Baked Apples Wrapped In Pie Crust Recipe

Baked apples wrapped in pie crust are delicious when made for any season. I think they taste best when made in the fall apple season… warm out of the oven and then covered with a sweet vanilla hard sauce, it will be hard to only eat one.

Today I am sharing a favorite autumn recipe with you that is best enjoyed when made and eaten in the fall.

Image of a plate filled with delicious baked apples wrapped in pie crusts called Cannon Ball apple dumplings.

Now that it’s apple season, I am sharing an apple dumpling recipe with you., but not just simply apple dumplings…

…but a favorite of my husband, Ed. They also have a fun story behind them.

The apple dumpling recipe is called Cannon Balls or Cannonballs. The recipe comes from Ed’s alma mater, The U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD.

They are the best baked apples I have ever eaten, but be prepared if you make them… you will want to eat more than one – they are delicious eaten warm out of the oven or for a midnight snack warmed up in the microwave.

Breaking apart an Apple Cannonball baked apple with a fork

Apple Cannon Balls, the vanilla hard sauce covered piecrust wrapped apples are a mess hall favorite through generations of midshipmen. If you know one, ask them… how many Cannon Balls they ate while attending the Naval Academy.

Over the years they have also become one of the many annual traditions that happen at the Naval Academy every year.

The Cannonball Run is just one of dozens of traditions…

a baked apple wrapped in piecrust on a plate ready to be eaten

The annual rites of passage for the midshipmen include proving their mettle in the annual push-up contest, giving the campus statue of Tecumseh better war paint, or partaking in the Cannon Ball run to see who can eat the most apple Cannon Balls in one sitting – all in the name of winning.

The Midshipmen believe in the power of these events, where a good showing means they are stronger, better, more enthusiastic and will surely entice the game gods to favor them on the next game day.

Baked apple dumplings covered with hard sauce on a plate.

A fun food story and tradition that has stood the test of time, but the best part is of course how delish these baked apples are…

I bet you can’t eat just one!

How to Make Baked Apples Wrapped In Pie Crust aka…Cannon Balls

Apples being peeled and cored to make apples wrapped in piecrust
  1. Core and peel the apples.
Cored apples wrapped in pastry in a baking dish.

2. Roll out pie crusts, cut circles and wrap around apples.

Baked Apples with Cinnamon filling called Apple Cannonballs

3. Fill center core with brown sugar and cinnamon mixture.

Baked apple dessert getting ready to be baked.

4. Close open top of apple with a piece of pie crust.

Sealing the pastry dough over apples getting ready to be baked in the oven.

5. Seal and smooth pie crust with water and your fingers.

6. Bake and then…

Breaking apart an Apple Cannonball baked apple with a fork


Baked Apple Cannon Ball Recipe

Baked Apples Wrapped In Pie Crust and Hard Sauce

A US Naval Academy mess hall staple called, Apple Cannonballs. They are basically a baked apple wrapped in piecrust and then covered with a sweet hard sauce. I bet you can't eat just one.
Prep Time20 minutes
Cook Time25 minutes
Total Time45 minutes
Course: Dessert, Snack
Cuisine: American
Keyword: apple, baked apples, baked apples wrapped in piecrust
Servings: 8 people
Cost: $10.00


  • 8 small-medium sized apples (I used Gala apples)
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 package with 2 ready to bake rolled pie crusts (sold in dairy case)
  • 1 cup water used to dip finger in to smooth dough before baking
  • 1 cup butter (softened)
  • 2 cups confectioner's sugar
  • 3 tsp vanilla
  • 2 egg whites


  • Peel and core the apples.
  • Combine brown sugar and cinnamon and mix well.
  • Fill the center of the apples with the brown sugar and cinnamon mixture.
  • Roll out the piecrust/pastry and cut pieces to cover each apple.
  • Seal piecrust/pastry with water and your fingers, closing at the top and bottom to seal each apple. Smooth the pie crust pastry over the entire apple.
  • Place in an ungreased baking dish.
  • Bake at 425 degrees for 20 minutes or until crusts are golden brown.

For the Hard Sauce

  • Mix butter and powdered sugar in a mixer until well blended.
  • Add the vanilla and beat until well blended. Beat the egg whites until stiff and fold into the sauce.
  • Chill 2 hours.

To Serve

  • When the apples come out of the oven, place on a plate to begin cooling. Remove hard sauce from the refrigerator and let warm a bit before spooning over the baked apples.
  • The baked apples taste best eaten when they are still warm. If they cool, warm in microwave for about 15 seconds.

