Self-taught baker Jessica Leigh Clark-Bojin has created an incredible Baby Yoda pie.
The Vancouver mom says she didn't know how to crack an egg four years ago. Now she's a judge on the Food Network.
Clark-Bojin said she wants to prove that pie art isn't a "new fad," but the "uncovering of a lost art form."
It has been just a month since the world was introduced to Baby Yoda, but it's clear that people can't get enough.
And now Baby Yoda had been immortalized in pie crust at the hands of self-taught baker Jessica Leigh Clark-Bojin.
Insider spoke with Clark-Bojin about her Baby Yoda creation, her incredible baking career, and why she wants to keep taking pie art to new heights.
Jessica Leigh Clark-Bojin's Baby Yoda pie is part of her "12 Days of Crustmas" series on her Instagram page.
The Vancouver baker is making 12 festive pies to celebrate the holidays on her popular Instagram account.
"I've sketched out over 100 pie-deas in my notebook so far," she told Insider.
Clark-Bojin's son helped inspire the Baby Yoda pie.
"My 7-year-old son has a Lego 'Star Wars' advent calendar that comes with a little Porg in a Santa hat," she said, referring to the small bird creatures that appear in "Star Wars: The Last Jedi."
"When I saw the 'Baby Yoda sipping soup' video clips, I immediately thought of sticking a Santa hat on him and giving him some hot cocoa," she added.
It took Clark-Bojin two hours to sculpt and paint the Baby Yoda pie.
"The hardest part was the tiny candy cane and marshmallow in his cup," she said. "You can't sculpt that with pie dough, so you have to whittle away the dough instead."
Clark-Bojin also had to pop the pie in the freezer anytime it started to warm up.
The technique ensures that the pie dough doesn't get too soft.
She also kept the dough coated in egg white while she worked to protect it from drying out.
Clark-Bojin gave the Baby Yoda pie a raspberry filling.
"I liked the 'raspbaby' pun," Clark-Bojin said. "Yes, I often make flavor decisions based on pun potential!"
The Baby Yoda pie shows expert technique, but Clark-Bojin says that just four years ago she didn't even know how to properly crack an egg.
Clark-Bojin says she is a self-taught baker, learning the art of pies through plenty of research and experimentation.
Clark-Bojin first began baking pies purely for dietary reasons after she vowed to cut out refined sugar and sugar substitutes from her diet for a year.
"I became really desperate for some form of dessert that I could actually eat without cheating," she said. "I knew that I could theoretically make a decent-tasting pie using just apples, spices, and unsweetened shortcrust pastry — I just had no experience in the kitchen."
"At that point in time, I'd only ever used my oven to bake polymer clay figures," she added. "But I was determined."
So Clark-Bojin bought a box of Crisco, followed the instructions on the packet, and made her very first pie.
"It was pretty good!" she said. "I happened to cut out the shape of a dragon on top and my family thought that was neat, so I kept making artsy designs for my pie tops."
Clark-Bojin began searching online for more pie inspiration, but found that there was a surprising lack of fun pie art.
"I discovered that the art of decorative pie baking fell out of fashion about 200 years ago," she said. "And I kind of took it as a challenge to resurrect the art form."
Clark-Bojin wanted to make pies that reflected the pop culture she was passionate about.
"I'm a nerd," she said. "I make the annual pilgrimage to Comic Con, I have a room in the house dedicated to my Lego collection, I display vinyl figures in my dining room instead of china plates."
"My home is a shrine to the fantasy universes I grew up with, and the new ones I enjoy today. It's only natural for me to create homages to the games, films, comics, toys, and bands that I love."
Clark-Bojin found plenty of cakes, cookies, muffins, and even pancakes that were inspired by popular cartoons and comic book characters — but no pies.
"I thought it was terribly unfair that cakes, cookies, and cupcakes got to have all the fun," she said. "Pies taste great, exist in every culture on earth, and bring families together. They didn't deserve the stuffy reputation that had settled on them!"
Clark-Bojin briefly studied physics in school before pursuing a design degree, and quickly realized that both were crucial when it came to making pies.
"I approach pie baking like any other scientific experiment," she said. "I start with a hypothesis and series of assumptions based on research, then I design tests to see if my assumptions pan out. Then, I log the results."
"Having a basic understanding of chemistry helps me make better educated guesses about how elements will react in certain scenarios. Of course, sometimes my experiments blow up in my face — sometimes literally! But I log that too, and am able to make better assumptions in the future because of it."
