We’re a little ahead of the first day of Fall (10 more days!), but I’ve officially allowed myself to start including fall flavors in my baking. Baking seasonally means that you’re working with the best flavors, and Fall flavors are amazing! In honor of apple season, which is now in full swing, I bring you this Cinnamon Roll Apple Pie. Good ol’ apple pie topped with cinnamon rolls and drizzled with a cream cheese glaze.
Fall is my absolute favorite season, but it didn’t used to be. Growing up, Spring was my favorite season. It wasn’t until I was in college that I changed my mind.
I went to college in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. There, when you arrive to start classes at the end of August, you can already see that the trees have juuuust begun to change. Those crisp mornings walking to class in one of the most beautiful places on Earth changed me in more ways than one, but making the Fall season dear to my heart was one of them.
Add to that the hayrides, apple picking with warm doughnuts and cider, hoodies and boots, jumping in piles of leaves… Fall. Is. The. Best.
Here’s the (seriously unfortunate) thing: Texas doesn’t have Fall. It’s still hot and there’s no color change to speak of. No apple orchards. From now through the holidays I’ll be homesick, and the best way that I have to combat that is with familiar Fall flavors and comfort food.
Two comfort foods that are made routinely at my house, especially in the fall, are my Mom’s Cinnamon Rolls and apple pie. While preparing to begin the recipes, it struck me how much I wanted cinnamon rolls and apple pie. Together! I decided that what I really *needed* was a Cinnamon Roll Apple Pie. (And I eventually made Apple Pie Cinnamon Rolls, too!) 🙂
You’ll want prepare the cinnamon roll recipe first, since the dough needs time to rise. I used a half recipe of my Mom’s Cinnamon Rolls. You can also prepare the whole recipe, use half for the pie, and bake up the other half for breakfast. That’s what I did. 🙂 (Check out the recipe instructions and notes for some tips on this.)
While the cinnamon rolls were rising, I made the pie crust. I use a pastry blender to help with the process. While a pastry blender isn’t necessary to cut in the shortening (you can use a fork), it does make the job faster and easier. If you’re looking to buy one for yourself, you can find one [here].
I sautéed the apples with sugar and cinnamon before baking, just to make sure that they were done at the same time that the crust and cinnamon rolls were. If you prefer a softer apple filling, nearly cook the apples through at this stage. If you prefer more texture/bite to your apple pie, you need only cook them until their juices are released. I then reduced the juices to syrup and add them back to the pie, to ensure maximum flavor and a minimum of juice to make the pie soggy.
The amount of sugar that you want to add to the apples will depend greatly on the number/type of apples used and your personal preference for how sweet you want your pie. I used granny smith apples, which of course are tart, and 3/4 cup sugar was perfect. You may want to scale the sugar back a bit if you’re using sweeter apples.
Once all the prep is complete and your cinnamon rolls have risen, your pie pan is lined with the crust, and your apples are sautéed, it’s time for assembly. I add the apples and reduced juice to the unbaked pie crust, and top with thinly-sliced cinnamon rolls.
I decided that if my cinnamon rolls get topped with cream cheese frosting, that my pie NEEDED cream cheese glaze. It comes together really easily, and leaves the pie with a beautiful finish.
So, while this will be my third missed Fall since I moved to Texas, I can close my eyes, pretend the AC isn’t on full blast, and *taste* Fall. It’s pure magic that food can do that. <3
Other posts you may like:
Cinnamon Roll Apple Pie
- 1/2 recipe Mom's Cinnamon Rolls, cut into 1/2" slices (see recipe notes for link)
Single Pie Crust:
- 1 1/2 cups flour
- 10 Tbsp vegetable shortening, cold and diced (1/2 cup + 2 Tbsp)
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1 Tbsp white vinegar
- 3 Tbsp water, cold
Apple Pie Filling:
- 5-7 apples, peeled and sliced
- 3/4 cup sugar (see note)
- 2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp lemon juice
Cream Cheese Glaze:
- 1 Tbsp cream cheese
- 2 Tbsp powdered sugar, sifted
- 1 1/2 tsp milk
For Cinnamon Rolls:
- Prepare half recipe Mom's Cinnamon Rolls (link in blog post and recipe notes!). You can also prepare the whole recipe, use half for the pie, and bake up the other half for breakfast. 🙂
- While cinnamon rolls are rising (their first rise), prepare the rest of the pie.
- In a medium bowl, combine flour and cold, diced vegetable shortening. Using a pastry blender (see note) or fork, cut shortening in until no large pieces remain.
- In a small bowl, combine egg, vinegar, and cold water. Whisk to combine.
- Make wells in the flour mixture, and pour the egg mixture into the wells. Stir until a soft dough is formed. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead slightly into a ball.
- Roll dough to fit the bottom of your pie plate, ensuring that you don't stretch the dough (as this will cause it to shrink when baked). Set lined pie plate aside.
For Apple Filling:
- Combine all filling ingredients in a sauté pan. Over low heat, cook the apples until softened and their juice has been released. If you prefer a softer apple filling, nearly cook the apples through at this stage. If you prefer more texture/bite to your apple pie, you need only cook them until juices are released.
- Using a slotted spoon, transfer the apples to the lined pie plate, leaving as much juice as possible in the sauté pan.
- Cook juices over medium-low heat until reduced to a syrup. Pour syrup over apples and set pie plate aside.
- Preheat oven to 375F while you finish assembling the pie.
- Once the cinnamon rolls have completed the first rise, cut rolls into 1/2" slices and arrange on top of the apples (I used 16 slices on my pie).(If you opted to make the whole batch of cinnamon rolls, this is where you cut the rest as specified in the cinnamon roll recipe and set them aside for their second rise before baking them.)
- Place the pie on a baking sheet (to save your oven in the event any juices bubble over), and bake 30 minutes. If at any point the cinnamon rolls are getting too brown, cover the pie with foil.Allow pie to cool at least 20 minutes before drizzling with cream cheese glaze.
For Cream Cheese Glaze:
- Combine all glaze ingredients in a small bowl. Microwave the mixture on 10-second intervals to get to a thin, smooth consistency.
- Pour glaze into a zip-top bag, seal, and cut the corner of the bag. Drizzle the cream cheese glaze over the top of the pie.Enjoy!