Home-based bakery Pretty Pie Lady Creations delivers the goods

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By: Stephanie Weber
www.stephweber.com

Do you ever wonder how a company chooses its name? Like whether the ‘pull-a-name-from-a-hat’ trick triumphed after an uneventful all-night brainstorming session? While there’s nothing wrong with that tactic, it’s always intriguing to hear when there’s actually some history behind a name.

Take Pretty Pie Lady Creations, for instance.

Owner and creator Kara Rittenour, certainly has one of those interesting stories to tell. After relocating to South Bend from Ohio about six years ago, she and her family would often have get-togethers with other local families they’d befriended. And never one to miss an opportunity to bake, she would bring pie to share—chocolate peanut butter pie, to be specific.

“I would always bring pie,” said Rittenour. “One of the dads there told me, ‘My son always asks if that pretty pie lady [will] be there.’” Apparently, the little boy’s grandma, whom they only saw a few times a year, would also make chocolate peanut butter pie, his favorite.

So when Rittenour decided to take the plunge and start a home-based bakery, the beloved nickname topped the pile of business name suggestions. “I actually felt a connection to it. It was nice to have something with a genuine story behind it,” she said. 

For the love of baking

With the official launch less than a year ago in July 2013, a lifetime of baking dreams have come true for Rittenour. She has fond childhood memories of watching her own mom bake from scratch, and largely credits that for her innate baking skills today. “I grew up in a kitchen where my mom was standing at the stove,” she said. “As a kid, you want to be near your mom, so I have good memories of being in the kitchen and basically learning by watching.”

And although she uses family recipes, don’t be fooled into thinking they’re typical. “I like to think of my recipes as a twist on a classic,” said Rittenour. She’s done just that with her signature best-selling pie: chocolate chip pecan. “It’s the one I’m very well-known for.”

Ditching the diets

Though she’s perhaps best known for her decadent pies, Rittenour has many more baking tricks tucked behind her apron. From scrumptious Oreo cupcakes to cranberry-studded white chocolate macadamia nut cookies, she’ll find a treat to appeal to most anyone’s sweet tooth. For those with dietary restrictions like gluten intolerance, she’ll happily send deprivation packing. Certainly her four-layer gluten-free strawberry vanilla cake with fresh strawberry cream filling and caramel buttercream frosting would get anyone’s mouth watering, allergies or not.

Rittenour is able to accommodate other dietary restrictions too, and encourages people to contact her to discuss their individual concerns. “I’m in the early stages of experimenting with other dietary needs. A lot of my pies can accommodate dairy-free or sugar-free. I will make sure it’s good, but [sometimes] it won’t taste like my original product,” she said. 

Whipping up success

Pretty Pie Lady Creations is just getting started. Rittenour currently has a website in development, with plans to begin shipping her products shortly thereafter. Beyond that, her ultimate dream would be to have a storefront in downtown South Bend.

As advice for others looking to make the leap, she offered these gems. “If you have a good product and good motivation for why you’re doing it, I don’t think you can fail. I would tell people to go for it. If this had failed, that would be okay—at least I tried. You just have to figure out what you love doing, and you’ll be fine.”

Ready to try a Pretty Pie Lady dessert for yourself? Find Rittenour on Facebook or at an upcoming South Bend Farmers Market

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