What is shoofly pie? Well simply put, it’s a molasses crumb cake baked in a pie shell. Okay, now don’t let that deter you. If you’re keen on molasses, you’ll like this. There are two types of shoofly pie: dry bottom and wet bottom. The dry bottom version is baked until fully set, which results in more of a cake-like consistency throughout. Wet bottom shoofly pie is cake-like at the top where it’s mixed with the crumbs, but more custard-like on the bottom. This wet bottom version is what I prefer and it’s what I have for you today.
Shoofly pie has its origins as a molasses cake (then called Centennial Cake) made in 1876 to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence in the U.S. It’s a Pennsylvania Dutch recipe that was later put in a pie shell to make it easier to eat for breakfast without having to use a fork and plate.
So, where did the name shoofly come from? Way back when, molasses would pool up on top of the pie and attract flies. This is one story, but another story says that shoofly was the brand name of the molasses used. Whichever is right, it’s certainly a fun and unique name for a pie.
And remember that we have all you could ever want as far as pie making supplies. We have pie plates, pie servers, pie weights, rolling pins, and lots of ingredients, including the molasses, nutmeg, and cinnamon I used for this one.
- Pastry for single crust pie (9 inches)
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2/3 cup packed brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 6 tablespoons cold butter cut into small pieces
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 3/4 cup hot water
- 3/4 cup molasses
- 1 large egg yolk
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
- Roll out pie dough to 1/8-inch thick and place in a 9-inch pie plate. Crimp edge as desired; set aside.
- In a medium bowl, combine flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, salt, and nutmeg. (Use freshly ground nutmeg for optimal flavor.) Whisk to combine.
- Add butter and cut in with a pastry blender until it resembles coarse crumbs. Set aside.
- In another medium bowl, combine baking soda and hot water until baking soda is dissolved. Add molasses and whisk until combined. Add egg yolk and whisk to combine.
- Pour about half of the molasses mixture into your prepared pie crust. Top with about half of the crumb mixture. Repeat layers with remaining molasses mixture and crumb mixture, ending with the crumb mixture. It will be very liquidy, but don’t worry.
- Bake for 15 minutes, then reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees F without opening the oven. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the pie is just a little jiggly in the center.
- Cool completely before slicing.
Recipe adapted from Spend With Pennies.