This Is a New Take on Pumpkin Pie, Clearly

Orange pumpkin pie is so five minutes ago.

When it comes to pumpkin pie, orange is so five minutes ago. Now it’s all about … clear?

The culinary team at Alinea — the three-Michelin-starred Chicago restaurant that contends it is “not a restaurant … at least, not in the conventional sense” and prides itself on taking an “innovative approach to modernist cuisine” with its “seasonally driven tasting menu of between 18 and 22 courses” — has created a pumpkin pie you can see right through.

Simon Davies, Alinea’s chef de cuisine, posted a photo and a video of the super-small see-through slice of pie — a flaky crust with a gelatinous-looking filling, topped by a comely dollop of something creamy — on his Instagram feed. (He used the hashtag #surrealism.)

Davies also shared his ingredient list: “pumpkins from an organic farm 20 miles outside of Chicago, cinnamon, clove, ginger powder,” all of which have been “distilled.” Additional ingredients include “AP flour, butter, water, heavy cream, Tahitian vanilla, sugar and salt,” he noted.

Responses to his post ranged from appreciative oohs and aahs to exclamations of alarm and some clucks of disapproval.

“A jello pie sounds very unpleasant regardless of the flavor of the jello. i can think of little less attractive than the combination of flaky crust and gelatin, though i will grant that it is novel and decadent. Not all ideas are worthy of realization,” sniffed commenter @denniswestler.

Davies responded: “we throw away ideas that are not worthy everyday. You would be blown away by the amount of failures that occur here. I think a lot of people misunderstand how to effectively use gelatin. It can be used in a way that results in a gel that is stable but melts away on the palate unlike the common ‘Jell-O’ that most people are used to.”

Westler may have been comforted, but others remained confused by the concept.

“I love pumpkin pie. My brain is having a hard time believing that's pumpkin pie,” commented @kaileyhikes.

Davies reassured that the restaurant, which features the tiny piece of pie on its 20-course fall tasting menu, is “by no means … trying to re-create a classic. It’s just our way of having some fun.”

And confounding the masses. Clearly.

Photo courtesy of @simon.a.davies

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