These Instagram Pies Are Pure Eye Candy
Five years ago, Lauren Ko had never baked a single pie. Bored with her job as an executive assistant, she started playing around in her kitchen, posting her geometrically stylized pies on Instagram (@lokokitchen). And then she almost burned down the internet, which has, it would seem, a bottomless appetite for beautiful pastry. "Things went viral quickly—I'm still trying to catch up with it," says Ko, who lives in Seattle. Her first book, Pieometry, showcases the techniques behind her intricate designs, crafted from dozens and dozens of painstakingly placed fruit and pastry cutouts. But her stunning designs have much more to do with her natural affinity for order than a passion for mathematics. "Math has always been my weakest subject; I have a lot of memories of my father patiently trying to explain it to me while I sobbed," Ko remembers. So she finds it a bit ironic that Pi Day—March 14 (as in 3.14, the value of pi)—has become a huge day on her calendar. "It was always kind of a math-joke holiday," Ko says with a laugh. "But the past few years, it's been bigger than my birthday."
Across the Atlantic Ocean inDevon, England, fellow Insta-gram phenom and food photographer and stylist Aimee Twigger (@twiggstudios) celebrates Pi Day with equally intricate pies that decidedly have more of a fairy-tale feel, leaning into natural, organic lines and elements.
"I draw a lot of inspiration from nature and the seasons and try to bring that into the things I create," Twigger says. "I love to think of each pie as an art project." To craft the intricate yet sturdy flower petals, stems, and leaves that seem to be caught in the act of rustling in the wind, Twigger makes a somewhat nontraditional ingredient swap in her crust. "Rather than using cold water, I usually add egg yolks or whole eggs as the liquid. I find it has a really nice flavor."
While Twigger's imagination runs barefoot and wild through the forest, Vancouver-based pie personality Jessica Leigh Clark-Bojin sculpts and paints piecrust to re-create pop culture icons. "The inspiration for my pies comes from all over the place," Clark-Bojin says. "I tend to choose subjects that connect to something, usually nerdy, that I love—toys from the '80s, sci-fi and fantasy film and TV, video games, and music." A scroll through her Instagram (@thepieous) is like flipping through the channels on your television set. Rendered in pastry, the extraordinary like- nesses of celebrities—from Betty White to David Bowie— smile flakily back at you.
But instead of guarding her pro-pie-tary techniques, Clark-Bojin takes her followers behind the scenes. "I do try very hard to answer every question people leave me on my feed, and it's really be- come more of a community than just a pie page," she says. While all three of these extraordinarily talented bakers lure followers in with their inspired designs, it's the sense of connection that keeps everyone coming back for more.
"I enjoy empowering people to make these pies for themselves," Ko says. "When that happens, it goes beyond just pie and feels really cool."