These buns are (of course) inspired by the famous morning buns created at Tartine. On my only visit to San Francisco, I was able to try one of these perfect buns – orange and cinnamon and sugar and butter all wrapped up in flaky dough.
I’ve tried to re-create something similar; in my book 100 Morning Treats, I have the classic version of this bun using my Cheater Croissant Dough. Here I have an apple version, perfect for both chilly Autumn mornings and afternoons.
One thing to note: The recipe for the Morning Buns in 100 Morning Treats has a typo in it (but the same recipe in Baking For the Holidays does not). The recipe calls for 1 cup [200 g] of granulated sugar, which is correct, but the sugar needs to be divided. The filling for the Morning Buns uses 1/2 cup [100 g], not the 1 cup stated, and the remaining 1/2 cup [100 g] is used to toss the warm buns in. I am so sorry for the mistake!
Baking with Apples
Apples take a long time to break down during baking, so often I like to give them a head start. I found steaming the apples in apple cider not only helped the apples soften, but also pumped them full of more flavor as the cider soaked into the apples.
If you do not have cider on hand you can use water to steam them instead, but note that the cider adds a lot of extra flavor. If you skip the steaming step, the apples may still be crisp inside the buns after baking.
What to Expect When Making Morning Buns
The Morning Buns will puff significantly as they bake, and I like to give them a gentle push back down with a spatula halfway through baking. I found this gives them a substantial bottom that is flaky and golden. The bottoms of the buns will be more golden than the centers, due to more time exposed out of the pan.
If, after you flip your buns, they are still light in color, you can put the buns back in the oven, center-side up, and let them bake for 5 or 6 more minutes to gain some golden color. The center will be much more tender and light compared to the bottom.
More Apple Recipes:
Apple Morning Buns
- 3 cups [325 g] Gala apples, peeled and sliced into 1/8 in [3 mm] slices; 3 or 4 apples
- 1/3 cup [80 g] apple cider
- 1 cup [200 g] granulated sugar, divided, plus more for sprinkling
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- Pinch salt
- 1 recipe Cheater's Croissant Dough
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, plus more for greasing the muffin pan
For the apples
- Place the sliced apples and the apple cider in a large saucepan over medium heat. Cover the pan and let the apples steam in the cider until tender, 8 to 10 minutes. The apples should be soft, but still hold their shape.
- Strain the apples and let cool to room temperature.
For the buns
- Generously butter the insides and tops of a twelve-cup standard muffin pan and coat each muffin cup well with granulated sugar, tapping out any excess.
- In a small bowl, mix together 1/2 cup [100 g] of the sugar, the cinnamon, and salt.
- Generously flour your work surface and roll out the croissant dough into a 10 by 24 in [25 by 60 cm] rectangle. Brush the dough with the melted butter, then sprinkle the sugar mixture evenly over the dough, gently pressing it into the butter to adhere. Scatter the cooled, strained apples over the sugar. Starting at a long side, roll up the dough into a tight cylinder and position the dough seam-side down. Cut the dough into twelve pieces, each measuring 2 in [5 cm] wide. Transfer the pieces to the prepared muffin pan and place them cut-side down. Cover the pan loosely with plastic wrap and let the dough rise until doubled in size and puffy (it should act similarly to a marshmallow with pressed), 2 to 2 1/2 hours. (The buns can also do a slow rise in the refrigerator overnight, see notes.)
- Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and preheat the oven to 400F [200C]. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper and set a wire rack inside of it.
- Remove the plastic wrap and gently press down on the top of each bun with a greased spatula. Place a sheet pan on the lower oven rack (this will help catch any drips); do not place the sheet pan directly under the muffin pan on the same rack or it will interfere with baking. Bake the buns for 15 minutes, then carefully press down on the tops of the buns again with a spatula. Rotate the pan and continue baking until the buns are golden brown, 10 to 15 minutes more.
- While the buns are baking, fill a pie plate or bowl with the remaining 1/2 cup [100 g] of granulated sugar. Remove the pan from the oven and immediately flip the buns onto the prepared pan. (If the centers of your buns are much lighter in color than the bottoms, you can put buns back in the oven (on the sheet pan with the wire rack) for 5 or 6 minutes until golden.) Using tongs, pick up one bun at a time and evenly coat it in the bowl of sugar. Repeat with the remaining buns, placing them on a wire rack to cool. Morning buns are best eaten the same day they are made.