This Artist’s '12 Days of Crustmas' Series Celebrates Christmas With Pie
A designer, filmmaker and self-identified geek who loves sci-fi, video games and 80s movies, Jessica Clark-Bojin has gotten pretty famous for her pie crust odes to pop-culture. Featured on both The Chew and The Food Network, Clark-Bojin—also known as @thePieous to her Instagram fans—came to pie baking after making a New Year’s resolution to spend 12 months without sugar. Left with one massive sweet tooth, she turned to the warm dessert as a sugarless alternative. Already a hands-on creative, Clark-Bojin soon became interested in rolling her love of geek culture in with baking and looked to the internet for inspiration. What she found was… almost nothing. The artistry of pie baking was seemingly left in the Middle Ages, where “pies towered over the buffet tables of kings… many layers high in the shapes of swans and dragons,” Clark-Bojin told Food & Wine. Surprised by the lack of figurative pie making, she set out to create her own, documenting her work and generating “ins-pie-ration” for other foodies and geeks like her.
Passionate about her pop culture and pie-making, Clark-Bojin is also a holiday enthusiast. So with the biggest holiday season right around the corner, she’s momentarily stepped away from creating things like Star Wars pies and Calvin and Hobbes piescrapers to more traditionally honor the winter season. Combining her crusting talent with a personal love for Christmas the piemaker has produced “The 12 Days of Crustmas,” 12 pies that honor the creatures, decor, films and even music of the December holiday. By using techniques not normally applied to pie baking (yet still easily executed), Clark-Bojin’s 2017 holiday series lets anyone from a lone baker to an entire family re-create her crusts. All you need is an hour or four and a baking toolbelt complete with a pastry brush, precision knife, fondant scoring tool, pastry cutters, rulers and your fingers. If you’re feeling particularly festive in the kitchen this year, here is Clark-Bojin’s entire “The 12 Days of Crustmas” series for you to try.
Ombre Snowflake Pie
From big to small, each of the snowflakes on this pie crust is created using cookie cutters, then dusted with sanding sugar. Inside the sparkly crust is a blend of three batches of apple pie filling, all tinted a different shade of green, to the delight of the ombre lovers in your life.
Cinnamon Stencil Xmas Sweater Pie
You can use a simple berry blend filling that pairs well with cinnamon or cocoa powder when making this “ugly sweater” pie design. To get this crust, give your entire pie top an egg white wash before poking holes and layering different paper cut outs on top. When you’re ready to reveal the crust design, use a sharp knife or pin to lift off the cutouts and sprinkle it with cinnamon.
Cherry Apple Swirl Pie
While Clark-Bojin encourages you to experiment with figurative and geometric patterns, to re-create this sweet and tart holiday pie’s swirl, you’ll want to etch the spiral shape on the bottom of your dough-lined pan. Using egg whites as glue, place strips of dough along the line of the spiral and fill either side with your cherry and apple filling.
Lace Mincemeat Pie
Mincemeat pie is an old favorite that pairs well with this classic crust design, created by tracing a large flower shape and using smaller cookie cutters, straws, and piping tips to poke out holes. The holly leaves, a decorative staple of the holiday season, were made using plunger cutters, with the berries hand rolled and colored using gel food coloring mixed with vanilla extract.
Ballerina Stencil Pie
Try your hand at a plum filling with this stenciled pie crust to turn any ballerina into the Sugar Plum Fairy. To create this crust that’s sure to sweep any eater off their feet, cut out shapes using transparency sheets and place them over the dough (much like you do with paper cutouts) before filling the shapes with a sprinkling of cinnamon.
Pixel Snowman Pie
Let your gaming and holiday geek collide with a pie crust that combines old pixelated arcade games and snowmen. Create your snowman by marking off a series of tiny squares in your pie dough with a pastry cutter before rolling across the dough one way, then turning the cutter perpendicular and rolling again. You’ll want to color the squares and bake them separately, only adding them to the top when your pie (such as sweet potato) is fresh out of the oven.
Gingerbread House Hand Pies
If you’re looking for a dessert you can eat with your hands these three-inch high house pies are for you. Created using a silicone baking mold, you can decorate them once they’ve cooled, just like a real Gingerbread House. Food coloring, frosting and tiny candies are all great ways to spruce up your tiny edible dwelling.
“Let it Snow” Typography Pie
Put on your favorite Christmas tunes as you hunker down to create this hand-molded, pre-baked cherry pie. To create the crust, you’ll need a ruler, a shallow egg white bath (to keep your words from cracking) and a template guide to ensure you have the right spacing and spelling. If you want your words to pop, use a bright berry filling.
No-Bake Oreo Penguin Pies
This holiday dessert is perfect for those who want a pie that’s just as fun and creative, but less time consuming and simpler to make than “Let It Snow.” Resembling everyone’s favorite “winter” birds these penguin pies were created with pulverized Oreos mixed with butter for the shell, chocolate melted and set into “penguin shapes,” and a sweetened cream cheese filling for the soft white belly.
White Chocolate Scrolly Tree Pumpkin Pie
Similar to the Penguin pies, this crust celebrating the beloved Christmas tree was created by piping melted chocolate onto a parchment sheet with a guide layer underneath. Once the sheet has chilled, pick up the pieces and transfer them to the pie, such as one with a peppermint brownie filling.
Checkerboard Santa Pie
Inspired by The Nightmare Before Christmas, you’ll need to have some advanced pie sculpting skills to re-create Tim Burton’s rosy-cheeked Santa. The checkerboard pattern, on the other hand, only requires a ruler, some light scoring, and food color painting. Honor Jack Skellington’s appreciation of Christmas by choosing a red filling like raspberry, or try something more Halloween-ish in color, like peach or blackberry.
Snow Fox Pie
Again, you’ll need either a lot of patience or some advanced crusting skills to make this adorable snow fox the centerpiece of your Christmas dinner table. You’ll want to use cutouts to create your fox, and a slightly less sweet filling to balance out the icing sugar paste and sanding sugar coating topped with sprinkles for a holiday glint.