The Chicago eatery recently created a clear pumpkin pie that has a gelatinous consistency. The butter crust is fairly normal, but the rest of the pie is an extraordinary concoction.
Alinea’s chefs make the filling with a distillation of cooked pumpkin, ginger powder, cinnamon, cloves and sweetened condensed milk. They use a machine called a rotary evaporator to condense its vapors into colorless droplets. That condensation is then mixed with gelatin to form the filling.
The end result is a pie that tastes like a traditional pumpkin pie, but certainly doesn’t look like one. The see-through treat has taken over social media as people are astounded by its surrealism.
“I wanted to do a distillation of pumpkin pie because it’s very technical and thought-provoking,” says Alinea executive chef Mike Bagale. “I wasn’t sure how I wanted to serve the distillation, and Simon [Davies, chef de cuisine] suggested setting it in a pie crust.”
“What’s cool about the dish is the juxtaposition between modern technique coupled with very classic technique, and when you taste it you get to appreciate the qualities of both.”