We are lucky enough to have two apple trees on our property. Every fall I gather up baskets, and baskets, and more baskets of apples... I am the gatherer of the family. What do I do with all the apples? A few things actually... I make cider, and apple sauce, but by far my favorite thing is apple pie filling freezer bags.
To make these I take about 10 apples (our apples are kind of small) and use my handy slicer/corer, which I got from my mom for Christmas, and get to work. Once they are cored and sliced I throw them all in a bowl add 1 cup of brown sugar, a squirt of lemon juice, a pinch of salt, a table spoon of cinnamon, and 1/4 cup of butter (cubed) and mix. Then freeze those bags and anytime I want to make apple pie I just thaw a bag out and delicious apple pie here I come! This fall I will do a post all about making the filling so you can see it step by step. But for now let me tell you about my favorite thing to make with these freezer bags... Cinnamon Roll Apple Pies!!!
Once you have your filling made it is really easy to pull this pie off. Especially if you are like me and like to do things the easy way. I use store bought premade cinnamon rolls which makes this recipe really simple. If you want to go full out and make the cinnamon rolls for crust from scratch more power to you. But for me this saves time and allows me to pull off the "super mom" appearance momentarily. Because you know I really spent all day cleaning up the same mess over, and over again following around my little tornados.
So, first things first. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Get out your pie pan and spray that down with a light layer of cooking spray. You can use butter if you want, but make sure you don't skip this step. If you do, your crust might end up sticking to the pan and that would be a sad, sad day.
Take out each cinnamon roll one at a time and lay it out on some parchment paper. Looks pretty good for store bought huh? Don't forget to set aside those little packets of frosting, you are going to need them later after your pie is done cooking.
Fold the parchment paper in half over the top of the cinnamon roll. You don't need individual pieces of parchment paper for each cinnamon roll you are just going to reuse this piece for each cinnamon roll.
Apply a little bit of downward pressure as you roll the cinnamon rolls flat. If you need a reference for how thin to flatten them to I would guess about 1/8 of an inch thick at this point. Now, if you want to be a little messier you could totally squish the cinnamon rolls flat with your hands. I have done that before, but I think it is a little easier to form it into a crust if they are a little more uniform.
You can see how I kind of lay them out, barely overlapping them at first. Then once I get the whole area covered I begin cutting my flattened cinnamon rolls in half and do a second offset layer around the edges. I usually have one cinnamon roll left over after putting the second layer on the edges. I cut that one into smaller pieces and patch in the cracks on the bottom. Basically putting it anywhere that might seem a little thin on the bottom.
Then I pour the contents of my defrosted freezer bag of apple pie filling into the crust. Doesn't that look delicious already? I think the apples look like they have been marinating. You could probably start baking it at this point and it would be delicious, but don't because next we are going to create the streusel top crust that really puts this pie over the top!