At first glance, the designs look like intricate works of cane and embroidery, but a closer inspection reveals them to be baked pies that are no less than edible works of art. This is because they’ve been created so beautifully. The master of this craft is none other than Helen Nugent, a self-taught pie-baker, based in Toronto, Canada.
Baking was in Nugent’s genes from the very beginning and, as far as she can remember, she grew up baking various goodies, motivated by her mother’s pie-making prowess. However, turning them into pieces of art came to her only five years ago. How she got this inspiration, she tells to bhg.com, thus, “I was going to a friend’s house for dinner and saw a beautiful pie with concentric circles of leaves on Pinterest that I thought I could pull off and bring for dessert. From that moment on, I was hooked.”
Practice makes perfect is Nugent’s mantra. She honed her baking skills on pies and tarts, creating incredible designs one after the other, which included geometric patterns and floral motifs. It’s thanks to her husband, Jim Brand, who photographed her creations and put them up on her Instagram page, @batterednbaked. Since her first post, her fan following has grown to almost 44,000 and counting.
With such success, it was only natural for Nugent to quit her job as a corporate writer and instruction designer and take up pie-making as a full-time hobby. She did not leave it at that but collaborated with the Food Network to run her baking blog videos and tutorials, aptly titled ‘Pie-Eyed Girl’. She has also figured in magazines, such as ‘Better Homes and Gardens’ and ‘Taste’ and on many social media platforms.
What’s more, she’s also writing a pie book with step-by-step instructions on how to create some of the designs she has displayed on Instagram. The book, titled ‘Pie Style’ is being published by Page Street Publishing and is set for release in September 2020. It can be pre-ordered from Amazon.
Nugent’s book has received a glowing review from ‘Better Homes and Gardens’, which says, “Just one look at Helen Nugent’s elaborate pies, and it’s clear she knows how to bake some gorgeous edible works of art…She tops them with mesmerizing patterns, contrasting textures, and abundant hits of color.”
And why not, Nugent has made this edible art as a medium to express herself.