Home of Economy-Herald Pie Bake-off's Evan Andrist's pies: Locally sourced for local charities
Andrist is sponsored by the North Dakota Mill and Elevator.
GRAND FORKS – Evan Andrist admits that the first time he baked a pie, it didn’t turn out well.
“I misread the ingredients and used two cups of salt and one teaspoon of sugar,” he said. “My dad tried it and said, ‘this pie is interesting.’ ”
He was 12 then, but was hooked on baking nonetheless.
Andrist is among the bakers chosen for the Greater Grand Forks Pie Bake-off, sponsored by Home of Economy and the Grand Forks Herald. The 16-person tournament begins Aug. 22; Andrist is sponsored by the North Dakota Mill. In addition to being Andrist's sponsor, the North Dakota Mill also is supplying all contestants with complimentary scrapers and flour.
In the years since his questionable first attempt at pie-making, baking has been associated with some of Andrist’s important lifetime milestones.
On one of his first dates with the woman who would one day become his wife, they went to a pumpkin patch.
“Both of us were like, ‘you know what? We’ve never made homemade pumpkin pie.’ So now, every year, we make homemade pumpkin pie,” Andrist said.
And here’s another: For a couple of years now, Andrist – a member of the local Sertoma Club – has volunteered to make up to 50 apple pies during the holiday season. Sertoma then sells the pies and donates the proceeds to local charities. The first recipient was the Altru Health System Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, where Andrist’s newborn daughter spent a week receiving care.
The apples come from his trees and the trees of neighbors – “all locally sourced apples,” he said.
“It just so happened that one day, I realized I had a bunch of apples left over, so I brought it up at a Sertoma meeting,” he said. “Now, every year, we donate to a different organization.”
And speaking of locally sourced ingredients, Andrist might unveil a juneberry-rhubarb pie during the baking contest. If he does, the main ingredients will come from his backyard. It’s the same for a potential pumpkin pie recipe – he grew the pumpkins himself, pureed them in the fall and froze them in anticipation of making pies this year.
“I already know my pie selection lineup. I’m already practicing,” he said during a recent interview before the start of the Home of Economy-Grand Forks Herald Pie Bake-off. “I think (the contest) is awesome – it’s so much fun. I like baking pies, so I thought ‘let’s try it out.’ It gives me a chance to showcase my pie-making and it gives me a good excuse to make pies.”
Andrist, an electrical engineer for Lunseth Plumbing and native of Crosby, N.D., came to Grand Forks to attend UND. He met his wife, Danielle, there and has been in town ever since. They have two young children and two dogs.
He volunteers with Sertoma and also at his church.