About old apple varieties and recipes: Apple Cinnamon Rolls

It’s worth playing with old apple varieties to enhance recipes with amazing flavors. Sweet, spicy, nutty… the diversity is almost endless and I’m sure that there’s good fortune within your reach, too. 

Apples are growing almost everywhere around the world, at least in regions with winter seasons. Like two broad ribbons apple trees enclosed the globe above and below the equator for thousands of years. First, they migrated with humans, later they were transported on railroads, by ship and plane.

old apple varieties

There are many reasons why today there are only about 10 of worldwide 20.000 varieties available in stores. Also for the fact, that we import apples even in times when regional fruits are in season or still, can be stored. I think that’s a pity.

But luckily in many places, small farmers are committed to preserving old apple varieties and even sell them. It’s worth to look after those treasures.

Old apple varieties from farmers around the corner

About 150 years ago people decided, which apple varieties should be preserved. They should be crisp, juicy and sweet.

Andreas Schneider, for example, decided to swim against the tide when he took over his parent’s apple orchards in 1994. They had six varieties, he now is proud to have planted 119 different, old varieties on top – biologically from day one. Some of them are endangered.

From varieties that can’t be stored well, he is producing excellent juices and wine, that is quite popular beyond the region. For everybody living in or visiting Frankfurt, his orchard is also a popular and particularly splendid destination.

On a regular basis I buy wonderful, aromatic apples beyond mainstream in his farm shop. In autumn, for the first time I attended a walk through the orchard including apple tastings.
There are remarkable differences between a slightly spicy Muskatrenette and an aromatic sweet Ananasrenette. A 1000-year-old variety called Goldparmäne is low in acid and somehow nutty. Bohnapfel, on the other hand, has tart acid notes – not very spectacular you might think. But bake this apple and it’s awesome! Slowly cooked it even caramelizes.
old apple varieties

Diversity to flavor an old, naturally sweet recipe

Old apple varieties and old recipes – that’s a perfect match. I filled this special recipe’s dough with the most different varieties and always changed its flavor – always extremely delicate.

I found this recipe in a cookbook, published more than 100 years ago. It’s since then family owned and I proudly protect it and now share it.

This is recipe Nr. 19 and its simple title could be translated to “Strudel of yeast dough – in other ways” – with apples, sugar, and cinnamon. Simply because I like the small ones, I decided to make little swirls. Therefore I am presenting today a trendsetter from Berlin, written down in 1895:

Apple Cinnamon Rolls!

cinnamon rolls with old apple varieties

Who until now thought about cinnamon rolls as a sugar and fat overloaded treat: Relax. This old recipe is naturally sweetened and made with only a minimum amount of both ingredients. In addition, the yeast dough is egg-free and if you prepare it with plant-based milk and butter it’s even vegan. Because they are double filled, with apple puree and tiny little apple chunks, these apple cinnamon rolls are incredibly juicy and a carefree treat.

old apple varieties and recipes

More than just good taste

Old apple varieties enhance the flavor of this and many other recipes. But that’s not the only reason why they should be preserved and therefore why you should look for them wherever you live. The most substantial reasons for me to do so are:

  • Many old apple varieties are suitable for people who suffer from allergies.
  • Many old apple varieties contain more vitamin-C than highly cultivated varieties.
  • They are less prone, farmers don’t have to treat them with pesticides.
  • They grow in natural orchards and are at the same time a natural habitat for all kind of animals.
  • Many old varieties are endangered and this is bad for the balance of our eco-system.

Sustainable shopping and a mindful gift

Throughout the year apples are in season but not always where you live. But compared to most other fruits you can store many varieties, even old ones for quite a long time. For me, apples are autumn and winter fruits and I always try to buy them locally and during the season. This year it may be an advantage as one cold day in April destroyed 80 percent of this year’s harvest.

With Christmas around the corner and thinking about presents that are mindful, I like the idea of giving away an apple tree sponsorship.

Where I live, this is possible and there are many many farmers around the world who offer sponsorships, too. You may want to have a look.

But for now, enjoy this delicious recipe.

old apple varieties - cinnamon buns

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Apple Cinnamon Rolls
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450 g flour

260 ml (plant-based) milk

1 sachet of dried yeast or 25 g fresh yeast

2 tbsp (coconutblossom) sugar for the doght + 3 Tbsp. for the filling

3 tbsp (vegan) butter at room temperature

1/4 tsp salt

3 dollps cinnamon

Apple puree, homemade or bought (you might want to look for sugar-free)

2 big or 3 medium sized apples for the filling


Carefully heat up milk until its lukewarm. Dissolve yeast and sugar.

Mix flour and salt. Add fluid and knead as long as it kneeds to get a soft and smooth ball of dough.

Fold in butter, one teaspoon at a time. Knead your dough for about 3 minutes. I use a stand mixer.

Cover and let it rest for about one hour until size doubled.

Meanwhile, cook your apples if you want to make homemade puree. I like to add some apple juice, honey, cinnamon and one teaspoon butter (for 2 big apples)

Cut 2 big or 3 medium sized apples into small chunks of about 0,5 cm size.

Preheat oven at 180°C. Grease your baking tin.

Roll out dough (I prefer a 3 mm thin dough if that helps you to decide;-))

Spread apple puree - not too thick. Add apple chunks and your sugar and cinnamon mixture.

Make a roll or "strudel", starting from the long side. Spread a thin layer of apple puree on the outside to prevent your dough from drying in the oven.

Cut into 5 cm thick slices, set them into your baking tin, apples should be visible.

Bake for about 20 minutes.

These apple cinnamon rolls are heavenly fresh from the oven but still delicious the next day.

If you feel the need for a glace: Mix powdered sugar and (plant-based) milk for a lovely addition.




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Comments 2

  1. maria
    Oh wow this looks amazing and I can't believe it's vegan and sugar-free!
    19 November, 2017
    • Tamara
      Hi Maria, it's amazing, isn't it? Just go 120 years back in history and find the most amazing recipes;-) Thank's for visiting!
      19 November, 2017

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