This shoofly pie is crumbly and buttery on top, sweet and ooey-gooey in the center, and crisp and flaky at the bottom.
Its name might not be appealing, but it’ll surely knock your socks off!
If you’re not from Pennsylvania, the thought of a shoofly pie will most probably turn you off.
But to locals, this pie is simply legendary.
Its sweet, sticky, and ooey-gooey molasses filling alone will make your mouth water.
With the flaky crust at the bottom and buttery crumble on top, it’s to die for.
You don’t need to go to Lancaster County to get a slice of this pie, though. Just make it at home!
Want to learn how? Read on to see my easy yet incredibly yummy shoofly pie recipe!
What is Shoofly Pie?
Shoofly pie is a traditional Pennsylvania Dutch dessert primarily made with molasses and brown sugar.
This combination makes the pie intensely sweet, sticky, and ooey-gooey, almost like caramel.
It’s perfect for all the sweet tooths in your life.
Some say that shoofly pie was a cheaper version of the treacle tart.
Treacle is a similar-tasting British dessert that features refined sugar cane syrup.
Because it’s more affordable and available in the U.S., Americans commonly use molasses in place of treacle in recipes.
Why is it Called Shoofly Pie?
There are three theories, and it’s up to you which one to believe.
The first theory is that the pie was named after “Shoofly the Boxing Mule.”
He was a famous traveling circus animal in southeastern Pennsylvania in the late 1800s.
Shoofly had gotten so popular that people started naming products in the mule’s honor, this pie being one of them.
The next theory is that the pie’s saccharine and ooey-gooey nature makes it so attractive to flies.
So you need to shoo them away from it.
The third one suggests that the shoofly pie was actually invented to lure flies away from other dishes.
The sticky, gooey filling serves like a fly-trapping magnet.
What’s In Shoofly Pie?
The main attraction of a shoofly pie is the ooey-gooey filling, which is achieved by combining molasses and brown sugar.
A little bit of flour, baking soda, and an egg are also added to help the filling set.
Other recipes also suggest seasoning the filling with spices like cinnamon and nutmeg.
You can certainly do so, too, if you like to give your pie fall flavors.
Pro-tip on molasses: You have 3 options: light, dark, and blackstrap molasses. Choose according to your taste.
- For a more intense sweetness, use light molasses.
- Dark molasses has a richer flavor but is less sweet.
- Blackstrap molasses, the darkest among the three, has a very bitter taste. While some die-hard molasses fans like to use blackstrap, I don’t recommend it!
If you have both light and dark molasses on hand, I highly recommend using a mix of both for a perfect balance of flavors.
Wet Bottom or Dry Bottom Shoofly Pie
These are the two variations of shoofly pie.
As you can probably deduce from their names, these variations have to do with the crust.
Dry Bottom Shoofly Pie
This type of shoofly pie has a gingerbread-like bottom (or crust) with a soft, cake-like consistency.
It’s believed to be the older version of the pie.
The dry-bottom shoofly pie is best paired with coffee. Dunk the pie in your coffee for the best results!
Wet Bottom Shoofly Pie
The wet-bottom shoofly pie, which is the kind you’ll commonly see in Lancaster County, is crustless.
Instead, it only has 2 layers: the molasses filling at the bottom and the buttery crumble on top.
This recipe is a combination of both dry-bottom and wet-bottom shoofly pies.
It has a flaky pie crust at the bottom, a chewy molasses filling in the center, and a buttery crumble on top.
How to Make Shoofly Pie
Considering this pie has 3 different components, it’s relatively easy to make! Here’s how:
1. Roll the pie dough.
You don’t need to make this from scratch. Just get ready-made pie dough from the grocery. No one has to know!
Roll the dough into a flat round big enough to fit a 9-inch deep-dish pie plate.
Fit the dough into the bottom and sides, and crimp and trim the edges.
Refrigerate the crust for 30 minutes.
2. Make the filling.
Mix the brown sugar, molasses, egg, flour, and baking soda in a large bowl.
Gradually pour and stir in the boiling water until well combined. Let it cool completely.
3. Blind-bake the pie crust.
This baking method ensures that the pie crust stays nice and flaky even when poured with a wet filling.
Without this step, your shoofly pie will be soggy at the bottom.
To blind-bake, line the crust with foil and fill it with pie weights. Uncooked rice or dried beans will work, too.
Bake the pie at 425 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 minutes. Take the weights and foil off and brush the pie with egg wash (beaten egg yolk).
Brushing with egg yolks will make the pie crust all shiny and golden.
Put the crust back in the oven and bake for another 5 minutes.
Let the crust cool completely.
4. Prepare the topping.
Whisk together the flour, brown sugar, baking soda, and salt until well combined.
Using a pastry cutter or fork, cut in the cubes of butter until the mixture resembles cornmeal.
5. Assemble and bake the pie.
Pour the filling into the pie crust. Sprinkle the topping evenly on top.
Cover the pie with foil and bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 45 to 50 minutes.
You’ll know it’s ready when the filling has set and turned golden brown.
Let the pie cool completely before slicing. This’ll take about 2 hours.
6. Slice the pie, serve and enjoy!
Tips and Tricks
- Most store-bought pie doughs aren’t big enough to fit a deep dish. Get two for good measure.
- Opt for dark brown sugar instead of light. It’ll give your pie filling a deeper, more caramel-like flavor.
- Don’t overbake the pie! An over-baked pie won’t be as ooey-gooey in the middle.
- Check for doneness as early as 37 minutes in. You know it’s ready when the filling has set and is golden brown.
How to Store Shoofly Pie
To keep the integrity of the pie’s flavor and texture, cover it with plastic wrap.
You can store it at room temperature for 1 to 2 days or in the fridge for up to 5 days.
If you want to extend the pie’s shelf-life, freeze it!
Double-wrap the pie with plastic wrap and aluminum foil.
Label the foil accordingly and freeze it. The pie will keep well in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Allow it to thaw to room temperature before serving.
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