Home of Economy-Herald pie recipes: Lunseth encourages readers to enjoy twists on recipes

For her first-round entry, Alexandra Lunseth submitted this pumpkin pie, with its brown sugar filling.

Brown Sugar Pumpkin by Alexandra Lunseth.jpg
"Brown Sugar Pumpkin Pie," by Alexandra Lunseth
Grand Forks Herald
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Alexandra Lunseth enjoys putting a twist on existing recipes. With a pumpkin pie she created for the Home of Economy-Grand Forks Herald Pie Bake-off earlier this year, she also adds notes to future bakers, always encouraging them to, as she says, “enjoy!”

Alexandra Lunseth.jpg
Alexandra Lunseth
Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald

“The following recipes are inspired by ‘The Book On Pie’, by Erin Jean McDowell. I’ve made adjustments to suit my family’s taste while following Erin’s methods as listed below,” Lunseth wrote in a pumpkin pie recipe she submitted to the contest.

“These recipes are as easy as pie and yet complex in flavor,” she said. “When put together, you create a twist on a traditional fall treat you will not be able to resist. Enjoy!”

Lunseth was one of 16 bakers to compete in the four-weeks-long tournament, which pitted bakers in head-to-head competition until a champion was finally crowned.

For her first-round entry, she submitted this pumpkin pie, with its brown sugar filling.


Following is Lunseth’s pumpkin pie recipe. During the holiday season, the Herald will be publishing the recipes of all 30 pies entered in this year's Home of Economy-Grand Forks Herald Pie Bake-off.

Recipes will variously publish in print, e-editions and online and will be compiled on the Herald's website.

Pumpkin Pie

Baker: Alexandra Lunseth

Hometown: Manvel, North Dakota

Business sponsor: Northern Roots Boutique

Parbaked Vanilla and Nutmeg All-butter Pie Crust

1-¼ cups all-purpose flour

¼ tsp sea salt


¼ teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg

Vanilla bean caviar from one vanilla bean

8 Tbsp cold unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch cubes

¼ cup ice water, plus more as needed

  1. Whisk together flour and salt. Add nutmeg and vanilla bean caviar. Add butter, tossing to coat. Press butter between your fingers to flatten. Continue tossing and pressing butter until pieces are about the size of walnut halves.
  2. Make a well in center of mixture. Add ice water and toss flour to mix. Add more water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until dough holds together. Form dough into a disk and wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes or up to 3 days.
  3. Lightly dust a surface with flour. Roll out dough, positioning rolling pin in center of dough, applying gentle pressure, and pushing it away from you. Repeat, rotating dough frequently, until dough is 1 inch wider than pie plate. Transfer to pie plate.
  4. Preheat oven to 425° F. Prick bottom of crust all over with a fork. Cut a square of parchment paper slightly larger than pie plate. Place on crust and fill with pie weights (up to inner rim of pie plate). Bake 15 to 17 minutes, until edges appear set and are just starting to brown. Remove pie from oven and use parchment paper to lift weights out of crust. Return crust to oven and bake until bottom appears set, 2 to 3 minutes more. Let cool completely. Fill and bake as directed. Enjoy!

* Note: The crust will appear darker in color due to the nutmeg, this is normal.
** If you would like to add cut outs to your pie, double the above recipe. Before first chill, split dough in half, wrapping in plastic wrap separately. Use one disk for the pie crust and one for the cut outs. Roll out dough after chilling and use your favorite cookie cutters to make the cut outs. Next, transfer cut outs to the fridge for a quick chill while you make an egg wash, get out white sugar for dusting, and parchment line a baking sheet. When you’re ready, brush the cutouts with the egg wash and sprinkle with sugar. Bake at 425° F for 7-9 minutes. Cool on wire rack. Top on any pie but especially brown sugar pumpkin. Enjoy!

Brown Sugar Pumpkin Pie Filling

3 large eggs

1 cup packed light brown sugar


1 tsp vanilla extract

2 cups canned pumpkin puree

2 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp ground ginger

Dash ground cloves

¼ tsp freshly ground nutmeg

½ tsp sea salt

½ cup evaporated milk


  1. Preheat oven to 375° F.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk eggs, brown sugar and vanilla until well combined. Add the pumpkin puree, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, nutmeg and salt and whisk until well combined. Add the evaporated milk and whisk well.
  3. Place parbaked  crust (recipe above) on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Pour filling into crust. Bake until custard appears set around edges (it may still be a big jiggly in the center), and crust reaches a nice dark golden-brown color, 35 to 40 minutes. Cool completely, then refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving.
  4. Top with Vanilla Dream Whipped Cream (recipe below). Enjoy!

Vanilla Dream Whipped Cream

1 cup heavy whipped cream

1 7-oz jar marshmallow fluff

1 Tbsp good vanilla

Beat cold, heavy cream on high speed until soft peaks form. Add marshmallow fluff and vanilla. Continue beating on high speed until incorporated, scraping down sides as needed. This Vanilla Dream Whipped Cream will form soft peaks, not hard peaks. Make just before needed. Enjoy!

More pies
Here is Olson’s recipe for “Strata Pie.” During the holiday season, the Herald published the recipes of all 30 pies entered in this year's Home of Economy-Grand Forks Herald Pie Bake-off.

Related Topics: GFH PIES
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