Shoofly Pie, or shoo-fly pie, is an unforgettable dessert because it has such an unusual name. No one really knows when the name originated, but theories include that pie-lovers had to “shoo flies” away from the sweet, sticky molasses-based pie every time they served it. The pie is a Pennsylvania Dutch traditional dessert, but it can be found in many different parts of the country these days and is popular around the holidays because of its similarity to gingerbread. My Maple Shoofly Pie is one of my favorite variations of this easy-to-make dish.
The pie is made up of two layers: a very liquid, molasses-based bottom layer and a streusel topping. The molasses layer is poured into a prebaked pie crust – and you must use a prebaked pie crust, or you will have a soggy-bottomed pie – and the streusel is generously sprinkled on top. It might seem like the streusel mixture will not stay floating neatly on top of the molasses layer, but it will. Once the pie is in the oven and baking, the streusel with combine with the molasses to make a gingerbread cake-like layer on top of a wet, sticky molasses filling, giving the pie a very unique and delicious texture.
My pie uses equal parts maple syrup and molasses. I used a rich Grade B maple syrup (also often labeled “dark amber). If you are a shoofly pie purist, you can omit the maple syrup and make this pie with only molasses, which is the most traditional way to make this pie. That said, I highly recommend adding maple syrup and making the pie recipe below. The maple syrup adds some additional sweetness to the pie filling and tempers the strong, slightly bitter, flavor of the molasses. You will still taste plenty of molasses flavor in every bite even with the addition of the maple syrup, but the whole pie is a bit more balanced and is not as overwhelmingly molasses-flavored as a molasses-only pie.
This pie is delicious when served slightly warm or at room temperature. If you opt to serve it warm, I recommend pairing it with a small scoop of vanilla ice cream or a dollop of lightly sweetened whipped cream on the side.
Maple Shoofly Pie
1 prebaked 9-inch pie crust, cooled*
1 cup all purpose flour
3/4 cup light brown sugar
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup butter, room temperature
1/2 cup molasses
1/2 cup maple syrup
3/4 cup water, very hot
1 large egg
1 tsp baking soda
Preheat oven to 350F.
In a food processor, combine flour, brown sugar, cinnamon and salt. Pulse to combine. Add butter and process until mixture is uniform and has a very fine, sandy consistency.
In a medium bowl, combine molasses, maple syrup and hot water. Whisk together and allow to cool for 4-5 minutes, until mixture is near room temperature. Whisk in egg and baking soda.
Sprinkle 2 tbsp of the flour mixture over the base of the crust. Pour molasses mixture into prepared pie crust. Sprinkle the rest of the flour mixture evenly over the top of the pie, making sure that it reaches the edges of the crust.
Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until the pie is set. Allow pie to cool completely before slicing.
Makes 1 pie. Serves 8-10.
* If your pie crust is not baked, roll it out and place it in your pie pan. Fill with pie weights (read this post) and bake at 400F for 15 minutes. Remove the weights and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes, until golden brown. Allow to cool completely before proceeding with the recipe.