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Thanksgiving pies (almost) too pretty to eat

The first Thanksgiving pie that Lauren Ko made was a disaster.

She watched her in-laws politely chew through an undercooked, runny marionberry pie. “I was mortified,” she said over the phone while riding the bus to her full-time job as an executive assistant at Seattle Colleges.

The West Seattleite behind these perfect pies is no pro.

She bakes for fun on the weekends, inspired by pictures and recipes other bakers post online (she recommends following Jo Harrington and Julie Jones).

The Thanksgiving incident turned her off baking for a while, but this summer, when fresh produce was abundant, she tried again.

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With humble tools—a roller, a pie cutter and a pie dish—she made crust into canvas.

She does it all manually—no mandolin slicer. Just careful cuts with a very sharp knife.

Within a few months of sharing her creations on Instagram this year, she’s amassed more than 30,000 online followers. Almost as artful as her pies: the punny photo captions. (“Life’s a peach and then you pie.”)

Her portfolio would probably put Martha Stewart to shame, but Ko insists she’s a novice with lots to learn. One secret of pie she knows now: Cold is your friend.

“Keep the dough cold. And resist handling it too much.”

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This year, Ko should be headed home for the holiday with her head held high and her arms full of pies, of course.