Chicago chef Grant Achatz has created a truly unique masterpiece of a dessert using apple, sugars, and helium. It’s an edible helium balloon!
Chef Achatz and his team perform this culinary magic at Alinea Restaurant.
It all starts with a secret, sugary, green apple mixture that is heated on the stovetop. Once it’s the right temperature and consistency, the mixture is then taken over to a helium tank that is rigged up with clear tubing.
One end of the tubing is connected to the inflator tip on the helium tank and the other end is dipped into the sugar. Dipping the tube causes the tip to clog up with the mixture, forming a seal.
This is the point where a whole lot of finesse and practice pay off.
The inflator valve on the helium tank is released and the glob of syrup clogging the end of the tube begins to push outward as it fills up with helium. It’s just like a soapy bubble blown through a toy wand.
However, because the syrup is heavy, the balloon has to initially be filled upside-down. Otherwise, the walls of the edible helium balloon will collapse under the weight of itself before it even has a chance to inflate.
Once the balloon is around 6 inches in diameter, the syrup will have lightened and expanded enough to allow the tube to be flipped right-side up, and the rest of the edible helium balloon can be inflated.
Once fully inflated, the edible helium balloon is gently twisted and oh-so-carefully tied off with a string made out of dehydrated apple. The string of course, is also edible.
Now, we will say that the waiter will suggest that the proper way to eat this is to “kiss and suck,” but we of course cannot ever condone inhaling helium. While it is a small amount in this edible helium balloon, inhaling any amount of helium can pose a health risk that can be quite serious, sometimes even fatal.
You should absolutely enjoy the spectacle and rarity of this incredible edible helium balloon if you get the chance! We’d just recommend that you pop the balloon first and then enjoy the apple taffy skin.