Bored Cook In The Kitchen

Tried and true recipes, new twists on old favorites, and new dishes to expand my family's palate.

Shoo Fly Pie

If you come from Pennsylvania, or any area outside of it, you have probably heard of this pie.  If you haven’t heard of it, you most likely have no idea what Pennsylvania Dutch baking is all about.  If that’s the case, you have to either get to the area and try it, or find a true and authentic Pennsylvania Dutch/Amish cookbook and try some of their recipes.  You won’t be sorry, I promise!

This is by far one of my husbands favorite pies.  If you are interested in the story of what inspired me to make this pie, you can read all about it here.


I had what I “thought” was an heirloom recipe for this luscious pie, only to realize what I thought and what was actually true was a complete misunderstanding.  It shattered my dreams but I’ll just eat 18 more pieces of pie and I’m sure I’ll be just fine.

Making this pie can be tricky.  Especially if like me, you were going for the wet bottom version.  It can be difficult to get that true wet bottom while still get the pie baked completely, without drying it out or over browning your crust.

I baked it and watched it very carefully, and it came out perfectly!  Looking exactly like the pies we’ve eaten so many times in the past.

The problem?  Something was definitely missing from this pie.  It was definitely lacking in sweetness, and despite the amount of molasses in this recipe, it doesn’t make for an overly sweet pie.  But it was also missing something else, and I can’t put my finger on it.  I keep thinking it might be cinnamon, but after searching more than 25 different recipes online, I only found two that incorporated cinnamon into the pie, where all the rest did not.  So I chose to omit it.  I’m thinking that may be part of what is missing.

Most of the recipes I found online were similar, with a few minor changes.  Some used white sugar, others brown.  Some used Crisco in the topping, others used butter.  Some were salted, some were unsalted.

I show you the recipe I tried, but I plan of combining a few other suggestions from other recipes and trying this again.  The consistency was perfect, but it needs just a little something more.  When I figure out what it is I’ll share it with you.

Shoo Fly Pie:

  • 1 Deep Dish Frozen Pie Shell (or you can make your own)
  • 1 Egg, room temperature
  • 1 Cup All Purpose Flour
  • 1 Cup Packed Brown Sugar
  • 1 Cup Molasses (Grandma’s Original Brand)
  • 1 tsp. Baking Soda
  • 1/4 tsp. Salt
  • 1 Cup Hot Water (I microwaved it for 3 minutes)
  • 3 Tbsp cold butter, cubed (I used unsalted)

Heat oven to 400 degrees.

Place pie shell on a rimmed cooking sheet.

In a large bowl mix the flour, sugar, and salt together.  Add the cubed butter and cut in with a pastry cutter, or two butter knifes until incorporated, but slightly crumbly.

In a separate bowl, very lightly beat the egg. 

In a larger bowl, add the molasses and then the beaten egg.  Mix together until just blended.  Add the baking soda to the hot water, mix and add to the molasses and egg mixture.  Using a wire whisk, gently mix the wet ingredients together.  You don’t want to beat the mixture, but you do want it well incorporated.  It will begin to turn a creamy brown and a little frothy, which is what you are looking for.  One done, take 1 cup of the dry ingredients and add to the wet ingredients, leaving the remaining dry ingredients to the side.  Incorporate the 1 cup of dry ingredients gently into the wet mixture.  It’s ok if this is a little lumpy.

Pour the wet ingredients into the pie shell, and then gently top the pie with the remaining dry ingredients, spreading to cover to the outer edges of the pie.  Do this carefully so you don’t sink the topping into the pie.

Carefully place the pie on the center rack and bake for 5 minutes.  After 5 minutes, turn the heat down to 350 degrees and bake for an additional 30 minutes, turning the pie once halfway through the baking process. 

It will be jiggly, but near the end of the baking, it will firm up.  Mine took a total of 38 minutes to be done perfectly, from start to finish.

Allow the pie to cool completely on a cooling rack.  It will continue to set up the longer it sits.

When you cut into it there will be a “wet bottom” but this is normal.

Serve with some ice cream or just plain.

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5 responses to “Shoo Fly Pie

  1. tjnjtown June 25, 2010 at 12:40 PM

    Never tried shoo-fly pie……Sounds like a pecan pie without the pecans….. the pecans are the best part.

  2. boredcook June 26, 2010 at 9:49 PM

    Oh, I LOVE pecan pie.

    But Shoo Fly and Pecan pie are two completely different tastes. With pecan pie your sweetner is corn syrup, and of course, lots of pecans.

    With a Shoo Fly pie the main sweetner is the molasses, which has a completely different taste than the corn syrup. Molasses is a more smokey sweet flavor, if that makes sense.

    Even if you were to put pecan in a Shoo Fly pie, it still would taste completely different from a pecan pie.

    Of course now after talking about this, I really want pecan pie! 🙂

  3. Joni Elaine July 1, 2010 at 2:28 PM

    That looks delish!!! Hey girlie! Hope you have a great 4th of July!

  4. Kevin Schroll July 16, 2010 at 6:24 PM

    I actually live in pa dutch county, I just stumbled onto your website and saw a recipe for shoo fly pie and couldn’t believe my eyes. There’s nothing in this world quite as tasty as a shoo fly pie. When I went off to college 3 years ago I loved getting shoo fly pie and other only pa dutch county foods.

    After reading over your recipe i’m not sure you want to use cinnamon or if you do use it sparingly. I work at my old high school during the summers and people always bring in home cooked food. One of our custodians used to be a cook and made a homemade shoo fly pie last week and it tasted delicious but you could taste the cinnamon and it changed the whole taste of the shoo fly pie.

    I’m not much of a cook myself I just like to tinker in the kitchen from time to time, but i’ve eaten enough shoo fly pies to know you also want to keep them as moist as possible. You might want to cut down on the crumble a little to let the molasses be the main part. Most shoo fly pies are about 50-70% crumble on top and the rest is molasses. I also know that the pie shells are almost always handmade and are usually thin, since they break while eating the pie but it’s part of what makes them so good.

    I read the story about your family recipe, i’m sorry that the recipe you held onto all those years thinking it was a family recipe wasn’t, but maybe you can experiment and perfect your shoo fly pie to start a new family recipe 😉 .

    • boredcook July 19, 2010 at 8:24 PM

      Hey, Kevin!

      I agree about the cinnamon. I don’t ever remember eating this pie with a cinnamon taste to it. Not to say it wasn’t there, but if it was, it wasn’t strong enough to really stand out. Out of all the recipes I found, only two called for cinnamon, so I wasn’t overly concerned that it was a major ingredient in this pie.

      I’ll probably try it again.

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