Pumpkin Pie

The Clear Pumpkin Pie Taking Over the Internet, Explained

October 30, 2017

Last week, the internet was abuzz with talk of a clear pumpkin pie. The fall favorite, it seemed, had gotten a transparent treatment—and people couldn’t look away.

An image of the pie first appeared on Instagram in late September when Simon Davies, the chef de cuisine at Alinea in Chicago, posted a video of the tiny slice. His succinct caption—“Pumpkin pie for the fall menu. #surrealism”—left much to the imagination. It wasn’t until last week, when Alinea’s founder Grant Achatz shared an image of the pie on his Instagram account, that word of the clear creation really started to spread.

Pumpkin pie for the fall menu. #surrealism

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

Clear pumpkin pie by @simon.a.davies #holidays #pumpkinpie

A post shared by Grant Achatz (@grant_achatz) on

In the midst of all the attention, we contacted Davies to figure out what was really going on with this internet sensation. As it turns out, pumpkin pie’s clear counterpart tastes just like the original. In regards to the pie contents, Davies had this to say: "The crust and whip cream are both traditional: pate brisée and whipped heavy cream with a little bit of sugar and vanilla. The filling is made from a distillation of cooked pumpkin, sweetened condensed milk, cinnamon, clove, and ginger…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.”

The tiny slice of pie is currently on the menu at Alinea and will stay there for as long as pumpkin is in season. Though it may be far from traditional, mini clear pumpkin pie is a break from convention I’d love to try.

Join The Conversation

Top Comment:
“I would love to have a recipe for the clear pumpkin pie. It would be such fun to serve it at Thanksgiving or as after school treats for the grandchildren. And, I would like to try it myself.”
— Donna
Comment

Are you interested or over it? Let us know your thoughts on Alinea's transparent take in the comments.

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55 Comments

Pamela A. September 20, 2018
Very interesting looking pie! It would be great to see him actually make it :) <br />As for SUZET INGRAM, please ban these type of people. They are annoying and ignorant..blind or not! Sorry.
 
Shana L. September 3, 2018
@DAR The clear pumpkin roll idea just blew my little mind! I'm the biggest fan a pumpkin roll could ever have. Haha I'd love to try both the clear pumpkin pie and clear pumpkin roll. Like most of you I dont have the equipment necessary to create such a cool looking little treat. But I sure would like the opportunity! @ EVERYONE God bless ladies. Opinions are like kitchens and everybody has one! Be thankful for the food and eat what you like.
 
Dawn D. August 24, 2018
I would like to give this a try... I'm a self-proclaimed daker and domestic engineer extraordinaire. I love to experiment with food... So much fun.<br />Can I please get a copy of the clear pumpkin pie recipe?
 
d W. August 10, 2018
I am Always ready to try something new...would not have survived in my former line of work had I not been adventurous in many areas, including food. I would love to have the recipe...my friends would love it. they always expect the out of the box thinking from me and from my food designs and ideas. I am ready when yo have it.
 
Donna August 1, 2018
We enjoyed raising and loving six children. I cooked a hot breakfast most mornings, and tried to teach good nutrition, but also fun. We really enjoy the taste and nutrition of pumpkin pie. From time to time I served pumpkin pie for breakfast. It is more healthy than pancakes or waffles with syrup, and the children enjoyed it and still talk about it in their “remember when” moments. Another fun surprise came when I would served oatmeal with a scoop of ice cream instead of milk and sugar. I read about it in a woman’s magazine and agreed with the article that the meal could start our day with fun as well as nutrition. I would love to have a recipe for the clear pumpkin pie. It would be such fun to serve it at Thanksgiving or as after school treats for the grandchildren. And, I would like to try it myself.
 
mikedalena August 1, 2018
Be my mom?<br /><br />Actually, my mom served cake for breakfast sometimes. No nutritional value but it was a very rare treat. Breakfast around the holidays was always pumpkin pie (actually, banana squash pie - I don’t think I ever ate a pumpkin pie as a kid unless it was someone else’s recipe)! I love the idea of a small scoop of ice cream on oatmeal. What a clever treat and great way to dress it up. Some nuts and fruit on there would be lovely too and help round it out. Hmmmm. I think I’m gonna go experiment with a bowl of oatmeal. Thanks for the inspiration!
 
