2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup shortening
6 to 7 tablespoons cold water
2/3 to 3/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Dash ground nutmeg
6 to 8 medium apples, peeled and sliced (7-1/2 cups)
1/4 cup dried cranberries or cherries, or snipped dried apricots or figs, or raisins (optional)
2 tablespoons margarine or butter
1. For pastry, stir together 2 cups all-purpose flour and salt in a medium bowl. Using a pastry blender, cut in shortening until pieces are the size of small peas. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon cold water over part of mixture, then gently toss with a fork. Push to side of the bowl. Repeat, using more water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until all is moistened. Divide dough in half. Form each half into a ball.
2. On a lightly floured surface, flatten one ball of dough with your hands. Using a rolling pin, roll dough from the center to the edge, forming a circle about 12 inches in diameter. Transfer pastry to a 9-inch pie plate. Carefully ease pastry into pie plate, being careful not to stretch it. Roll out remaining ball of dough to a 12-inch circle.
3. For filling, stir together sugar, 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a large bowl. Add apples and dried fruit, if desired; toss to coat. If apples lack tartness, add 1 tablespoon lemon juice. Transfer apple mixture to pastry-lined pie plate. Trim bottom pastry to the edge of pie plate. Cut margarine or butter into small pieces; place on top of apples.
4. Make decorative cutouts in top crust to allow steam to escape. Place top crust on filling. Trim to 1/2 inch beyond edge of pie plate. Fold top crust under bottom crust; seal and flute as desired. Brush top crust with milk and sprinkle lightly with sugar. Cover edge of pie with foil to prevent overbrowning.
5. Bake in a 375 degree F oven for 30 minutes. Remove foil. Bake 20 to 25 minutes more or until top is golden. Cool on wire rack. Cover and refrigerate.