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I'm trying to identify some potential causes to what might cause the splitting (pictured below).

You can see from the photo that the top and bottom, to a lesser extent, are fine. However the other 2 have significant separation.

Having made other batches with the same dough recipe and same the same filling recipe and not having any splitting I am curious of what other things I can look at and tweak to try and prevent this behavior.

enter image description here

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    Are they all the same filling? High-water content fillings(like apple and blueberry) would release a lot of steam quickly and that's why they break open like that. I've never done something like this, but typically in pastries that having an apple or blueberry filling, you need some sort of opening to let the steam escape. – user29568 Oct 30 '17 at 19:06
  • Is this boiling-water or ice-water pastry? – rackandboneman Dec 12 '17 at 20:33
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Is it really "splitting," or is it just not tough enough to support the contents of those delicious looking little hand-pies there? It looks like it might be great (tender and delicious) for a pie in a pie-pan which doesn't need so much structural strength.

I think this dough is too short & delicate and/or rolled out too thin for this purpose. It would provide more support if you either added a little more flour and water (proportionately -- in other words: less shortening), worked it a little more to develop a little tougher gluten, or maybe simply rolled it into a little bit thicker sheet. I bet it won't be quite as tasty if you do that, but might be mechanically a little more effective.

Also, I'm not 100% clear on the sizes in the photo, but perhaps the dough could work better as-is if the pies were made a little smaller, ... if that is feasible at all. Since I guess pies scale like other things; the bigger they are, the less delicate they can afford to be.

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