Here we are in West Virgina and enjoying some Shoo-fly Pie. We have chosen this pie for West Virginia owing to the large number of Amish settlers in the state. One might argue that Shoo-fly Pie is more closely associated with Pennsylvania, but we have other plans for PA….
History suggests that this molasses-based pie was originally called Centennial Cake and was first created around 1876 to honor the 100th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence. This pie is one of the many “pantry pies” that we know of. Since it has no eggs, milk or fruit, it would have been easy to make in the winter months, when such items were scarce. Some consider this more of a cake than a pie, with the main purpose of the pie shell to hold the cake together, making it easier to eat. The curious name perhaps comes from the gestures that bakers made while their pies were cooling. The sweet molasses would have attracted flies, hence the name “Shoo-fly Pie”.
1 1/2 C Flour
1/2 C Brown Sugar
1 t Cinnamon
1/2 t Salt
1/2 C Butter
3/4 C Unsulfured Molasses
3/4 C Boiling Water
1/2 t Baking Soda
Single-crust 9 inch pie shell (recipe below, or use a premade one if desired)
Preheat oven to 450 F.
For the topping:
Combine flour, brown sugar, cinnamon and salt in a medium bowl. Cut in the butter until the mixture resembles cornmeal.
For the Filling:
Mix molasses, water and baking soda together until smooth.
Into an unbaked pie crust, pour in the filling. Spoon the topping over the filling, trying to cover evenly.
Bake at 450 F for 15 minutes. Lower oven temperature to 350 F and bake 20 minutes more.
Single Crust for a 9-inch pie
1/2 c butter, chilled and cut into small (ie 1/2 inch) pieces.
1 1/4 c flour
1/2 t salt
3-5 T ice water (amount depends on humdiity)
In the bowl of a food processor, pulse flour and salt. Add butter and mix until the butter is the size of peas (this takes about 20-30 pulses). With the food processor running, add the water through the feed tube 1 T at a time until the dough comes together. Flatten to a disk, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Roll dough out to a 1/4 inch thick and fit into tart pan. Chill crust for 15 minutes.