They say you can’t judge a book by its cover, but you can sure judge a pie by its crust.
Stephanie Hockersmith, the creator of Pie Lady Books on Instagram, shared her recipe for success with “GMA” on how she has combined her love of literature and culinary creativity.
“I’ve been making pies for 14 years and when I went gluten-free I decided I needed an awesome pie crust recipe — and just fell in love with the process of making pies,” she explained. “I also really love to read so about two years ago I started my account where I could talk about the books that I’m reading and loving.”
Last year, she was inspired by a book cover and came up with a way to incorporate the art into her crust using food coloring.
“It was just such a game changer,” she said of the addition of colors. “It became this huge passion for me that I never saw coming — There’s certain books that the covers just speaks to me and I think ‘I’ve gotta make this into a pie.’ Sometimes I make them into a pie before I even read them, but most of the time I’m trying to feature books that I’ve loved or am excited about.”
Her vibrant account with over 47K followers transforms a homemade gluten-free pie dough into works of pastry art that resemble the covers of her favorite books.
“The color matching process has become a really fun aspect for me,” she said of her pasty dough palette. “I’m still working through the process of figuring out what I can do with this dough, because a gluten has more elasticity — so I’ve been trying to push the boundaries of gluten-free dough and come up with designs that I really love and the color aspect has been a phenomenal part of that.”
Hockersmith has covered everything from Glennon Doyle’s “Untamed” to Britt Bennett’s “The Vanishing Half” and many other best-selling books.
Her recent crust cover of “The Girl with the Louding Voice,” by Abi Dare was one of her favorites to date.
“That book was phenomenal,” she said.”It had like a purple-ish crust with red flowers, it was just really fun. And I loved the book so much that I really poured my heart and soul into the pie.”
Hockersmith told “GMA” that it takes her about two hours start to finish to prep the dough, add the colors, adjust the ratios and shape the artistic pastry into a final product to take her photos.
“Sometimes they take me three hours, it just depends what I’m working with in terms of detail and how many colors — It takes a while to mix in all the colors,” she said.
But prior to getting in a groove with her handcrafted crusts, Hockersmith said “I would’ve told you I am the least artistic person in the world,” she said with a laugh. “Something happens to me when I’m using my exacto knife and my pie dough. Something happens in my brain and everything clicks,” she said. “This opened up a whole side of me I didn’t even know was there,” she said of things like color theory and design.
Hockersmith reviews the read and writes it up as a synopsis in the caption along with the corresponding book cover pies.
The Colorado-based baker also values the social responsibility that comes with her influence and following as a reader and promoter of literature.
“I think that I have a responsibility to highlight voices that maybe have not gotten as much attention as they should,” Hockersmith said. “I think it’s super important for me to be reading diverse authors and highlighting them — I take my role in that very seriously.”
Her favorite filling? Tart cherry with cinnamon and almond, which on top of being her own personal favorite, the sweet and sour summer favorite has also been an award-winning crowd pleaser in local baking competitions.
“I’m just so grateful that I have had the opportunity to promote books in this unique way because I think the pie draws people in — and then maybe they’ll stay and want to read the book,” she explained. “I think the thing that I love the most is when people say, ‘your post brought me so much joy — or I immediately ordered that book because of your pie and your review you introduced me to a new author that I love.'”
“This is why I do this because my whole goal is to promote these books about these authors that I love and these stories that I love, that have changed me and I want others to have the same experience.”