawberry sauce with another fruit like Raspberry, use whatever is in season.

– You could also make the Strawberry sauce into a jelly like the kiwi to simulate a tomato and then add a white sauce or cream instead.

– The kiwi jelly could be replaced with lime jelly as Agar also withstands the acidity of limes.  Lime Jelly will add a nice sharpness that will stand up to the rich dark chocolate.

– Don’t worry too much about the choux buns rising, the weight of the chocolate and jelly with squash them so the size is more important and if you fill then with cream they will puff up anyway!

– Marbling the dark chocolate with milk chocolate would make the burger less heavy and sweeter without it becoming too sweet, that might make it easier to eat.

– These burgers could be miniaturised and made into dessert sliders using different fillings.  Chocolate cheesecake and pineapple, chocolate and cherry, there are a lot of options.


Drinks Matching:

Cocktail: Strawberry Daiquiri – Matching the sauce, the iced strawberries, sweet rum and sour lime kick will pair nicely with this dessert.

Regular Drink: Ice Wine – Despite the copious amount of sugar I find the dessert burger needs a little more sweetness and ice wine will provide that.

Non-Alcoholic: Lemonade – A little bit of citrus and additonal sweetness will help round out this dessert.


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