Reader K-Line wants to know…
…if the crust, in order to withstand the toasting experience, needs to be durable at the expense of soft and buttery.
Great question, K! The answer is yes, to some extent. Pies baked up in plates can have incredibly tender crusts. However hand pies are meant to be, well…handled. Thus their crusts need to be a little tougher than a normal. Different bakers achieve this end in different ways. Some add more liquid to the dough to increase gluten development (thus making the crust harder and chewier) while others subtract fat to decrease the crumble factor.
Both techniques work well, and when done just right only make the crust as durable as it absolutely needs to be. That’s a subjective judgement, obviously. So my recommendation is to experiment. As you become more experienced making pies like these you’ll learn what you like. Thanks for an excellent question!