Meet Linda Hundt – Owner of Sweetie-Licious Bakery Café, cookbook author, inspirational speaker, 17 time National Pie Winner and Food Network Amazing Pie Challenge Best in Show Winner. Linda is well known for her delicious pies and retro style. Learn more about Linda here and check out a few of her pie recipes!
Tell us a little about your background – did you always love to bake?
Linda: I started baking with my easy bake oven and I really connected the dots between baking and love, when all of a sudden my 3 older brothers liked me! I loved baking for people and making them feel loved through that. So I’ve always been homing my skills and baking pies for people.
As far as how I got to where I am today, my career path was a little different. I got a teaching degree, but there were no teaching jobs, so I worked in politics and then had a family. One day I had an epiphany – I had to use these gifts I had and bake for people.
My shop actually started on my porch with a refrigerator! Now Sweetie-licious has been around for nine years and I’ve got three shops total. My cookbook came out in October 2013 and we’re also the exclusive pie baker for Williams-Sonoma.
What’s the story behind your cookbook, Sweetie-Licious Pies?
Linda: My mission personally and professionally is to love people – my family, customers, everyone in my presence. I feel that I also need to carry on traditions and keep the art of pie baking alive and well. So I’ve always admired cookbooks – I always looked at my mom’s vintage cookbook, and it was a dream to write my own and keep the traditions alive. I have people who will watch me roll pies out and get them in the oven and ask what I’m doing. They’ve never seen a pie being made at home. It’s something we all need to do at some point for our family.
The cookbook really carries on the tradition of pie baking. Each recipe has a story and a tradition. If we have family recipes it’s important to pass them on. Sharing some of my special recipes was important. All of the recipes are our own and original.
What’s your favorite pie?
Linda: That’s like picking a favorite child! I’m a huge pie lover. The great thing about pies is they’re seasonal. I never get tired of them. I just love them all!
Do you have any tips for making a great pie?
Linda: I recommend making several crusts at a time and freezing them. That way, you can make several pies through the season.
Practice is huge – you need to keep practicing. It’s tough to do anything once a year. Once you get the hang of pie-making, it comes easily. You’re able to make pies your own and it becomes easier and easier.
Work with spices of the holiday season. I love to promote people making pies their own by playing around with different spices. That makes them really special.
Give yourself time and patience to bake. I put on Frank Sinatra music and light candles and it’s wonderful. Standing back for the hurried life that we all live and really baking a pie and be in the moment is great advice.
Don’t give up – you can do it!
Bake your pies long enough. Many people under bake their pies and then they have runny pies. Check the middle of the pie for doneness – a knife should go in with no resistance when it’s done.
Learn more about Linda at www.sweetie-licious.com