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  1. Louise DeSantis says:

    Diane, good luck with your upcoming hip surgery. I had to search for this post in order to thank you for the wonderful apple cannonballs. I made them last weekend as the topper to a steak-and-brown-butter-asparagus dinner for my visiting sister. Outstanding! Fun to have a story to go with the dessert. It pays to drop in every six months or so ! — Louise

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Louise – So happy to hear you found the recipe and enjoyed the Cannon Balls – they are delish! The steak and brown butter asparagus dinner is something I know my husband would LOVE. Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to say hi. :-)

  2. These apple dumplings – Cannonballs – sound delicious. I’ll make some – my husband served in the U.S. Navy!

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Barbara – They take some time to make, but will be gobbled up right away. Enjoy! Go Navy!!! :-)

  3. Brenda Schlesinger says:

    Just came back from my husbands USNA reunion weekend. Of course they served us cannon balls..thanks for the recipe.

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Brenda – I bet you had a fun time. Ed and I always went to his reunions when we lived closer to Annapolis. I miss going to them. Ed is out in California now to help out our older daughter and he texted me a photo on Saturday showing me that he had just made Cannon Balls. :-) Perfect time of year for them.

  4. Nola Norton says:

    I am wondering how large a circle do we cut? Do we use a biscuit/donut cutter without the hole portion of cutter on it? How big? The rim of a drinking glass? It would seem that it needs to be larger right?

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Nola – When I make them I have used a few things from rim of a coffee cup to bowls depending on the size of the apples I am using. The larger the apple, the larger the circle. You can even just cut circles from the rolled out dough using a knife. You just want the circle to be large enough to wrap up around the apple. You can add a second piece over the top or stretch the dough a little to cover the apple and then smooth with a wet finger.

      I hope this explanation helps.

      1. Nola Norton says:

        Thanks Diane!

        That is what I thought! Great!!


  5. I put mine in for 45 minutes to get them soft. These were incredible! I added a little pumpkin pie spice and a pinch of cardamon. Will try again, stretching the filling with chopped walnuts and oats. I’m thinking about how to make that wonderful topping lighter. Maybe half the butter, and a sugar substitute. I wish I had paid attention to the part about rolling out the crusts first, I had a devil of a time getting all my apples covered.
    Anyhow, these really were divine, especially on this cold late fall evening. My kids loved them too. They said they smelled like ice cream :) So rich and satisfying. Thank you for posting this recipe!

  6. I haven’t had a Cannonball since I graduated in 1976! Definitely going to make these this week.

  7. Finally got around to trying this and yes, definitely delicious! But a couple of questions/comments:
    1. Where does the 1 cup of water come in? In that just to use for sealing the crust?
    2. Egg whites…I didn’t add them since I’m not too keen on eating raw egg products.
    Mine didn’t look too nice…but I don’t care. Nobody here but the dog and he doesn’t care. Not to mention they aren’t going to be hanging around very long. I made 4, working on eating my second one, and the day is young. -:)
    – Susan

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Susan – So happy to hear you made and enjoyed the Cannon Balls. Last weekend Ed and I attended a reunion where there were a lot of Naval Academy grads and the mention of Cannon Balls had their mouths watering for one or more.

      Mine didn’t look so pretty either, but like you said, that doesn’t matter since they are so good. The water is for dipping your finger in to then smooth the dough before baking. When I first posted the recipe, I left this step out until another reader asked the same question. I have since then added the step to the recipe.

  8. Jennifer Lifford says:

    These look and sound delicious! I love apple recipes so I’ll definitely have to give them a try. Thanks for the story too – I never knew that!

  9. Kristin salazar says:

    This look so good, can’t wait to give it a try! Thanks so much for sharing with all of us!

  10. Flowers Indiawide says:

    Breath-taking one!! Keep up the Good work

  11. These look delicious! I’m drooling. Plus my kids would love them! Such a good idea :)

  12. These look so delicious!! Thanks for sharing the recipe and the naval history.

  13. Diane, you know all those things you say you DON’T cook or bake……I think you should gather those recipes and put together a cookbook!
    My goodness but these look amazing!

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Sharon – I really don’t enjoy cooking, but since we have to eat, I try to at least make food as delish as possible. I do find baking in the colder months can add an extra layer of cozy to the house, so I do this more often then actually cook a meal. Maybe I will create a “what you can make when you don’t enjoy cooking cookbook”. :-)

      1. I know you have always said how much you don’t enjoy cooking, but it sounds like some good eating in your kitchen? I bet you could sell that cookbook!

  14. Ellen Davis says:

    Our family has always loved baked apples – and I love the Navy story. We always have baked apples in casserole for Thanksgiving and Christmas, but I’m guessing my family would love those Cannon Balls. I come from a military background (army) and I understand love of tradition. My dad was artillery, and he was very unhappy when the Army co-opted the Artillery Song and made it the Army Song. “Over hill, over dale. . . “

  15. This recipe (Apple cannonballs) looks so delicious . We hanks for sharing g

  16. cassie bustamante says:

    diane, these look utterly divine!!!!! i could dive right in!

  17. I love stories and history of food recipes, thank you for sharing! These look amazing…nothing better than apples and pie crust!

  18. Hi Diane.
    This recipe sounds so yummy that I just might give it a try, even though I’m not much of a baker. Thanks for sharing.

  19. Lindsay Aratari says:

    Oh my, these sound amazing!!!! I need to try them out!