Hand pies are individual-sized pastries that can become a simple snack, dinner or dessert.

Take everything you love about pie — that rich, flaky crust cradling your favorite filling — and downsize it into a hand pie. It’s pie’s answer to the cupcake, without the fussy decorations.

Sandwich your filling of choice between a couple of layers of dough and bake until golden brown.

You want your crust to make a good impression, with good flavor and texture.

I prefer a flaky pie crust, rich and buttery yet delicate, practically shattering with every bite.

As for the filling, get creative. Use seasonal fruit as an inspiration for a sweet pie, or riff on a hearty dish — Irish stew, perhaps, or curried lamb — when you’re craving something savory. Keep in mind that, because the pies are small, any ingredients that go into the filling should be finely diced so they don’t burst through the dough. Large apple wedges or carrot slices won’t work. Finally, if you cook the filling separately, be sure it has been chilled completely before filling the pies so it doesn’t warm the dough.