Pour the flour into a sieve, and shake into large mixing bowl. Or use a sifter.Add the shortening, and use two forks or a pastry cutter to chop up the shortening into the flour and make sure both are combined only roughly. Chunks of shortening are fine.. Next, add water to the dough two tablespoons at a time, kneading with flour coated hands in between. You want to achieve a mallable pie crust that can be molded into a ball.
Once you have the pie crust texture that you want, press that ball onto a flour-coated sheet of parchment and roll it out about 1/4 inch thick.Cut circles using a three-inch cookie cutter for half, and a four-inch cookie cutter for the other half. Cut a tiny design using a small fondant star or use a knife to cut an X at the top of the larger circles - this is the vent you'll need as they cook.
Make Simple Apple Pie Filling
Mix all ingredients together and then blend or puree in a food processor until you achieve the texture you want. It can be lumpy or smooth, your choice. Also taste-test and add more spice or sugar as you wish - this might depend on the type of apple you chose.
OR Make homemade Apple Butter
Chop the apples in small chunks. Then process in a blender or food processor the apples into a pulp.Add in the additional ingredients, process again. Taste test and add extra maple syrup or spices to taste. Fill pastries as is. To store, keep apple butter refrigerated, and try to use it within a day or two for best flavor.
Assemble & Bake Pies
Set the 3-inch circles on a parchment lined cookie sheets. Brush with water and a dash of cinnamon. Dollop on the apple butter in a mound.Cover each with the larger circles, brush the with water, sprinkle on sparkling sugar and cinnamon.
Bake the pies at 375 F for 20 minutes. Check at 10 minutes to be sure the edges aren't burning and cover with loose foil if they seem browned too soon.