Shoo Fly Pie

By on April 29, 2016

MyVeronaNJ-Shoo-Fly-Pie-SliceShoo Fly Pie. Yes, that’s correct.

Generally speaking, this is either a familiar, comforting, bring-back-memories-of-grandma pie, or something reminiscent of an old song. In my case, it’s the grandmother one.

Growing up, this was a treat of a dessert delivered whenever my grandmother stopped at our house after visiting my great-grandmother in Pennsylvania. Aside from its nostalgic qualities, Shoo Fly Pie also works well to bridge the gap between spring and summer pies. That’s right–there’s a dessert gap. Didn’t know there was a gap? Absolutely! It’s that time before we jump into rhubarb, peach, and blueberry pies, and can sill enjoy the smells and flavors of molasses, cinnamon and clove. Especially as we enter a spring weekend promising to be on the colder side.

MyVeronaNJ-Shoo-Fly-Pie

For as many slices of Shoo Fly Pie as I’ve had in my lifetime, I’ve never made one until this spring. Finding a recipe is not impossible, but I decided to start with a publication from 1968 (I think) called From Whitford’s Kitchens. From what I can tell, without my grandmother to verify, it’s an old-time neighborhood compilation of recipes from women in West Chester, Pennsylvania who created a cookbook to benefit Paoli Memorial Hospital, now the Chester County Hospital . Aside from the worn cover and the typewritten pages, it’s amazing how much has changed since this was published: The way recipes were written, the way women wrote their names, and the fact that someone took the time to individually type these recipes up–I can’t even imagine how they were mass-produced. It’s a cool book from a long time ago, but the recipes are classics that I’m sure were shared among many a family dinner table and various dinner parties. It ended up in my kitchen because my grandmother has a recipe it in, but no, it’s not the Shoo Fly Pie. She always said she wasn’t the baker in the family, but I’d have to disagree as would anyone who ever had one of her apple pies. Either way, this was a good starting place for a Shoo Fly Pie and after making the pie twice, I’d say ovens have changed since 1968 as well. I had to play with both the temperature and the baking time.

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When  I set out to make this I was also in a place of wheat-avoidance, realizing that it’s bad for my skinny jeans. I experimented with rice flour which I have come to love for “breaded items” but found that it was a bit challenging for a pie crust. Not impossible, but not really easy either. In the end, I did prefer the flavor and light, crumbly texture of the rice flour, so if you don’t mind a slightly imperfect crust I would try it. And if you’re not avoiding wheat and want to make life really easy, use the Pillsbury pie crusts that are already made–do it all the time!

MyVeronaNJ-Rice-Flour-Crust

Shoo Fly Pie

Ingredients for Rice Flour Crust:

1 1/4 cups rice flour

1/4 teaspoon xanthum gum (this is optional, but helped a little)

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon sugar

12 tablespoons cold butter cut into roughly 1/2″ pieces

4 tablespoons cold water

Ingredients for Filling:

3/4 cup molasses

3/4 cup boiling water

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

Ingredients for Topping:

1 1/2 cups flour (I used rice flour)

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

1 stick unsalted butter

What’s Next:

1. Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.

2. Make your pie crust by placing all ingredients (except water) in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse 10-12 times until it looks like corn meal. Add water and give long pulses until dough comes together in a big ball. Turn ball of dough out onto a large board and roll until 1/4″ thick. This is very sticky so keep adding flour if necessary. When it’s about 9″-10″ wide, carefully lift and place in a pie plate. This is the messy part, but don’t worry if it’s imperfect and you have to add in pieces- no one will see it.

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MyVeronaNJ-Crust-Collage

3.  Make crumb topping by placing all ingredients in now empty bowl of a food processor and pulse until in large crumbs, just like the topping of an apple crisp or crumb topping of a fruit pie. Set aside.

4.  Make your filling by adding all 3 ingredients in a large bowl. Stir everything together. Liquid pie filling in an unbaked crust seems strange, but it works.

MyVeronaNJ-Shoo-Fly-Pie-Batter

5.  To assemble the pie, place molasses filling in the pie crust. Add the crumb topping to the liquid. Bake for 35-40 minutes.

MyVeronaNJ-Shoo-Fly-Pie-Unbaked

Notes From My Experience:

I really had a hard time believing that the liquid center of the pie baked in an unbaked crust, but it really does. Given the simple ingredients, I wondered if the pie has its origins during war-time.

I made this three times in search of creating the wet-bottom pie. If you are going for a wet-bottom pie, take the pie out after 30-33 minutes. Ovens vary so this may take some experimentation.

While I planned to make homemade whipped cream to go with this when served, I ran out of time so I didn’t; but I would imagine it would be a great compliment to the pie, especially if it isn’t wet-bottom, which none of mine were.

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Copyright 2016 MyVeronaNJ

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One Comment

  1. Vanessa

    April 29, 2016 at 12:14 pm

    Thanks for the recipe. My grandmother used to make this. Miss it. Miss her.

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