2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
½ cup shortening, chilled
½ cup cold water
2 apples – peeled, cored, and diced
¼ cup white sugar, or to taste
half teaspoon ground cinnamon, or to taste
1-quart oil for frying, or as needed
Make the pastry: Sift flour and salt together in a large bowl. Cut in shortening with 2 knives or a pastry blender until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add cold water, 1 tablespoon at a time, tossing with a fork, until the flour mixture is moistened. Do not add more water than you need: when you squeeze a handful of moistened pastry mixture, it should form a ball. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Make the filling: Place apples in a saucepan. Combine sugar and cinnamon; pour over apples and toss to coat. Cook, covered, in a saucepan on low heat until soft; mash with a fork to make thick applesauce. Set aside to cool.
Roll dough on a lightly floured surface to 1/8-inch thick; cut out eight 4-inch rounds with a large cookie cutter.
Place 1 heaping tablespoon of applesauce in the center of each pastry round. Moisten edges with cold water, fold in half, and press the edge with a fork to seal. Repeat with remaining pastry and filling.
Heat oil in a deep fryer or large saucepan to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
Lower pies carefully into the hot oil in batches. Fry until golden brown, about 2 to 3 minutes on each side. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to drain.