A “dry” version of this traditionally Pennsylvania Dutch treat, Shoofly Pie is not too sweet, not too firm, and has just the right amount of molasses flavor in every slice!

It started as a favor

Let me begin by saying I take requests. If a family member or friend asks me to make something special for them, I’m happy to oblige. And when the item is something I’ve never tried (or even heard of, for that matter), all the better…I get my horizons expanded while making someone happy. Case in point…my son-in-law’s friend mentioned that he hadn’t had Shoofly Pie in some time, so my older daughter piped up and said I could make one for him. I’d never had Shoofly Pie before, and, it being pie (one of my favorite desserts), I was eager to try one. On to the internet I went!

How Granny made it

The Pennsylvania Dutch developed Shoofly Pie in the 1880s as a hand-held breakfast to be served alongside black coffee. It’s a molasses-based pie that’s tempered with brown sugar and finished with a crumb topping. Those facts aren’t in dispute. However, in looking over several recipes (and the comments within), I found that people had very strong opinions on how this pie should be made, and everyone’s grandmother made the best one. Although to be honest, even though my grandmother never made Shoofly pie, I’m sure if she did, hers would top all others (just sayin’).

Take a side

The main point of contention is whether Shoofly Pie should have a “dry-bottom” or a “wet-bottom” (feel free insert appropriate baby-bottom joke here).  For the dry bottom version, the pie is baked until the filling is mostly set so it has a more cake-like consistency. The wet bottom version has a cake-like texture near the top where its mixed with the crumb topping, but has a gooier consistency nearer the bottom…think Butterscotch pie or Pecan pie without the pecans. The main difference in achieving the two types seemed to be the amount of flour and brown sugar used and the length of time the pie was baked. In the end, I settled on Land O Lakes’ Favorite Shoofly Pie…it seemed to be right in the middle of all the variations.

 

shoofly pie ingredients
Simple ingredients for Shoofly Pie (pumpkins not included)

More to argue about discuss

There was also a lot of discussion about whether butter, lard, or shortening should be used in the pie (as well as the crust). Well, shortening is processed (something I avoid, as long-time readers know), and I don’t eat lard, so I went with butter. You can choose for yourself. I also went with my tried-and true pie crust recipe…yes, I play favorites. (so long as you’re open about it)

 

rolling out pie crust collage
Roll out, drape, and crimp the pie crust

 

shoofly pie before and after baking collage
Fill the pie shell, top it with a brown sugar crumble, then bake to perfection

One for him and one for us

Since I was making Shoofly Pie for my son-in-law’s friend, I made a second mini version for my family. I just halved the filling recipe and shortened the baking time to about 20 minutes. How else was I going to try some?

 

regular size and mini Shoofly pies on a cooling rack
One to give away and one for us (I wanted to try it!)

 

whole shoofly pie closeup with pumpkins
A big shoofly pie, made for a friend

 

mini shoofly pie whole on counter
A mini Shoofly pie still delivers big flavor!

A new tradition is born

Having never had Shoofly Pie before, I wasn’t sure how it would (or even should) taste. My mini version was probably more on the “wet-bottom” side (the larger one was more dry, I was told), but it was luscious. I loved the hearty molasses flavor and the crumbly topping…this pie was not too sweet, not too firm, and totally delicious.

 

mini shoofly pie without slice closeup
Not too sweet, not too firm…just the right amount of delicious molasses flavor in every slice!

 

mini shoofly pie slice plated closeup
What you’re looking at is a mini slice of molasses goodness!

 

Shoofly Pie is a great addition to the usual assortment of pies at a Thanksgiving dinner…I’m planning on making one (why not?). Who knows, maybe someday my grandkids will come and ask me to make them my “famous” Shoofly Pie, and they’ll brag to their friends how it’s the best. After all, I take requests!

Slainté! L’chaim! Cheers!

Tammy

Shoofly Pie

A "dry" version of this traditionally Pennsylvania Dutch treat, Shoofly Pie is not too sweet, not too firm, and has just the right amount of delicious molasses flavor in every slice!
Adapted from Land O'Lakes
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time45 mins
Cooling Time30 mins
Total Time1 hr 45 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Autumn Baking, Fall Baking, Molasses, Pie Crust, Pies, Thanksgiving
Servings: 8 slices
Calories: 510kcal
Author: Tammy Spencer, Scotch & Scones

Ingredients

  • single pie crust, for a 9-inch pie pan
  • 3/4 cup boiling water
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 cup molasses (9 oz, 255g), mild or dark corn syrup
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour (4-1/4 oz 120g)
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar (5 oz, 140g), dark, firmly packed
  • 2 Tbsp butter (1 oz, 30g), unsalted, cold
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Procedure

  • Preheat oven to 400°F.
  • Prepare a single pie crust (see Recipe Notes). Place the unbaked crust in a 9-inch pie pan, crimp edges, and set aside.
  • Combine the boiling water and baking soda in a small bowl. Stir in the molasses, then set aside.
  • Combine the flour and brown sugar in a medium bowl (crush any brown sugar “rocks” if you have them). Cut the butter into the flour mixture using a pastry cutter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Reserve 1/2 cup (2.4 oz, 67g) crumbs for topping.
  • Pour the molasses mixture, egg, and vanilla to remaining crumb mixture. Whisk well.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared crust; sprinkle with the reserved crumb mixture.
  • Bake 10 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350°F and bake another 35-40 minutes or until filling is set.
  • Serve warm with whipped cream, if desired. Enjoy!

Video

Recipe Notes

My pie crust is based on the 3-2-1 ratio of flour/fat/water (by weight), so for a single pie crust that would be 9 oz flour, 6 oz fat (butter for me), and 3 oz ice water. I also throw in 1 Tbsp of apple cider vinegar to help tenderize the crust. The complete recipe can be found here.
To make a mini version using a 6-inch pie pan, halve the filling ingredients. You can leave the egg whole or just weight it and take out half).
This pie will stay fresh at room temperature for up to 5 days.
Nutrition Facts
Shoofly Pie
Amount Per Serving
Calories 510
* Percent daily values are based on a 2,000 cal per day diet.
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