Saturday, May 29, 2010

The Original Shoofly Pie

Before I begin the story of where I found this pie recipe, I just want to say this is one fabulous pie!
I'm usually not one for liking shoofly pie. I live in area of the country that is just close enough to Pennsylvania Dutch country and my local supermarkets have these pies for sale all the time. But I tasted a sample once and that was enough for me to know this was a pie I could certainly live without. But, hey, just because one sample taste was lousy doesn't mean they're all bad..right?
So when I saw this recipe and read the story I thought I should give the pie another chance.
The title alone was intriguing, The Original! It's got to be good!
And it is.

So have I got your interest yet?
The recipe came from the cookbook I bought recently called " A Baker's Odyssey" by Greg Patent.
I just love this book because the author visited kitchens from great bakers all over the country. These bakers represent thirty diverse cultures and he learned the cultural significance of each baked good he saw prepared.
This recipe, so the author writes, was from a food historian, Will Weaver, which he got from his grandmother who in turn got it from an old lady in Ephrata, Pennsylvania, who got the recipe at the 1876 Centennial! How about that!
See what I mean about the stories? I love it!
The pie is not really sweet, which is one of the many things I love about it. As a matter of fact, the only sugar is in the topping. You can eat the pie for breakfast or you can eat it with ice cream ( which we did at the farmer's market today!) or with whipped cream. Or you can just cut a slice, pick it up with your fingers and dive in!
But enough about how you can eat it..let's get to making it.

I made the dough for the crust ahead and kept it frozen til I made the pie. And... BTW.. the crust has a secret ingredient.. white wine. Oh those Pennsylvania Dutch..who knew!
I also made the topping ahead and kept it in the fridge til I was ready.
To make the filling, in a small bowl, dissolve the baking soda in warm coffee. Stir in the molasses til the molasses is completely mixed in and the top layer of the liquid is lighter in color and very bubbly( although mine never got very bubbly but it didn't seem to matter).
Pour the filling into the unbaked pie shell.

Gradually sprinkle the crumb mixture onto the top of the pie, starting at the outer edge and working towards the center. Be sure you sprinkle the outer edge a bit thicker to prevent the filling from bubbling over..and it will!

Put the pie into the oven carefully! It will slosh around in the pie shell. Also, (although the book doesn't say) place a cookie sheet or piece of aluminum foil under the pie because if it does spill over, you won't have the problem of what happened to me at spilled and started to smoke in the oven!

The crust is great, it comes out with a nice crunch, not soggy and the crumb topping adds a wonderful addition to the molasses flavor or the filling. It's a moist pie, too. Someone said it was like a "wet bottom" shoofly pie they remembered.
The Original Shoofly Pie ( the book " A Baker's Odyssey" by Greg Patent).


1 1/4 cups unbleached AP flour
5 tbsp. cold salted butter, cut into tablespoon sized pieces
2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 large egg yolk
3 to 5 tbsp. dry white wine

1 cup plus 2 tbsp. unbleached AP flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
8 tbsp. ( 1 stick) cold salted butter, cut into tablespoon sized pieces

1/2 tsp. baking soda
3/4 cup warm coffee
3/4 cup unsulphured molasses

To make the dough:
1. In medium bowl, put in the flour and butter and cut, using a pastry blender or 2 knives, til mixture resembles medium fine crumbs.
2. In a small bowl, combine olive oil, egg yolk and 3 tablespoons of wine with a fork.
3. Add the liquid to the flour and stir with a fork til dough just gathers into a ball. If too dry, add more wine, a teaspoon at a time.
4. Shape into a disc about 1" thick, wrap in plastic and refridgerate for at least one hour.( Dough can be made up to a day ahead). (I made mine, then rolled it out and placed it into the pie pan and froze it til I was ready to make the pie.)
5. Unwrap the dough, and place between 2 layers of waxed paper. Tap gently on the dough with the rolling pin to soften the dough slightly and make it easier to roll. Roll, working from the center outward, readjusting the waxed paper and turning the dough over from time to time.
Once it's about 1/8" thick, place dough into your pie plate. Leave a 1/2" overhang and trim the rest. Fold the edge of the pastry back on itself to make double thickness. and make a high standing rim all along the edge, then flute the edge. Refridgerate for 1 hour.
6. Adjust oven rack to lower third position and preheat to 425.

1. Put all the topping ingredients into the work bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade and 15 to 30 seconds, til the texture of fine crumbs.

1. In a small bowl, dissolve baking soda in the warm coffee.
2. Stir in the molasses and keep stirring for 1 to 2 minutes, til the molasses is completely mixed in and the top layer of the liquid is lighter in color and very bubbly.

Pour the filling into the unbaked pie shell. Gradually sprinkle on the crumb mixture. Begin at the outer edges and work you way to the center, making the crumb layer a bit thicker around the outer edge to prevent the filling from bubbling over. ( See my notes above).
Carefully place the pie into the oven and bake for 15 minutes.
Reduce the oven temp. to 350 and bake another 35 to 40 minutes or til the crumb topping is golden brown and the center of the pie is firm and cake-like. When pressed gently, the top of the pie should spring back and a toothpick inserted will come out clean.
Cool the pie on a wire rack and serve warm or at room temp. Enjoy!


  1. What brand of molasses did you use - was it hard to find unsulphured? Is it crucial?

  2. Hi Cindy,
    I use Grandma's unsulphured molasses. Here's a link to the product.
    Hope this helps answer your question. The unsulphured is the most commonly used in baking so you can find it just about at any supermarket.
    Let me know how your pie turns out!



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