While the country prepares for Thanksgiving, Chicago foodies have been raving about the strange pumpkin pie concocted by the Alinea restaurant's chef de cuisine Simon Davies. What makes this familiar seasonal favorite so different is that the filling is perfectly crystal clear.
The first image of the pie appeared as a video on Davies' Instagram account in late September, and began to go viral when Alinea founder Grant Achat shared an image on his Instagram with the caption, "Pumpkin Pie for fall menu #surrealism".
The pâte brisée crust and whipped cream topping are said to be made from completely traditional ingredients, but everyone is curious whether Davies was successful in creating a filling that is similar to the original classic. And, of course, how did he do it?
Davies isn't going to dish on his trade secrets, but he did assure diners that the strange slice has all the taste and texture of the Thanksgiving staple. "Texture is very important to us," he wrote on Instagram. "This melts away. If it were gelled-over it would not be worth serving. The main texture that brings on nostalgia is from the pâte brisée."
He also opened up a little about the process for making this distinct pie.
"The filling is made from a distillation of cooked pumpkin, sweetened condensed milk, cinnamon, clove, and ginger," Davies wrote. "We distilled the base in a rotary-evaporator. This process boils the liquid at a low temperature under pressure and creates a clear distillate...We have always used distillations on the menu at Alinea. In this case, we were talking about distilling pumpkin for the fall menu and this presentation came to mind. It takes something very familiar but challenges one's perception of it."
So unless you have rotary evaporator to make flavor distillations in your kitchen, this modern take on the classic American dessert will not find its way onto your family's dinner table this year. But with the rise in popularity of molecular gastronomy, Simon Davies' clear pumpkin pie brings the future of cooking a little closer to home - with a side serving of nostalgia.
Here's a closer look at the surreal dish.
h/t Mental Floss