Behind the Photo: When Pie Crust Is the Star

January 29, 2024Content Strategy Tips, Food Photography

For photographing any food, the first question is, What are we selling? In this case, it was a frozen pie crust, not the recipe that accompanied it.

When any client needs a recipe and an image, my first question is, What are you selling?

That’s followed by, Who’s your audience?

What is a recipe, really?

This is the case whether it’s a brand or an editorial outlet. The clearer we can be about the focus (what we’re selling) and the audience (the customer), the better I can craft an effective recipe and image.

When the folks at Palm Done Right, an international campaign focused on sustainably sourced palm oil, came to me for a series of recipes and images, they wanted to focus on their partner brands.

How to pick a winning cover recipe>>

A Beautiful Apple Pie Crust

Among the partner products they wanted to highlight was a frozen vegan apple pie. Red palm oil has a buttery flavor and rich texture, making for a lovely, flaky pastry. That was the star and the selling point.

I suggested a super-simple recipe for whipped coconut cream as an easy vegan accompaniment. After all, if someone’s baking a frozen pie, they won’t want to spend much time on a recipe to garnish it.

I quickly realized that this was going to be more of a product shot than a recipe image. So I opted for an overhead angle to show off that glorious golden, flaky crust because even the filling was secondary to the “story.”

What Does Your Food Photographer Need to Know?

Need recipe development and photography for your brand?


Apple Pie Crust with Spiced Maple Coconut Cream

Spiced Maple Whipped Coconut Cream

This rich, vegan whipped coconut cream is an easy garnish for homemade or store-bought pie.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Course Condiment, Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 12


  • 1 electric mixer
  • 1 medium bowl


  • 1 can unsweetened coconut cream, refrigerated overnight
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • teaspoon ground cinnamon


  • Scoop hardened coconut cream that has risen to the top of the can into a medium bowl. (Use the remaining liquid in the can in soups or smoothies or to cook rice.) Use an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment to whip the cream until light and fluffy. Whip in the maple syrup and cinnamon. Serve immediately.
  • (Makes about 1¼ cups.)
Keyword condiment, vegan, vegetarian


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