Home of Economy Herald Pie nominee Brenda Dufault earned an excellent reputation at the church’s fundraiser – Grand Forks Herald

GRAND FORKS – Brenda Dufault’s experience in the kitchen was sparked at her childhood home near Adams, ND

In recent years it has been refined by a desire to raise money for their local church and an affiliated school.

“So many people donated different things. I wanted to be able to donate, too,” Dufault said of Holy Family Catholic Church’s annual fundraiser in Grand Forks. “My husband does woodwork and donated a couple of benches, and I saw that one year someone donated a cake. I thought, ‘What can I donate?’ ”

And then an idea: pies. Actually 12 months cake for the highest bidder.

“It was pretty popular,” Dufault said. “At one point I just went to six months cake — it got a bit much for me.”

But her reputation as a pie-maker was tarnished — so much so that when Home of Economy and the Grand Forks Herald called on the community’s top pie-makers to volunteer for a four-week tournament this summer, Dufault began to feel some good-natured pressure, hers throwing an apron into the ring.

“My daughters were like, ‘Mom, you have to go in there,'” she said, noting that she had also heard from other community members who know of her pastry making background.

“And I think I make a good coconut cream cake,” she said.

Dufault is among 16 bakers selected to compete in the first-ever Home of Economy Grand Forks Herald Pie Bake-off, a tournament that will highlight some of the best bakers in the community and beyond. The four-week event begins on Monday, August 22nd.

Dufault is sponsored by Toasted Frog, a restaurant with locations in downtown Grand Forks, Fargo and Bismarck.

Now back to this coconut cream cake.

“It’s a recipe from my mother-in-law. She just kind of throwed it together, so these are notes from her. I don’t know if I’ve seen a similar recipe anywhere. We had to fight her to write the recipe because she was just doing it in her head,” Dufault said. “I probably hadn’t even tried a coconut cream cake until I had hers. It was always a hit.”

Dufault, a mother of three adult daughters, said she has always enjoyed cooking, but her enjoyment has grown as her family has grown.

She grew up on the family farm near Adams and moved to Grand Forks in 1980 to visit AND. She is a former employee of the Grand Forks Herald, where she met her husband Greg.

Back on the farm, she helped her mother support the family – including two older brothers.

“We took care of the baking and cooking and brought food to the boys in the field,” she said. “I don’t really remember making too many cakes with my mum – I didn’t actually bake cakes until later, after I got married.

“I’ve always loved desserts and I was just interested in finding all kinds of desserts that I could make,” she said. “I’d rather eat dessert than a main meal.”

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