Instagram, nowadays, is filled with beautiful food. Pretty smoothies, pretty avocado toasts, pretty eggs. But it’s pies, in all their flakey, fruity glory, that are arguably having a moment. Lauren Ko has only been in the pie business for a little over a year, but you would never be able to tell by looking at what’s coming out of the oven at her house.
Based out of Seattle, Ko was encouraged by friends to catalog her pretty pie-making skills on Instagram. Lauren Ko’ pies are so intricate and artistic, it’s hard to imagine digging a serving knife into that beautifully-latticed crust or delicately-arranged fruit filling. She brings mathematical precision to her baking, using elaborate intertwined patterns to form mesmerizing patterns to the top of her homemade pies and tarts.
Lauren Ko, 30, isn’t a pastry chef, she has never gone to culinary school, she is not even trying to sell her baked goods out of her house. Ko’s actual 9 to 5 is working as an executive assistant to the chancellor at Seattle Colleges. She says she actually likes savory foods more than sweets, but she loves baking and started playing around with pies and tarts in an artistic way. Ko says she’s driven by art and geometry—her photos illustrate the intricate designs that adorn her desserts.
Baking is known for its adherence to directions, but Ko lets herself improvise when it comes to the crust and surface designs. “I’m driven by color and pattern, so I’m constantly brainstorming color combinations and geometric patterns that I think I can replicate with pie dough [and] fruit,” she explains. “What I create during a particular baking session is also often informed by produce that is in season and what’s currently in my fridge. My final products are generally happy accidents.”
What’s love quat to do with it? 🍊| Chocolate tart with chocolate glaze from @epicurious tiled with tangy kumquats. With Valentine’s approaching, consider this one luxuriant way to help you say “Kumquat may, I’ll love you to my pieing day.” (Even if it’s to yourself because let’s be real, you deserve every last crumbquat.)
But kiwi see it baked? 🥝| @evakosmasflores’ Blueberry Lemon Olive Oil Curd Tart with hand-cut green and gold kiwi tiles. | A small note of clarification: every other @lokokitchen post is a tart, which generally means that what you see IS the finished and baked version. 🤗 Cheers and thanks for following along! You’re incurdible. 💜💚
The day I met my mash. 🍠| I made this Purple Sweet Potato Pie for @food52 in November and remember being terrified of this ghastly color. But despite getting off to a bad starch, it baked into a much more pleasing shade. Not tuberd if I may say so myself. 🤓 Scroll down through my feed to find the finished version.
I can hardly beweave my eyes! 🙈| These pie crust edges are as ragged as I felt after attempting this basket weave. This one hurt the brain but the finished product was pretty satisfying. That’s about how 2017 felt—a year that saw many personal milestones, a smattering of tears, and one big colossal surprise (oh, hi, legion of lovely @lokokitchen friends!). Here’s to 2018 and all that pies ahead! 🥂
I must be a doughflake because I’ve fallen for you. ❄️| We got a rare white Christmas in Seattle, and I could not have been more stoked to stay inside all day, cozy in a fugly sweater and surrounded by my boisterous family and endless salty snax. 🙌🏽| I didn’t spend much time on @instagram, but was frostsmitten by your @lokokitchen creations! 😍I know I missed a ton, so give me a shout and tag me in the photos! I dough want to see. ✌🏽
Not for the faint of tart. 👹🖤| Eva from @bakestreet did this incredible weave with bread and I couldn’t get it out of my head. Her video tutorial made this gory Halloween variation unboolievably accessible. @bakingamoment’s chocolate pie crust with a jammy strawberry-cherry-raspberry filling. | Quería intentar el diseño que hizo @bakestreet con pan pero yo con una tarta (masa de tarta de chocolate por @bakingamoment). Gracias por el excelente vídeo, Eva—fue súper fácil seguir. Acá tienen tarta tipo Halloween de fresa-cereza-frambuesa. 👻
Ham bam, thank you, ma’am. 🐽| Doesn’t this look like woven mortadella? Now that we’ve all vommed… Colored pie crust has been clattering around in the back of my mind for months now but I haven’t had time to experiment. Then @linda_lomelino posted her luscious purple-crusted pie and took the guesswork out of it by sharing the recipe on her blog. 🙏🏽 I used freeze-dried raspberries I had on hand instead of blueberry powder, so things are only porcine in color. 🐷 Must run more tests! P.S. Peep @findfarah’s feed for more colored crust inspo. No disturpink deli meat debacles there… 😅