Sugar Rush: Chickpea-Pistachio Pie from Autre Monde
Autre Monde's menu has all the requisite ingredients that prove its Mediterranean cred: octopus, sardines, olives. Oh, and there are chickpeas, just not where you'd expect. The creamy garbanzo beans slide surreptitiously onto the dessert menu, tucked under a crunchy layer of nuts as part of the pleasantly surprising chickpea-pistachio pie ($7).
The dessert was one of the "test" dishes presented by a sous-chef applying for a job at Autre Monde, indicating either his fierce love of the chickpea, or just some serious cojones. He was immediately hired, and the pie has been on the brunch and dinner menus ever since. It's a stealthy dish to be sure; the chickpeas are pureed until completely creamy, then spread over a traditional pie crust and topped with spiced pistachios.
The spices, which taste like a mixture of cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and cloves (though who knows exactly what could be hiding in this tricky pie), evoke fall holidays. It's like biting into a pecan or pumpkin pie, but without the cloying sweetness. The chickpeas are indiscernible as such, adding a tempering savoriness that counteracts the sugar in the nuts and crust. It leaves you licking the fork, wondering where else chickpeas could, or should, be lurking.