I want to try a dessert using a can of cinnamon rolls for a crust. What I plan on doing is pressing the cinnamon rolls in the bottom of a 9"x13" pan, spreading them out so they cover the bottom of the pan, then baking it until it is done, about 10 minutes. After this is cooled, I'll add a pudding type filling. Will this work?
I expect the "crust" will puff up significantly since it has chemical leavening agents in it, unlike traditional pastry crust.
Using pie weights would help. Docking the crust (poking with a fork) would help, but might not work with a liquid filling.
If you prepared the pudding separately, chilled it to semi-firm, then poured it in that might work better.
If all is a failure, a cup of pudding, with a crumbled cinnamon roll topping sounds pretty good too!
Do you have two pie pans?
I'd recommend doing a test of at least the crust alone before you actually need to make the dessert (if you're making it for an occasion, that is). The cans of cinnamon rolls aren't that expensive and they're perpetually putting out coupons for them... and they will still taste good as long as they don't burn.
I recommend rolling out the dough so that it's about as thin as a pie crust usually is (if you do this, you may actually get plenty of dough for two trials from one can). This should help minimize the amount of dough more than just mashing it into the pie tin. The less dough you have, the less it's going to rise up and go crazy.
Then try blind baking between two pans, with the top pan weighted with something really heavy to limit the rising (brick wrapped in foil, bunch of rocks... heavy... but not liquid). If the dough gets really puffy it will hopefully just spread out the sides like a waffle maker so you can just trim off the edges (put a cookie sheet underneath just in case).
You may also want to put a circle of parchment paper in the bottom of the inner pie pan to reduce the chance of sticking... I doubt the soft cinnamon dough will be as stiff as pie crust, so be careful when removing from the pan.
If you're using a no-bake filling, wait for the crust to cool before you fill it.
If you're using a baked custard-style filling, underbake the crust slightly (only a minute or two) and add your hot custard to the hot crust and then put it back into the oven to set the custard, per the normal recipe.
I've never tried this before, just guessing, so please come back and let us know what you did and if it worked out!