We see that you have javascript disabled. Please enable javascript and refresh the page to continue reading local news. If you feel you have received this message in error, please contact the customer support team at 1-833-248-7801.

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Once again, crust is king at Home of Economy-Grand Forks Herald Pie Bake-off

After two rounds, the original field of 16 has been sliced to just four. Read this story to see the winners, as well as photos of each of the eight pies judged during Round 2.

Jill Hanson pie delivery Aug. 29.JPG
Jill Hanson, of Newfolden, Minn., delivers her "Georgia Pecan Pie Delight" to the second round of judging of the Home of Economy-Grand Forks Herald Pie Bake-off on Monday, Aug. 29, 2022. Her cousin, Lucille Hinkley, looks on at left.
Korrie Wenzel/Grand Forks Herald
We are part of The Trust Project.

GRAND FORKS — As the judges in the Home of Economy-Grand Forks Herald Pie Bake-off scored the second-round pie baked by Evan Andrist, they did something they hadn’t yet done throughout the contest.

They cleaned their plate.

“The look of this pie is really pretty,” said Lane Leech, one of the contest judges and the head chef at Harry’s Steakhouse. “Can we take this one home?”

Brityn Proulx pie delivery Aug. 29.jpg
Brityn Proulx, 13, of East Grand Forks, delivers her pie to the second round of judging of the Home of Economy-Grand Forks Herald Pie Bake-off on Monday, Aug. 29, 2022. Her mother, Stormi, looks on in the background.
Korrie Wenzel/Grand Forks Herald

Andrist’s pie was a raspberry-chocolate silk creation topped with raspberry whipped cream, chocolate shavings and three decorative fresh raspberries. By luck of the draw, it was the first pie judged Monday morning, but finished with 111 points – the highest score of the day.

In the second round of head-to-head matchups, Andrist (sponsored in the contest by the North Dakota Mill), beat Peggy Raddatz (sponsored by Ground Round); Caitlin Olson (sponsored by Hope Church) beat Tammy Schmitz (sponsored by Alerus); Brityn Proulx (sponsored by Valley Senior Living) beat Alexandra Lunseth (sponsored by Northern Roots Boutique); and Jill Hanson (sponsored by Hugo’s) beat Brenda Dufault (sponsored by Toasted Frog).

ADVERTISEMENT

With Andrist’s pie, the judges notably discussed his crust ingredients, especially the use of “leaf lard,” which prompted the judges – two of whom have culinary degrees – to search Google in hopes of learning more.

Dufault Round 2 pie.jpg
Brenda Dufault's "Ooh-La-La Apple Pie," submitted for Round 2 of the Home of Economy-Grand Forks Herald Pie Bake-off.
Grand Forks Herald photo

According to a website called “The Spruce Eats,” here’s what they found: “Leaf lard specifically comes from the soft, visceral fat from around the pig's kidneys and loin. As such, it has a very delicate, super spreadable consistency at room temperature. This, along with its clean, un-porky flavor, is why leaf lard is considered the highest grade of lard.”

“I’ve never heard of leaf lard,” said Kristen Whitney, executive chef at the Museum of Art Cafe. “But this is yummy.”

Schmitz Round 2 pie.jpg
Tammy Schmitz's "Apple Cranberry Pie," submitted for Round 2 of the Home of Economy-Grand Forks Herald Pie Bake-off.
Grand Forks Herald photo

Whitney and Leech, along with Marsha Johnson of the Grand Forks Herald, again served as judges. The contest’s fourth judge, Jessica Rerick, could not attend after a potential exposure to COVID.

For each pie, the judges are given a single serving, presented on a plate that’s placed in the center of the table. Using fresh forks for each taste, they pick at, poke at and sample each entry. And throughout both rounds of the contest – 24 total pies so far – Andrist’s second-round pie was the only one that saw a serving entirely consumed.

Lunseth Round 2 pie.jpg
Alexandra Lunseth's traditional apple pie, submitted for Round 2 of the Home of Economy-Grand Forks Herald Pie Bake-off.
Grand Forks Herald photo

Andrist was in California last week and took advantage of some down time to do research.

“The whole flight back, I Googled different types of lard,” he said. “And it essentially came down to the fact that you want to use leaf lard.”

Turns out, he has a coworker who renders lard and – in a fortuitous coincidence – happened to have some on hand.

ADVERTISEMENT

Andrist’s 111 was good enough to beat the 82 points scored by Raddatz. In the other matchups, Hanson beat Dufault 110 to 100; Olson beat Schmitz, 106 to 87; and Proulx beat Lunseth, 79-74.

