2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 cup hot skim milk
1/2 cup solid vegetable shortening, chilled and cut up
2 cups unsulphured dried apple slices (7 ounces)
2 1/2 cups water
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup raisins (optional)
Vegetable oil, for frying
In a medium bowl, mix the flour with the salt and baking powder. In a large bowl, combine the hot milk with the shortening and stir just until nearly melted; there should be a few pea-size pieces of shortening left. Add the flour and stir with a fork just until a dough forms. Gather the dough and knead until smooth. Roll the dough into a 6-inch log, wrap in plastic and refrigerate until chilled, at least 2 hours.
In a medium saucepan, combine the apples with the water and bring to a boil. Cover and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until the apples are very soft and the liquid has been absorbed, about 45 minutes. Add the brown sugar and mash with a fork or potato masher until blended. Stir in the raisins and let cool.
Cut the log of dough into 12 even pieces and roll each piece into a ball. Working with half of the balls at a time, on a very lightly floured surface, roll out each ball to a 6-inch round. Brush the edges with water. Mound 2 heaping tablespoons of the apple filling on the lower half of each round. Fold the dough over the filling to make a half-moon, leaving a 1/2 -inch border; press the edges to seal. Using a lightly floured fork, crimp the edges decoratively. Transfer the pies to a large, lightly floured baking sheet and repeat with the remaining balls of dough and filling.
The pies can be prepared through Step 3 and refrigerated overnight.