While most of us just use the recipe off the back of a can of pumpkin puree to make our annual Thanksgiving pumpkin pie, one Chicago restaurant is turning the kitchen into a science lab to bring a very unexpected twist to this holiday classic. Alinea, owned by chef Grant Achatz and one of only 12 restaurants in the US to claim a Michelin three-star rating, uses a special distilling process to the make its pumpkin pie -- wait for it -- crystal clear.
The pie, which is seriously as translucent as Cinderella’s glass slipper, is made from a traditional base of baked pumpkin, sweetened condensed milk, cinnamon, and ginger pureed together. Sounds exactly how most folks make the pie, right? Wrong, because next the pureed mixture is placed into a rotary evaporator -- a device used in chemical laboratories for non-pie purposes -- to transform it into a clear liquid that is then mixed with salt, sugar and gelatin. The mixture is then poured into smaller, handmade pie crusts, cooled, and served to shocked guests who are unsure if this diamond-looking pumpkin pie is honestly edible. It is, and according to Alinea’s chef Simon Davies “the flavor is exactly the same as a pumpkin pie.” Folks on Twitter aren't as convinced, though.