The holidays are synonymous with festive feasts, and no spread would be complete without a little something sweet. The tradition is thought to have begun with the invention of fruitcake in ancient Rome, later adopted by England in the 1400s and then making its way to the colonies in the 1600s. We’ve come a long way from this dense treat but we all have a special item that this time of year just wouldn’t taste the same without. Head Baker Teddy Louloudes and Pastry Chef Leilana Haas of Anna Maria Bake House by The Chiles Group shed light on the inspiration behind some of their yuletide offerings and what items will rise to the occasion this time of year.

When asked about what makes baking and the holidays intertwined, Teddy Louloudes stated “they go hand in hand with everyone coming together and pitching in to make a great feast. It’s the time of year to use what farmers have produced and is a huge part of family traditions.” There’s no better example of this holiday labor of love than Sweet Potato Pie that the bakers have joined forces to come up with. This southern spin on the more traditional pumpkin pie option utilizes the large, sweet potato yield available this time of year from Gamble Creek Farms. Created completely from scratch, it’s the perfect alternative to bring to get-togethers because it has the feel of a classic pumpkin pie, with the bonus of being lighter and less sweet. 

Lielana Haas, The Chiles Group Pastry Chef, has brought her considerable talents and unique perspective to featured dessert specials at The Sandbar, The Beach House, and Mar Vista. She has been able to create some seriously magical items – the best example being her Bourbon Apple Crumble Pie. “It’s our way of offering an apple pie with a twist. The bourbon kicks it up a notch and is a staple in southern baking. The crisp topping goes great with the caramelized apples.”

When it comes to making lasting memories this time of year, food seems to be at the center for so many. Louloudes and Haas both share the sentiment that it means a lot for them to bring comfort to families, stating they also “love showcasing what we’ve been working on and to reach so many people is a great accomplishment for us and our bakery.” You’ll find the Sweet Potato Pie and Apple Bourbon Crumble Pie, along with Pumpkin Cheesecake and Pecan Pie, available to pre-order now and pickup on Nov. 23 and 24. Order online by Nov. 19!