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When it comes to pie, everyone has certain expectations. Cherry pie should be slightly tart, for example, while apple pie isn’t complete without a generous dash of cinnamon. As for pumpkin pie? Well, the filling needs to be thick, creamy and coloured like an orange pumpkin. How else would you serve pumpkin pie?

If you run a fancy-schmancy restaurant in Chicago, you’d apparently serve a gorgeous, see-through version of pumpkin pie that actually looks like clear Jell-O in a pie crust. In fact, Alinea — a famous, three-Michelin-starred restaurant that features 18-22 course seasonal tasting menus — just started serving clear pumpkin pie, and to say that it’s pretty would be a huge understatement.

Pumpkin pie for the fall menu. #surrealism

A post shared by Simon Davies (@simon.a.davies) on

Your eyes aren’t deceiving you — this is an actual piece of pumpkin pie, with pumpkin, nutmeg, cinnamon and condensed milk in its filling. So why the heck does it look like mint Jell-O that you could practically skate on?

To make this dessert, the chefs added gelatin sheets to the filling mixture and ran it through a rotary evaporator (also known as a rotovap), which gives gelatin the flavour of whatever’s added to it. Then, presto: clear pumpkin pie.

Pretty gorgeous, right?

Despite the dessert’s sheer beauty, it’s a little disorienting to say the least. Because if it’s pumpkin pie you’re craving, obviously pumpkin Jell-O isn’t going to do the trick. And let’s just talk about that consistency for a minute. I like my pumpkin spice creamy, not gelatinous, thank you very much. And apparently, I’m not the only one with concerns about the taste and texture.

Luckily, the chefs already anticipated such negative reactions, and got a head start on putting the public’s fears to rest.

“Texture is very important to us. This melts away,” chef de cuisine Simon Davis explained in his original Instagram post announcing the dessert. “If it were over-gelled it would not be worth serving. The main texture that brings on nostalgia is from the pâte brisée.”

So it doesn’t quite have that Jell-O texture that’s making you cringe. And for those of us who didn’t go to French pastry school, “pâte brisée” is a shortcrust pastry that’s loaded with delicious, buttery flavour and isn’t as sweet as your traditional pastry. In other words, it’s the perfect crust for this pumpkin pie.

Okay, heck yes — I’d try this pie, and it looks like I’m not alone, despite what the haters say.


Now… if only someone could fly us to Chicago.