Angelina S. July 22, 2018
CLEAR PUMPKIN PIE DISTILLED? BUT DISTILLING ROBS THE PUMPKIN OF FIBER/NUTRIENTS/HEALTHY NATURAL MINERAL COLOR!. VITAMINS ARE LEACHED AWAY AND WHAT YOU GET IS FLAVORS THAT CANNOT COMPARE TO THE ORIGINAL PUMPKIN PIE ONE MAKES FROM SCRATCH!. YOU ONLY GET FLAVOR IN DISTILLING!...NOT WHAT A WONDERFUL PUMPKIN IS!. I SEE THIS MODERN WAY IS STRIPPED DOWN TO BARE BONES & JUST FOR SHOW!. I THINK IT'S NOT FOR THE HEALTHY CONSCIENTEOUS MOM WHO TAKES IT BACK TO THE GOOD OLD BASICS!. I'LL TASTE IT BUT IM FOR THE WHOLE PUMPKIN THE OLD FASHION WAY. ILL LET THE OTHERS FIND OUT FOR THEMSELVES. POOR PUMPKIN?......BUT TRY IT ANYWAY!*
 
Sonja W. September 19, 2018
Please, Angelina, do fellow readers of this blog a favor and turn off your caps lock when you comment. When you type in all caps, it's the equivalent of yelling. Thank you.
 
Betty P. July 13, 2018
I am upset by some of the comments I read from " adults," who act like Cyber Bullies! I, and others come to this website for new recipes to try, or to comment on, not to read these terrible things people are saying to each other! Let's all act like adults, OK?
 
[email protected] July 18, 2018
Great Job Betty. You are absolutely spot on!! It doesn't matter whether people have tried this recipe or not. Comments that aren't beneficial, should be omitted. <br />
 
Rebecca A. July 9, 2018
I LOVE pumpkin pie. It has been my favorite food for as long as i can remember. I would love to try it. Keep pushing it to the Max!!
 
Debmeistertoo July 8, 2018
The proof is in the pie.................taste!! :-)<br />
 
Joanna S. January 26, 2018
Hi, all—I wanted to repeat that we appreciate adherence to our code of conduct, and trust that every member of our community will do their best to stick to it, whether long-standing or brand-new. We, of course, want you all to speak your minds and contribute to conversations you feel strongly about, but we do ask that you use your best judgment before posting. Will your comment be additive to the conversation? Great! Will it be deliberately (or inadvertently) hurtful to others? Not so great. Let's do our best to keep things friendly—it's pumpkin pie, after all.
 
Joanna S. January 26, 2018
Even if it is clear!
 
mikedalena January 26, 2018
❤️
 
mikedalena January 26, 2018
❤️
 
mikedalena January 26, 2018
https://food52.com/code_conduct
 
basketpam January 23, 2018
He may share the picture but he doesn't share the recipe. Now that's not right. If you're going to post one thing on the internet, then just do both. He MUST know he's thrown down the glove by doing this and there are going to be dozens of copycats out there now, both excellent and horrible. Wouldn't he rather have THE one, the unique, the original given HIS name for it than a lot of fakes circulating around?
 
Kathy B. January 20, 2018
Oh No! Does not look appetizing at all. Unless, I were in a science class & this was the outcome after an extended "experiment"! No thank you.<br />
 
Dar December 30, 2017
I just sent this article to my sister-in-law and wondered how it would look in a pumpkin roll? Maybe the next new idea??
 
Selina F. December 25, 2017
Fascinating culinary discovery! Kudos to you!
 
Shelly W. December 23, 2017
I would like to try it. Any recipe to try. I like to try new things.
 
Al M. December 18, 2017
I don't want my feelings to be so transparent, but I can't help it I feel tradition is a must, when it comes to pumpkin pie but let me be clear, I can see right through what you guys are trying to do, but keep with tradition, this clear version of pumpkin pie, I just don't see it.....lol
 
[email protected] December 8, 2017
I think I would love to make one just to see and confuse my guests, but I don't own a rotary evaporator. I also, would like to see if it was more of a jello-like consistency vs. the real pie yummy goodness consistency. I wouldn't rule it out.
 
Kimberly B. November 19, 2017
Pretty much over it as its not somethingvthev"average joe" could create for their family. I mean it's interesting, but realistically, I want to see things I can create as well.
 
Duncan V. January 27, 2018
Yes the rotovap you need costs way too much $$ and will take up way too much counter space.
 
DonnieJ November 17, 2017
Very interesting......