"Having a decent grip on math and geometry helps too," she added. "Especially when calculating how much the dough will puff and shrink and how to adjust templates to account for that."
Clark-Bojin soon found that the key to making a great pie was learning to anticipate how pastry puffs and shrinks in the oven.
"Pie pastry is not like structural gingerbread, it changes quite a bit in the oven," she said. "And you want that! That's what makes it nice and flaky and pleasant to eat. But that's also what makes it challenging to work with as a structural medium."
"The problem isn't that pastry puffs and shrinks, it's anticipating how it will puff and shrink and accounting for that in your designs," she added. "But the nice thing is that, once you've figured out your template, you can reuse those design elements over and over without having to reinvent the wheel every time."
It was this realization that inspired Clark-Bojin to make "pie guides" that would help other novice bakers create the artistic pies of their dreams.
Clark-Bojin learned from fellow baker friends that many people tend to avoid making pie art because of how fast you must work with the dough so that it doesn't crack or dry out.
So Clark-Bojin designed a handful of templates, which included everything from a dragon to a unicorn, to speed up the process and help bakers create designs with their pie dough in under 10 minutes.
She launched a Kickstarter campaign to help fund the pie guides, which was a huge success. Clark-Bojin hit her fundraising goal in the very first hour that the Kickstarter launched.
Meanwhile, Clark-Bojin's popularity was taking off on Instagram. And it only increased after she began producing pie videos for the Food Network.
Clark-Bojin's Death Star pie video was viewed more than 30 million times the first week it was published.
Now Clark-Bojin is on the Food Network herself, recently appearing as a judge on "Thanksgiving Pie Fight."
The show, which aired last month, challenges four bakers to make creative holiday pies for a $10,000 prize.
Clark-Bojin has made hundreds of incredible pies. But her favorite to date is the Calvin and Hobbes "piescraper."
"That one gives me all the nostalgic feels," she said. "And I had fun doing the watercolor-style painting."
And the most difficult pie Clark-Bojin has ever made was definitely the Aladdin Palace, she said.
"It has a curved staircase that is wider at the bottom, and I had to calculate what the final radius of the curve would be post-bake to ensure it would all fit together correctly," she said. "That was a pain in the butt!"
The baker said she feels the most joy when she hits what she calls the "Pie Art Trifecta."
The "Pie Art Trifecta" is a pie that "looks delicious, is an attractive visual composition, and includes a technique or subject matter that is really clever, engaging, and charming," she said.
"I could paint a flat disc of dough beautifully and plunk it on top of a pie, but if it doesn't look like something people would want to eat then what's the point?" Clark-Bojin added. "I might as well just paint on canvas."
Clark-Bojin believes that being a self-taught baker has given her the freedom to experiment with techniques that she might never have tried had she been trained.
"I've had catastrophic fails along the way, of course," she said. "But I've learned from every experience and, after nearly four years of daily research and experimentation, I've hit upon some great techniques and best practices for doing things people thought were impossible to do with pie dough — and still end up with a great tasting pie."
And Clark-Bojin is keen to share her experiences with her followers, hoping to spread her love of pie art across the world.
"My mission is to prove to the world that pies can be every bit as magical and epic as any other dessert out there," she said. "To make that happen I need to proliferate my knowledge and findings, not hoard my techniques to myself."
Clark-Bojin posts free tutorial clips on her Instagram every week, spends at least an hour a day answering questions from her followers, and has just published an E-book version of her how-to book "Pie Modding."
"Nothing makes me happier than seeing everyone's gorgeous works of pie art around the holidays," she said. "And I'm thrilled that more and more people are taking the plunge and becoming pie-oneers too!"
Clark-Bojin hopes to one day see pies go head-to-head with extravagant wedding cakes and desserts.
"One day, I'd like to create a full wedding pie buffet, with multiple interconnected 'piescrapers,' mini pies, hand pies, pie pops — just a gorgeous wall of delicious pastry designed around a fantasy theme," she said.
"I have many drawings and I know exactly how I would do it. I just need to be able to justify spending a month solid on one project!"
But mostly, Clark-Bojin hopes she can prove that pie art isn't a "new fad" but the "uncovering of a lost art form."
"It's a way of expressing our love of food and pop culture, a way of discovering new cultures, new flavors, new techniques," she said. "Of stretching ourselves creatively and intellectually, a new way of providing special dessert treats for the health-conscious, a way of meeting new weird and wonderful people, a way of bonding with the next generation and passing on our love of baking."
"And most of all, a new way of having fun!"
Read the original article on Business Insider