Home of Economy-Herald Pie Bake-off recipes: Alexandra Lunseth's take on traditional apple pie

Nov. 30—In a monthlong pie-baking tournament, it seems natural there would be a host of apple pies placed before the contest's judging panel.

But can apple pies really be all that much different? Alexandra Lunseth apparently thinks so.

Lunseth, of Manvel, was among 16 bakers who participated in the first Home of Economy-Grand Forks Herald Pie Bake-off earlier this year. In the second round, she submitted her take on a traditional apple pie, which she titled "Apple Pie, with Dark Sugar Spiced Filling and Flaky Butter Crust." Like most apple pies, it was brimming with fresh apples, with filling that gently oozed up along the edges. But she differentiated her entry with ornate decorating, including braided strips across the top and a number of flaky cutout leaves.

Lunseth earned a first-round win in the tournament before losing her second-round matchup.

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.

Baker: Alexandra Lunseth

Hometown: Manvel, North Dakota

Business sponsor: Northern Roots Boutique

Flaky Butter Crust

2- 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more to dust

1/2 Tbsp granulated sugar

1/2 tsp fine sea salt

1/2 lb. COLD unsalted butter (2 sticks), diced into 1/4 inch pieces

7 Tbsp ice water (7 to 8 Tbsp)


1. Place flour, sugar and salt into the bowl of a food processor and pulse a few times to combine.

2. Add cold, diced butter and pulse the mixture until coarse crumbs form with some pea-sized pieces, then stop mixing. Mixture should remain dry and powdery.

3. Add 7 Tbsp ice water and pulse just until moist clumps or small balls form. Press a piece of dough between your fingertips and if the dough sticks together, you have added enough water. If not, add more water a teaspoon full at a time. Be careful not to add too much water or the dough will be sticky and difficult to roll out.

4. Transfer dough to a clean work surface and gather dough together into a ball (it should not be smooth and DO NOT knead the dough). Divide dough in half and flatten to form 2 disks. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate1 hour before using in recipes that call for pie crust.

Apple Pie Filling

4 Granny Smith apples and 3 Honeycrisp apples, peeled and thinly sliced

1- 1/2 tsp cinnamon

8 Tbsp unsalted butter

3 Tbsp all-purpose flour

1/4 cup water

1 cup packed dark brown sugar

1/4 cup white granulated sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp find sea salt

1 egg + 1 Tbsp water, for egg wash

1 Flaky Butter Crust recipe (above)


1. Make the pie crust recipe and chill per instructions while preparing the filling. Preheat oven to 425° F.

2. Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in 3 Tbsp flour, then simmer for 1 minute, whisking constantly. Whisk in 1/4 cup water, 1 cup dark brown sugar, 1/4 cup white sugar and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and continue simmering 3 minutes, whisking frequently then remove from heat. Add salt and vanilla and whisk to combine. Set aside.

3. Peel, remove cores and thinly slice 7 cups of apples and place them in a large bowl. Sprinkle the top with 1- 1/2 tsp cinnamon and toss to combine. Pour the sauce over the apples and stir to coat the apple slices.

4. Sprinkle your work surface with flour and roll out bottom pie crust to a 12" diameter circle. Wrap it around your rolling pin to transfer it to the 9" pie plate. Add apple mixture, mounding slightly in the center and being careful not to get the filling on the edges, which would make it difficult to seal.

5. Roll second crust into an 11" round and cut into even thickness strips using a pizza cutter. Arrange strips in a woven lattice pattern over the top. However, any top crust design you are feeling at the moment will do. Beat together 1 egg and 1 Tbsp water and brush the top with egg mixture. Place pie on a parchment lined rimmed baking sheet to catch drips.

6. Bake at 425° F in the center of the oven for 15 minutes. Reduce the heat to 350° F and continue baking another 45 minutes or until apples are soft and filling is bubbling through the vents. Rest at room temperature until completely cooled before slicing. Best served warm slightly, with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and coffee. Enjoy!