Hello Candy's Sweets N Treats fam. We are so excited to be opening up our first bakery location in Rock Hill, SC. While I can barely sit still long enough to type, I thought I'd invite you all into our world by sharing some of the stories behind the flavor of our most popular desserts. While we are under construction follow our journey telling of the family and friends that helped lay the foundation for your favorite Candy's Sweets N Treats recipes. First up, Aunt Lil's Sweet Potato Pie!
Aunt Lil's Sweet Potato Pie
I am starting off my story behind the flavor series with my Aunt Lillian’s Sweet Potato Pie. It is the first recipe where I discovered I could make the exact dessert I wanted. For a girl who loves sweets its an amazing feeling to create your stomach's desires! It is also a family favorite. Aunt Lil was my father’s aunt. Her and my grandmother Sedora married brothers (grandpa). Aunt Lil was such a sweet lady and an amazing cook. I will never forget visiting her house on Long Island, New York. It was small, cozy and had a cute little sun room that I absolutely adored. Nothing better than being able to enjoy the air outside while eating one of her famous Sunday dinners.
How I Got the Recipe
My aunt was known all around for her sweet potato pie! She made it for holidays, church functions, family, friends and special requests. My mother told me of how Aunt Lil sent her a sweet potato pie while she was attending Spelman College in Atlanta, GA .
She said that aunt Lil warned her to take her time and not eat too much. Mommy then said “ chile I ate the whoooole pie” lol. Needless to say I fell in love with aunt Lil's sweet potato pie at an early age and it soon became my favorite baked dessert.
One day I really wanted some sweet potato pie and we were no where near Thanksgiving or a church afternoon service. You know the ones where you have morning service, the church cooks dinner and then you have another service with a guest church…Baptist church stuff. Anywho, I asked my mom if she knew how to make sweet potato pie. She said no but that aunt Lil makes the best. I asked her if she thought she’d give me the recipe and she said it couldn't hurt to ask. So I called my aunt Lil and asked in the sweetest “please gimmie” voice I could put together and said “ Aunt Lil can you give me the recipe to your sweet potato pie Pleeeeeeeeaaaaaase”. She said “ sure baby” and I raised my fist in victory. She told me how she made it and I asked "aunt Lil is there something your leaving out , because I feel like I taste .... in it'. She chuckled and replied "ooooooh chile I’ll let you figure that out, I can’t tell you all my secrets". Thinking back on it now I’m glad she left that special something out because it made me pay more attention to my pallet, while leaving room for me to make the recipe my own.
My Taste Tester
I took the recipe she gave me and got to work. Now it was time for the taste test. My number one taste tester was and still is my dad. You see my dad had grown up on aunt Lil’s famous sweet potato pies and was a sweets connoisseur because my grandmother Sedora and aunt Janice (daddy's sister) would bake all of the time. I was a bit gun shy and I couldn’t wait until the pie was completely baked for him to try it, so I had him taste the mix. He said it was good, but needed a little something. Then I thought about that special something I’d asked my aunt about and added it. When the pie was baked and cooled I cut a slice and brought it to my dad. He took a bite and his face lit up. He was like," that’s it, oooh girl that taste like aunt Lil’s" . Again I raised my fist in victory and proceeded it eat about 2/3 of the pie.
I was so happy and excited to be able to bake one of my favorite desserts I started baking them every week! I even brought them to school for a potluck and my multicultural foods class. My then teacher Mrs.Keener gave me so much praise and said , in her very rich Boston accent, "Candace this pie is delicious!". I gave a piece to another multicultural foods teacher named Mrs.Chamberlain who’s class I wasn’t in but she was kind of the coolest female teacher in the whole school. Who doesn’t love a southern woman that calls you baby, sugar and feeds you all the time. Some how it got around that I made sweet potato pies and before you know I was being asked to make them for money. Picture me, a sophomore in high school selling sweet potato pies to students and faculty!
That was the first time I ever sold a baked good. I peeled so many sweet potatoes my hands were stained orange. I couldn't believe I'd made something that my teachers would buy! I thank God for my aunt Lil sharing that recipe with me. She must have known I had the baking gene because she handled me like a chef. She gave me just enough to make it good and the room to make it great. Thank you aunt Lil !