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1 (6 oz.) pkg. dried apricots
1/3 c. sugar
4 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1 c. shortening
1 c. cold water
Vegetable oil
Confectioners' sugar, sifted
Additional dried apricots (optional)

Place apricots in a medium saucepan; add water to cover. Cover pan and cook over low heat 15 minutes or until tender. Mash apricots, add sugar; set aside.

Combine flour and salt; cut in shortening with pastry blender until mixture resembles coarse meal. Sprinkle cold water (1 tablespoon at a time) evenly over surface; stir with a fork until dry ingredients are moistened.

Shape into a ball and chill. Divide dough in half. Roll one portion to 1/8 inch thickness on a lightly floured surface; cut into 3 1/2 inch circles. Spoon about 1 teaspoon apricot filling on half of each pastry circle; moisten edges of circles with water.

Fold circles in half; press edges together with a fork dipped in flour. Repeat procedure with the remaining dough. Heat 1/2 inch of oil to 375 degrees in a large skillet. Cook pies until golden brown, turning once; drain well on paper towels. Sprinkle with powdered sugar. Garnish with dried apricots, if desired. Yield: 3 dozen.

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