What makes Chef Simon Davies' pumpkin pie creation so delectably bizarre? The reason is so obvious, it's transparent.
As Chicago restaurant Alinea prepares its see-through pumpkin pie for the fall menu, it's clear that Chef Davies' artistic bravado epitomizes "#surrealism." Check out the chef's wee pie creation posted on his Instagram (video below).
The bite-size pie comes topped with a whipped cream morsel (about pinky-width) and a pinky-pinched pie crust filled with crystal-clear pumpkin gelatin. It's like a regular pumpkin pie, but for dolls. Which is the kind of thing Alinea does.
The restaurant presents itself as "not a restaurant in the conventional sense." They are known for serving food via complex mediums: an edible balloon tied with a dehydrated apple string, oak-charcoaled wagyu beef, a host of dishes resembling abstract expressionist paintings and rogue science experiments. Their soon-to-come pumpkin pie morsel is ultimately tame compared to its offered analogs.
Gelatin becomes an incongruous ingredient when you're making anything but classic jello. It's wobbly, it ripples and it's fun to play with. Luckily, Davies' gelatin creation is not your squidgy jellied lamb salad from the 1950s and 60s. No percolating olives floating mid-jelly. Gelatin was once served by Norman Rockwell moms who "cooked up" stupendous fiesta Spam-bakes and mayonnaise jello ("The Knox family of nutritious foods.") to their reluctant pops and tots.
We have since figured out Spam belongs nowhere near gelatin and that mayo is rightfully a condiment, not a jello parcel; this opened the door for agar- and gelatin-based art made as much for the viewer as it is for the eater. They look and taste delicious, I hear.
Three-dimensional jelly cakes (fancily called "art de gelatin") test the reaches of what we call "food art" and also just how far we can go with gelatin. They're stunning and labor-intensive (and worth the several hours you'll spend watching YouTube demos). Websites and boutique confectioneries offer tailor-made see-through desserts in floral and spiral shapes with the use of syringes and sharp picks. These wedding-grade desserts along with Davies' itty bitty pumpkin slice look like foods of the future.