For the pastry dough: Mix together the flour and salt in a large bowl. Add the lard and butter and mix with your hands until crumbly. Slowly add the water and mix until the dough comes together, then coat with flour to prevent sticking. Refrigerate the dough for a minimum of 2 hours and preferably overnight.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Roll out the dough into a 1/8-inch-thick square on a lightly floured surface, then cut the into six 7-by-7-inch squares.
For the apple filling: Peel and core the apples. Place an apple in the center of each dough square. Put 1 piece of butter into the center of each apple. Push some brown sugar down on top of the butter until packed tight. Put a second piece of butter on top of the sugar. Sprinkle cinnamon liberally across the dough and the filled apples. Fold opposite corners of the dough up around each apple, and then turn over and mold the rest of the dough over the apples, being careful not to leave any parts of the apples exposed. Tear off any excess dough on the bottom of each apple.
Place the apples in a 9-by-13-inch baking dish.
For the dumpling sauce: Combine the water, granulated sugar, butter and vanilla in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat.
Ladle 1/2 cup of the dumpling sauce over each dumpling and pour the excess sauce into the baking dish. Bake until the crust is golden brown and the fruit is tender, about 35 minutes. Serve warm.
This recipe was provided by a chef, restaurant or culinary professional. It has not been tested for home use.
Recipe courtesy of Smokey D's BBQ, Des Moines, IA