You know how real estate agents recommend throwing a batch of cookies in the oven just before an open house to fill the house with a warm, welcoming scent? Well, they should scratch that idea and throw these in the oven instead. Perspective buyers will be practically licking the walls.
I’d originally planned on making apple cinnamon buns. Then, I ran across a recipe for pumpkin buns and the idea of an autumn harvest bun came to mind. I made a few adaptations to the pumpkin bun recipe, then whipped up a little apple, pear, and walnut filling; similar to a thickened pie filling. Next, I rolled the sweet pumpkin dough with the apple, pear, and walnut filling, baked them, and drizzled the whole batch with a sugary glaze.
The entire process takes a little time, but the result is well worth it. You’re not going to get buns like this out of any can. And just wait until your home is filled with the aroma of warm cinnamon, pumpkin, and apples. Who needs seasonal scented candles anyway?
These buns are moist, doughy, and bursting with fall flavors; an autumn harvest, indeed! The best part is that the reheat really well the next day. So, make them a day ahead of time and reheat in the morning for a special breakfast treat! A few seconds in the microwave should do the trick.
Autumn harvest buns
For the buns
1 packet dry active yeast
1/2 cup warm water (about 110 degrees F.)
3-3/4 cups flour (plus additional flour)
1/2 cup milk
1/2 stick butter, melted
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
3/4 cup pumpkin puree
For the filling
3/4 cup water
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 large Granny Smith apple, diced
1 pear, diced
3 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1/3 cup walnuts, chopped
For the icing:
3/4 cup confectioner’s sugar
1 tablespoon water, plus more if needed
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
In a small bowl, sprinkle the yeast over the warm water. Stir to combine. In a large bowl, combine the flour, cinnamon, salt, and nutmeg. Create a well in the center of the flour mixture. Pour in the milk, butter, egg, and yeast mixture. Add the pumpkin puree. Stir until well combined. The dough should be sticky, but manageable.
Place the dough onto a generously floured surface. Knead the dough for about 10 minutes, gradually incorporating more flour until the dough is smooth and elastic. Periodically, add more flour to your work surface, as necessary, to prevent the dough from sticking.
Spray a large bowl with cooking spray. Place the kneaded dough into the bowl. Cover with a towel and allow it to rest at room temperature for about an hour, until the dough has double in size.
Meanwhile, prepare the filling. Combine the water and lemon juice. As you dice the apple and pear, place the pieces into the water mixture. Add the cornstarch, sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Toss to combine. Place the mixture in a pan over medium/medium-low heat. Bring to a gentle simmer and cook until the liquid thickens and the fruit becomes tender, about 10-15 minutes. Stir in the walnuts. Set aside to cool.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Spray a small baking sheet with cooking spray.
After the dough has risen, remove the dough from the bowl and place it on a well-floured surface. Roll the dough into a rectangle about 10x12 inches. Spread the fruit mixture over the dough.
Then, starting with the long end, tightly roll the dough. Cut the dough into 1-inch slices. Place the slices onto the prepared baking sheet. Pack them in, if necessary. Let the buns rest for another 20 minutes before baking.
Bake for about 20-25 minutes.
As they cool, prepare the glaze. Combine the confectioners sugar with the water and vanilla extract. Add additional water, a few drops at a time, until the glaze has the consistency of a syrup. After the buns have cooled for about 10 minutes, drizzle with the glaze. Serve warm.
**The dough portion of the recipe is adapted from the Cooking Light recipe for Pumpkin-Cinnamon Streusel Buns, found here.