19 September 2010

Late-summer rerun: From the land of the shoo-fly

This post ran originally on October 3rd, 2008. In an effort to reclaim some part of my life, I'm dipping into my archives on weekends for the time being.

I grew up in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania; and no, I'm not Amish. I've been away from those gently rolling hills for a long time but Thanksgiving makes me nostalgic. I may not be Amish, but it doesn't take an Amishman to appreciate pretty countryside and an urge to make things by hand.

Arguably, Lancaster County's signature dish is a little something called shoo-fly pie. Shoo-fly pie is one of those things that everybody's heard of but never encountered first hand. Shoo-fly pie is one of my favorite things to bake and it can't be the holidays in my house without it.

The first time I ever made one for a party, everyone thought it was so exotic and cosmopolitan. That is funny on so many levels at one time I can't stand it. Anyhow, here's my recipe for cosmopolitan and exotic shoo-fly pie.

Pie dough for a nine-inch pie
1 cup of all-purpose flour
2/3 cup of firmly packed, dark brown sugar
5 tablespoons of unsalted butter (softened)
1 cup light molasses
1 large egg
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup boiling water

Roll out pie dough and turn into a nine-inch pie plate. Trim and flute the edges. In a mixing bowl, combine flour, brown sugar and softened butter. Mash with a fork until it reaches a consistent, crumbly consistency. In a separate bowl, beat together the molasses, egg and baking soda with a large spoon until blended. Stir in the boiling water and mix thoroughly (this will begin to foam). Stir half the crumb mixture into the molasses mixture and pour into the crust. Sprinkle the remaining crumb mixture evenly over the top. Bake a 400 degrees, on the center rack, for 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to 350 degrees and bake until the pie filling has puffed around the sides and is firm in the center, about 20 to 30 minutes more. Cool on a rack.


  1. You know, Thanksgiving is just around the corner here in Canada.. I might just need to make this exotic pie for dessert this year!

  2. That's right it is. Your friends and family will thank you if you make this. Shoo-fly and a cup of coffee go together like few other combinations. Really.

  3. I'm glad you're trying to reclaim a life away from your "real job" and blogging, which can be all-consuming, that's for sure. And, as a new reader of your blog, I appreciate your recycling posts idea. Otherwise, I would never have found out about the exotic, cosmopolitan shoofly pie...

  4. Actually, it's to free up my weekends so I can better deal with the other hats I wear but don't tell anybody.


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