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Carrot Halwa with Carrot Cake, Roasted Pineapple, Ginger Frozen Yogurt, and Carrot Jus by Grayson Claes

(This recipe appeared in the Fall 2021 issue of Pastry Arts Magazine)  

This dessert exemplifies the style of Sona, an Indian restaurant in NYC. I wanted to create a dish that combined American carrot cake with carrot halwa, along with Indian flavors and ingredients such as ginger and yogurt.

Makes about 20 servings

Carrot Cake

  • 75 g whole eggs
  • 225 g granulated sugar
  • 50 g extra-virgin olive oil
  • 102 g grapeseed oil
  • 113 g carrot purée
  • 2 g ground cinnamon
  • 2 g ground ginger
  • 5 g salt
  • 170 g all-purpose flour
  • 5 g baking soda
  • 500 g grated carrots
  1. In an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, mix together the eggs, sugar, oils, purée, spices and salt until blended. Mix the flour and baking soda together, then add to the batter, mixing just until blended. Fold in the grated carrots.
  1. Bake on a half sheet tray at 325˚F (163˚C) for 10-15 minutes, until the cake is golden brown and springs back when lightly touched. Let cool.

Carrot Halwa

  • 50 g honey
  • 250 g grated red carrots
  • 23 g unsalted butter
  • 25 g ghee
  • 200 g whole milk
  • 2 g salt
  1. In a large saucepan, caramelize the honey to an amber color.
  1. Add the grated carrots, butter and ghee and cook over medium-low heat until carrots are softened. Once cooked down, add the milk in 4 increments, cooking until nearly dry after each addition. After last addition has cooked until almost dry, stir in the salt and let cool in ice bath. Store in pint containers.

Roasted Pineapple

  • 1 pineapple, peeled, cored and sliced
  • 100 g jaggery sugar
  • 125 g unsalted butter
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 10 g lime juice
  • Zest of 1 lime
  1. Heat everything in a pot until the sugar is dissolved.
  1. Add pineapple to a sous vide bag and compress. Pour into half hotel pan with juices and roast at 325˚F (163˚C), basting every 15 minutes until golden brown, but not burnt. Let cool at room temperature. Store in large to-go containers.

Pistachio Crumb

  • 250 g unsalted butter, cubed and cold
  • 125 g light brown sugar
  • 350 g all-purpose flour
  • 200 g chopped pistachios
  • 8 g salt
  1. Place all ingredients in a stand mixer and mix until crumbly.
  1. Transfer to parchment-lined sheet pan and bake at 325˚F (163˚C) until golden brown, stirring occasionally (but still keeping larger chunks). Cool.

Ginger Frozen Yogurt

  • 63 g fresh ginger
  • 187 g water
  • 187 g granulated sugar
  • 35 g trimoline
  • 3 g ice cream stabilizer
  • 63 g glucose syrup
  • 63 g honey
  • 500 g Greek yogurt
  • 250 g heavy cream
  • 3 g salt
  1. Chop the ginger into small pieces and put into blender with water. Blend on high until ginger is completely broken down. Transfer to small saucepan. Add sugar, trimoline, stabilizer and glucose to the ginger mixture and place over medium-high heat. When the syrup is at a boil, remove the pot, reduce the heat to a simmer, and cook for 1 minute. Strain and chill in ice bath.
  1. When cool, add honey, yogurt, cream, and salt. Strain and store in Pacojet beakers. Freeze until solid and Pacotize. Let freeze to harden.

Carrot Jus

  • 1500 g carrot juice
  • 200 g granulated sugar
  • 190 g heavy cream
  • 50 g unsalted butter, cubed
  • 2 g salt
  1. In a saucepan, bring the carrot juice and sugar to a boil. Reduce until the color changes to dark orange. When desired color is achieved, add the cream and reduce slightly until sauce-like consistency is achieved.
  1. Whisk in butter and salt. Blend until smooth and strain. Chill and store in quarts.


1. Arrange 2 small quenelles of Carrot Halwa on the plate, with one pointing at 10:00 and the other pointing at 7:00. In the center, place a spoonful of Pistachio Crumble (to hold a quenelle of Ginger Frozen Yogurt). Scatter 3 pieces of carrot cake around the halwa, each in different spots. Place small slices of roasted pineapple alongside the cake.

2. Place a quenelle of Ginger Frozen Yogurt on the Pistachio Crumb. Lastly, spoon some Carrot Jus on each of the carrot cake pieces and on the plate.

About Grayson Claes

Grayson Claes is a Pastry Chef at Sona Restaurant in New York, NY, and his first mentor was Pastry Chef Richard Rivera, who taught him to be detail-oriented. It influenced him to strive for originality while also respecting the classics. His signature style is to take familiar flavors and dishes and present them in a fresh, modern way that isn’t seen very often.

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