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.”