This Shoo Fly Pie recipe is a classic Pennsylvania Dutch treat that combines a rich and flavorful molasses crumb cake layered with a gooey molasses bottom that's baked in a all-butter pie crust. Enjoy it as-is or try it with a dollop of whipped cream on top for a touch of sweetness!
where did shoo fly pie come from?
Shoo fly pie dates all the way back to the late 1800's where it's been largely known to come from the Amish and the Pennsylvania Dutch region. Also spelled as shoo-fly pie and shoofly pie, this unique treat was originally in cake form and called the Centennial Cake. The pie crust was later added to make it easier to eat without the need for plates and forks.
The name, shoo fly pie, has thought to come from—and what I learned as a kid—the song, "Shoo fly, don't bother me". As the story goes, when women would do their cooking outdoors, they would have to shoo the flies away.
wet-bottom versus dry-bottom
There are two types of shoo fly pie, wet bottom and dry bottom. Here's the difference:
Wet bottom shoofly pie has a gooey molasses bottom with a cake-like texture on top, followed by the crumb topping.
Dry bottom is the cake-like texture throughout, followed by the crumb topping.
For this Pennsylvania Dutch shoo fly pie recipe, we're using the wet bottom method. It's similar to the Chocolate Funny Cake with its cake center and chocolate bottom.
what type of molasses should I use?
There are 3 types of molasses: light (mild), full flavored (dark), and blackstrap.
For this shoo-fly pie recipe, I recommend either the light or full flavored molasses.
The light molasses has a mild flavor and is the lightest and sweetest of the three.
The full flavored molasses has a thicker, stronger flavor with a slight bitter kick at the end. It's perfect for true molasses lovers out there and what is commonly used in this recipe. I also use it in my Super Soft Molasses Cookies!
Whatever you do, do not use blackstrap!
what does a shoofly pie taste like?
The dominant flavor and star ingredient of this old fashioned shoo fly pie recipe is molasses. When using a full flavored molasses, you'll get a strong flavored pie that is paired with brown sugar, a crumble topping, and buttery crust to give it a little bit of sweetness.
Many people suggest having it with a strong cup of coffee which cuts down on the slight bitter after taste of the full flavored molasses.
Not that I would know because I don't drink it. I just bake with it 🙂
If you've ever had a slice or two of shoo fly pie, then you can attest to the unique taste it brings to one's taste buds! If you love molasses, then there is no question you will absolutely love this pie.
tips for making the best Pennsylvania Dutch shoo fly pie
Skip the Mixer. Give your hand mixer and stand mixer the day off! To make this shoofly pie, you'll need 3 mixing bowl. 1 for the crumb topping, 1 for the bottom filling, and 1 for the top batter.
Note: If you're making my all-butter pie crust recipe, you'll need a bowl.
Use a Chilled Crust. This will keep your pie crust from slouching and can help prevent it from having a soggy bottom. This tip is for either the homemade all-butter crust or store-bought.
Note the Baking Times. There are two baking times for this recipe: 400ºF for 15 minutes then 350ºF for 30-35 minutes.
Embrace the Jiggle. Just like my perfect pumpkin pie recipe, this shoo fly pie will be done baking with it still having a jiggly center. This is okay. As it cools down it will set!
Cool Completely. After removing the pie from your oven, allow it to cool completely to room temperature on a wire cooling rack. Once cooled, cover with aluminum foil or plastic wrap.
Shoo fly pie will keep at room temperature for up to 3 days or in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
can I freeze shoo fly pie?
Yes, absolutely you can! Once it has cooled completely, double wrap it in either aluminum foil or plastic wrap. To keep it extra protected, place it into a large freezer bag.
Shoow fly pie will keep in the freezer for up to a month. Note that the crumble topping won't be as crisp, but the rest of the pie will be as it was when you first baked it!
interested in more Pennsylvania dutch desserts?
- Pennsylvania Dutch Chocolate Funny Cake - my no. 1 favorite dessert of all-time!
- Chocolate Peanut Butter Whoopie Pies
- Irresistible Peanut Butter Tandy Kakes
- Chocolate Covered Peanut Butter Eggs
Shoo Fly PieAuthor:
- 9 inch Deep Dish Pie Plate
- Spatulas and Whisk
- Pastry Blender
- Bench Scraper
- Baking Sheet, Jelly Roll Pan, or Baking Steel
all-butter pie crust (makes 2, 9 inch pie crusts)
- 2 1/2 cups All-Purpose Flour
- 1 tsp Granulated Sugar
- 1 tsp Salt
- 1 cup Unsalted Butter, very cold and cubed
- 1/2 cup Ice Cold Water
- 1/2 cup Warm Water
- 1/2 cup Full Flavored Molasses
- 1/4 cup Light Brown Sugar
- 1/4 tsp Baking Soda
- 1 tbsp All-Purpose Flour
- 1 Large Egg, beaten
- 1 1/2 cups All-Purpose Flour
- 1/2 cup Light Brown Sugar
- 1/4 cup Vegetable Shortening
- 1/4 tsp Salt
- 1/2 cup Full Flavored Molasses
- 1/2 cup Warm Water
- 1/2 tsp Baking Soda
all-butter pie crust
- In a large mixing bowl whisk together the all-purpose flour, granulated sugar, and salt.
- Using a pastry blender (or two forks), cut in the cold unsalted butter until you have small pea-size pieces. Some larger pea-size pieces are fine too!
- Add in the ice cold water, then using a bench scraper or spatula work it into the pie dough mixture. Rotate the bowl as you crape the mixture from one side of the bowl to the other until there is not more visible signs of water.
- Using your hands, begin to scoop up the dough then press it down with your fingers. Rotate the bowl and repeat, folding the dough until it has formed. Don't forget to include any dry bits of the pieces that may have fallen underneath the dough.
- Place the pie dough onto a lightly-floured, clean surface and divide it in half using a pastry cutter. Pat each half into a 1″- 1 1/2″ thick disc, then double wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and place them in the coldest part of your refrigerator (usually the back) for a minimum of 1 hour. Double wrapping the dough keeps any air from getting in and drying the dough out. The pie dough will keep in the refrigerator for about 3 days.
shoo fly pie
- Adjust the oven rack to the 2nd level position (just above center) and (on the same rack), place a baking sheet, jelly roll pan, or baking steel. Preheat the oven to 400ºF.
- In a medium size mixing bowl, combine all ingredients for the bottom filling and set to the side.
- For the top batter, combine the all-purpose flour, light brown sugar, vegetable shortening, and salt. Reserve 1 cup (147 g) for the crumb topping.
- To the remaining batter mixture, add the molasses, hot water, and baking soda, mixing until just combined.
- Pour the filling mixture into the chilled unbaked pie shell, followed by the batter. It's okay if the filling comes up the sides as you pour the batter in. Sprinkle the reserved 1 cup of crumbs over the top. Don't worry about the crumb topping sinking into the batter. It will remain on top.
- Place the pie on top of the preheated baking sheet and bake for 400ºF for 15 minutes. Then reduce the temperature to 350ºF and bake for 30-35 minutes more. You may wish to add a silicone crust shield the last 15 minutes of baking to prevent the crust from over browning. The pie will appear jiggly, but will set as it cools. Transfer to a wire cooling rack to cool completely. Serve at room temperature or chilled with a dollop of whipped cream.