Introduction: Apple Pie W/ Cinnamon Roll Crust

There's just something about baking a pie from scratch.

I made a similar version of this pie years ago, and even wrote an Instructable on it. But I decided it was time for a some upgrades -- visually and ingredient-wise. The previous version was not vegan and this one is. However, you wouldn't know it was vegan if you didn't first look at the ingredients and no one told you. It tastes like the simple, classic dessert you remember from childhood. I baked mine in a cast iron skillet to add to the rustic vibe, but you could also use a regular pie pan.

I also thought I'd add a few footnotes sprinkled throughout this Instructable that discuss some of the kitchen tips and tricks I use often.

"If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the universe." -- Carl Sagan


For the two crusts:

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour + more for rolling out the dough
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup vegan butter
  • 1/2 cup ice water

For the cinnamon roll filling:

  • 2 tablespoons vegan butter, separated
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon, separated
  • 2 teaspoons granulated sugar, separated

For the pie filling:

  • 6 Granny Smith apples, cored, peeled, and sliced thinly
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon melted vegan butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Topping ideas (optional):

  • Ice cream
  • Caramel sauce
  • Whipped cream

Step 1: Make the Crust

Mix the flour, sugar, and salt in a bowl with a fork. Add the vegan butter to the bowl and mix with your hands, pinching with your fingers. Add the water a tablespoon at a time and continue mixing with your hands. If the dough starts sticking together when you pinch it, then don't add the rest of the water. If it's crumbly, add more water until it stays together. Briefly knead the dough, making sure not to over-knead it. Separate the dough in half, flatten them into discs, and wrap them in plastic wrap. Place them in the refrigerator for half an hour.

*Elly's kitchen tip #1: If you need to soften a stick of butter (vegan or otherwise) quickly, pour hot water into a glass and let it sit for ten seconds. Then pour out the hot water and put the glass upside down over the stick of butter on the counter. It should soften right up!

Step 2: Make the Crust, Cont.

Take the dough out of the fridge and roll it out on a floured surface. Try to make it as rectangular as possible. Spread the softened vegan butter and sprinkle the cinnamon and sugar on top. Roll up the dough from the short side and wrap in plastic wrap. Repeat for the other dough disc. Work on the filling (next step) while they chill in the fridge.

*Elly's kitchen tip #2: If you don't have a rolling pin, don't fret! You can always use a tall glass or tumbler. I don't own a rolling pin and I always use my tall, stainless-steel tumbler. It works perfectly!

Step 3: Make the Filling

Cut the apples while the cinnamon roll dough is in the fridge. Mix the brown sugar, corn starch, cinnamon, and vanilla together in a bowl. Add the apple slices and mix around until all the apples are coated.

*Elly's kitchen tip #3: To keep apples from browning while you're cutting them, stir them in a bowl with a couple squirts of lemon juice.

Step 4: Make the Crust, Cont.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Lightly sprinkle your cast iron skillet with flour and set aside. Get the cinnamon roll dough out of the fridge and cut small cinnamon rolls into 1/2 inch slices. On a lightly floured surface, press out the cinnamon rolls, and flatten them further with your rolling pin. Transfer this crust to your skillet. Make the top crust in the same way, and set aside.

*Elly's kitchen tip #4: Use floss to cut cinnamon roll dough! Make sure to use the unflavored (non-minty) floss. Using floss instead of a knife keeps the dough from squishing the wrong way.

Step 5: Add the Filling and the Top Crust

Pour in the apple mixture on top of the bottom crust. Don't worry if it looks too full, as the apple mixture will cook down in the oven. Gently lay the top crust over the apple mixture and crimp the edges together with a fork.

Elly's kitchen tip #5: Most people know not to use soap on cast iron skillets when washing them. However, if there's some serious grime stuck to yours, you can use some sea salt and some warm water and scrub with a dedicated sponge.

Step 6: Bake

Bake the pie for about 40 minutes. Remove from the oven and brush the crust with melted vegan butter. Bake for ten more minutes, or until the cinnamon roll crust gets golden and the apple filling gets bubbly.

Elly's kitchen tip #6: Baking a pie in a well-seasoned cast iron skillet results in beautifully browned crust that's flaky and delicious. Cast iron is great for baking because it retains heat and conducts it evenly. Hot spots can occur with glass and ceramic pie plates, but cast iron is sure to give you an even crust.

Step 7: That's It!

Allow the pie to cool almost completely so the filling can thicken. Serve warm with a topping of choice, such as caramel sauce, whipped cream, or vanilla ice cream, or by itself. Leftover pie can be covered and refrigerated.

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