Andrist Round 2 pie .jpg
Evan Andrist's "Raspberry French Silk Pie," submitted for Round 2 of the Home of Economy-Grand Forks Herald Pie Bake-off.
Grand Forks Herald photo

The name of Andrist’s pie was named “Raspberry French Silk Pie.” Others were “Salted Caramel French Silk Pie,” by Raddatz; “Georgia Pecan Pie Delight,” by Hanson; “Ooh-La-La Apple Pie,” by Dufault; “Strata Pie,” by Olson; “Apple Cranberry Pie,” by Schmitz; “Salted Caramel Apple Pie,” by Proulx; and a traditional apple pie by Lunseth. The average score of the day was 94 points. Last week, which included 16 pies, the average was 69. The four winners from Monday move on to next week’s third round.

Hanson Round 2 pie .jpg
Jill Hanson's "Georgia Pecan Pie Delight," submitted for Round 2 of the Home of Economy-Grand Forks Herald Pie Bake-off.
Grand Forks Herald photo

“It was kind of like the next level of pie baking in this round,” Johnson said. “I think the bakers took some pointers from the article (in the Herald, published after the first round).”

Whitney agreed.

“I think last week, people were maybe trying too hard to make a perfect, beautiful slice. There might have been too much overthinking rather than letting the pie do what it’s supposed to do,” she said. “There was a lot of improvement. They listened to the comments that we made.”

Proulx Round 2 pie.jpg
Brityn Proulx's "Saltex Caramel Apple Pie," submitted for Round 2 of the Home of Economy-Grand Forks Herald Pie Bake-off.
Grand Forks Herald photo

Once again, crust was a central talking point.

In the first round, not many of the bakers used lard as the fat in their crust. This week, the majority did.

An interesting occurrence happened about halfway through this week’s judging. When the judges sampled Hanson’s crust, they correctly ascertained it was hers – even without having any definitive knowledge whose pie they were tasting. Hanson was the only baker in last week’s competition to have a perfect score from all judges in the crust category.

ADVERTISEMENT

The judges asked a Herald representative if it was the same baker. When they were told that they were not allowed to know until after the judging concluded, they discussed it with certainty anyway.

Olson Round 2 pie.jpg
Caitlin Olson's "Strata Pie," submitted for Round 2 of the Home of Economy-Grand Forks Herald Pie Bake-off.
Grand Forks Herald photo

“This is totally her,” Leech said. “I could eat the whole crust on this pie.”

Once again, Hanson had perfect crust scores, earning 45 points out of a possible 45. Andrist had the highest score in the filling category, earning 44 points out of 45, and Olson had the best presentation, earning 28 points out of 30.

Andrist, shortly after the contest, said he was feeling “pretty good.”

Raddatz Round 2 pie .jpg
Peggy Raddatz's "Salted Caramel French Silk Pie," with a chocolate replica of the Eiffel Tower, submitted for Round 2 of the Home of Economy-Grand Forks Herald Pie Bake-off.
Grand Forks Herald photo

“I was kind of worried about the filling,” he said, “but the presentation, I felt, was gorgeous.”

Sponsors of the contest are Home of Economy, the Grand Forks Herald, American Crystal Sugar Co., Wall’s Medicine Center, The Lighting Gallery, Bremer Bank, Valley Senior Living, Harry’s Steakhouse, Hugo’s, Hope Church, Altru Health System, the Grand Forks-East Grand Forks Chamber of Commerce, Ground Round, Blue Moose, North Dakota Mill, Alerus, Northern Roots Boutique, Toasted Frog and Greenberg Realty.

The contest continues on Tuesday, Sept. 6, and will conclude on Monday, Sept. 12. The pairings in Tuesday's third round will be Hanson vs. Andrist and Olson vs. Proulx.

Related Topics: GFH PIES
Korrie Wenzel has been publisher of the Grand Forks Herald and Prairie Business Magazine since 2014.

He is a member of the Grand Forks Region Economic Development Corp. board of directors and, in the past, has served on boards for Junior Achievement, the South Dakota Historical Society Foundation, United Way, Empire Arts Center, Cornerstones Career Learning Center and Crimestoppers.


As publisher, Wenzel oversees news, advertising and business operations at the Herald, as well as the newspaper's opinion content.



Wenzel can be reached at 701-780-1103, or via Twitter via @korriewenzel.
What to read next
"Coming Home" columnist Jessie Veeder writes about an abandoned farmstead that used to sit on her family's land near Watford City. She writes, "It's not so uncommon around here for a family to purchase land from neighbors or inherit an old family homestead, so there aren't many farmsteads around these parts that didn't come with an old structure lingering on the property, providing ranch kids with plenty of bedtime ghost story material."
This week, Don Kinzler addresses how to make a poinsettia bloom, whether herbicide-treated yard clippings are safe for compost and when to remove the stakes from a new tree.
Columnist Carol Bradley Bursack responds to some of the things readers commonly ask about her writing and how she chooses topics.
In this week's Growing Together column, Don Kinzler lists several perennials that offer a mix of fall blooms. "Fall-blooming perennials usher the growing season out with a flair," Kinzler writes.