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Indian Cassata with thandai and roohafza, by Ruchit Harneja

Indian Cassata with thandai and roohafza, by Ruchit Harneja


The Indian cassata is a nostalgic and joyous dessert inspired by the childhood memories of Ruchit Harneja, the Executive pastry chef of the Musaafer restaurant in Houston. It features layers of fruit and nut-based ice creams in a dome shape, offering a unique twist on the Italian cassata tailored to Indian tastes.

In this recipe,“I wanted to bring back the flavors and memories of cassata as an exclusive festive dessert. I infused the dessert with the essence of Thandai, a traditional Ayurvedic drink known for its cooling properties and consumed during the festival”. Harneja also incorporated elements of Holi’s playful rituals by creating an edible chocolate bucket filled with roohafza, a popular rose syrup beverage. “Guests can use a small syringe to inject the roohafza into the cassata bombe, mimicking the burst of colors during Holi”.

The dessert features a mosaic pattern on the plate created with blueberry, passionfruit, and serrano pepper fluid gel, adding a subtle heat and complexity. “This harmonizes the sweet and savory elements of the dessert and enhances the overall flavor profile”.

With this modern interpretation of cassata, the chef pays homage to traditional flavors while presenting a contemporary and artistic dessert experience.