I’ve got a new pie for you, and it’s really, really, really easy. It’s called shoofly pie! Have you ever heard of it? I’d read about it online a few times, and put it in the back of my brain box for a day where I wanted to make a pie, but didn’t have a lot of ingredients. As long as you’ve got molasses, you’re good to go, because that’s really the main ingredient in this pie. However, I was a little concerned that it’d taste too strongly of molasses for people who weren’t huge molasses fans (like me). I love the dark, almost bittersweet flavor of really good blackstrap molasses, but I know I’m in the minority here. To combat this flavor, I added some untraditional cinnamon and a touch of extra sugar to what is a very traditional recipe. Shoofly pie is originally a Pennsylvania-Dutch dessert, and as you might imagine, it gets its name from having to “shoo” away flies from all the sugar. Some people make it with lots of extra crumb topping, so it’s almost cake-like, but I prefer it when it’s mostly molasses filling, which is super custardy and thick and so, so delicious. If you’re a pecan pie fan and love that caramely goodness inside the pie more than the pecans itself, I have a feeling you may like this pie, too. It’s definitely something for those of you who like a bit of a palate-challenge. I like to think of this as the fernet of desserts. It’s dark and mysterious, but once you have a bite, you’ll be strangely addicted to it and you’ll have no idea why. I don’t really know if that’s what the Pennsylvania-Dutch who originally made this pie were going for, but that’s my story and I’m sticking to it. I think if you show up with this pie in hand on Thanksgiving Day, people are going to be pleasantly surprised. So go forth and mix it up this season – I dare ya.
The ingredients couldn’t be more simple.
But that doesn’t mean I won’t make a huge mess.
I love this pie dish because it makes every pie look absolutely perfect./images/2015/11/ShooflyPie/ShooFly-11_300.jpg
Kramer said that one of his co-workers said that the filling reminded him of a Fig Newton cookie, which is totally accurate and only solidifies my love for this pie.
- 3 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
- 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¾ cup unsalted butter, COLD (NOT room temperature), cut into pieces
- ¾ cup shortening, COLD (NOT room temperature), cut into pieces
- ⅔ cup ice water, plus more as needed
- 3 teaspoons distilled white vinegar or vodka
- ¼ cup unsalted butter, melted
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- ¾ cup brown sugar
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¾ cup boiling water (about 215 degrees F)
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 cup molasses
- 1 egg
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- Whisk together the flour, sugar, and salt in a large bowl. Add in the chopped pieces of cold butter (cold is essential for a flaky pie crust), then the cold shortening. Blend together with your hands (or, alternatively, a food processor) until you have coarse crumbs but a few pieces of buttery still clearly show through (it doesn’t have to be perfect).
- Place the dough back into the fridge for 15 minutes or so, so it stays cold. I don't always do this if I'm short on time, but if you can spare the minutes, it helps the dough a lot. Mix together the water and vinegar or vodka in a small bowl. When ready, slowly drizzle it over the dough, a tablespoon or so at a time, gently stirring the mixture with a fork or pulsing with your processor, until fully incorporated and the dough forms into a nice ball. You may not need all of the water. It might seem a bit too wet at this point, but it will dry up while it sits in the fridge.
- Form the dough gently into 2 loose balls, wrap tightly in plastic wrap, and chill in the fridge for a minimum of 3 hours or as long as overnight (obviously, overnight is best - I sometimes let this dough sit for 36 hours). Be sure to let your dough sit out at room temperature for 10 minutes or so before you start to roll it out. This makes enough for two pie crusts, so if you are only making one pie, you can freeze the other ball for up to 3 months (obviously, let it thaw out before using).
- When you're ready, preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Roll out one ball of pie dough on a well-floured work surface, until it's big enough to fit into your pie dish. Fold any excess pie crust under itself, then crimp or decorate the edges however you like. Place the pie dish in the freezer while you make the filling.
- In a medium-sized bowl, melt your ¼ cup unsalted butter, then add in your flour, brown sugar, salt, and cinnamon, and mix together with a fork until crumb form, finishing up with your hands once the butter has cooled. Set aside.
- Place your baking soda and granulated sugar n a medium-sized bowl, then pour the boiling water over them and mix until dissolved. Add in your molasses and mix until dissolved, then add in your egg and beat quickly so that it doesn't scramble. Add in your cinnamon and vanilla and whisk to combine, then add in about ⅔ of your crumb topping and mix with a spoon until combined.
- Remove your pie crust from the freezer and pour your molasses filling into the crust. Sprinkle the remaining ⅓ of your topping over the pie, then bake for 45-55 minutes, until set and the crust is golden. Allow the pie to cool for at least an hour before slicing, but I recommend letting it cool for 3 hours so it is completely set. This is a great pie to make a day ahead - just store it, covered, at room temperature, until ready to serve. After a day, cover and store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.