Winning Dessert on Food Network Now Available at Musaafer Restaurant in Houston

Honey-Glazed Ham Dessert by Ruchit Harneja

Executive pastry chef Ruchit Harneja of Musaafer at 5115 Westheimer in The Galleria created a special Easter dessert that won the third episode of Food Network’sSpring Baking Championship: Easter’. Through Easter Sunday, April 9, it’s also available for Houston diners to try. 

The whimsical dessert is called “Honey-Glaze Ham” — and it’s cuter than it sounds. However, the name comes from the flavors of hickory smoke, honey, pineapple, cherry, cloves and, of course, ham. Specifically, the dessert is hickory-smoked honey cake, pineapple and clove “peeps” (baby chick-shaped marshmallows), cherry pâté de fruit and ham crumble. Those trying the dessert at Musaafer can also request a plant-based alternative to the ham crumble. The yin-and-yang combination of sweet and savory flavors should lead to an experience that activates every taste bud.

Ruchit Harneja and host Sunny Anderson on Food Network's Spring Baking Championship
Pastry chef Ruchit Harneja of Musaafer gets a skeptical look from Food Network “Spring Baking Championship” host Sunny Anderson. Courtesy of Food Network.

“This is a very typical Easter preparation that I’m turning into a dessert by converting it from a savory preparation to something sweet,” said Ruchit via a press release. “I enjoy pushing the boundaries to explore more interesting flavor combinations, and this dessert is no exception. It consists of all the components and flavor profiles of the classic Easter dish, including the ham, but with sweet elements that balance it to perfection.” 

Prior guests at Musaafar will likely not be completely surprised by Harneja’s win, or the complex creativity of his dessert. His elevated skills are similarly evident in the on-the-menu creations, such as Mishti Doi, a fanciful wonderland of yogurt-based mushrooms, raspberry, pomegranate “stones” and frozen shrikhand (strained yogurt sweetened with powdered sugar and flavored with cardamom and saffron). It’s worth noting that Musaafar’s menu changes seasonally, so desserts available now won’t necessarily be available later. 

Mishti Doi dessert at Musaafer
Mishti Doi, a largely yogurt-based dessert by chef Ruchit Harneja, is currently on the Musaafer menu. Photo by Raydon Creative

Harneja is a native of Jaipur, India, which is also known as The Pink City thanks to the hue of its stunning architecture. As the story goes, Maharaja Sawai Ram Singh ordered that the city be painted pink to honor the arrival of Prince Albert in 1876. Harneja initially trained at the Institute of Hotel management in Bangalore and completed two years of hotel operations management training at The Taj Mahal Hotel in New Delhi. Like other key Musaafar staff, Harneja traveled through all 29 states of India in 100 days as part of the study and training before opening the restaurant. 

Future airings of the Spring Baking Championship: Easter can be found online at the Food Network website. Those who would like to see and taste Harneja’s winning dessert for themselves can make a reservation at Musaafar online or call (713) 242-8087. 

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