The following recipe is from the July 15 edition of our weekly recipe newsletter. To receive this newsletter in your inbox, sign up here!
I grew up just outside of Philadelphia, and that meant many educational school field trips to Lancaster County, or Pennsylvania Dutch Country, as it's known. These trips involved interminably long bus rides out to a place that didn't really hold too much appeal for me. When I was younger I thought that farms and rural areas were, well, kind of boring. Sure, the guys driving the horses and buggies were novel, but aside from that I could really take it or leave it.
But one thing about these trips that did fascinate me was shoofly pie. The name alone sent my young mind into fits of speculation. Why would anyone name a dessert after shoes (I don't think that I realized how it was spelled), or, for that matter, flies? Were there real flies in shoofly pie? The filling looked pretty murky and brown, anything could be in there.
Now that I am a bit older, I've grown very found of farms and rural areas and I would absolutely love to take a trip out to Pennsylvania Dutch Country. I've even had a slice or two of shoofly pie and I can assure you that no version included shoes or flies.
This version of shoofly pie adapted from Mrs. Rowe's Little Book of Southern Pies by Mollie Cox Bryan is a cupboard pie. Cupboard pies are made with less perishable ingredients and aren't traditionally refrigerated. Many of the pies that fall under the category of cupboard pies, such as chess pie and raisin pie, are from recipes that were being made before everyone had the luxury of a refrigerator in their kitchen. Refrigerate if you like, but this pie will be just fine in your cupboard for a few days, if it lasts that long.
- 1/2 recipe Plain Pie Pastry or Vinegar Pie Crust (recipes follow)
- Crumb Topping
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup light brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/3 cup cold unsalted butter
- Liquid Bottom
- 1/2 cup light molasses
- 1/2 cup dark corn syrup
- 1 cup boiling water
- 1 egg beaten
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2/3 cup vegetable shortening
- 5 to 7 tablespoons cold milk
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup plus 1 tablespoon vegetable shortening
- 1 1/2 teaspoon distilled white vinegar
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 4 to 6 tablespoons ice water
Preheat the oven to 325°F. Line a 9-inch pie plate with one rolled out crust.
To make the crumb topping, combine the flour, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and butter and mix with a pastry blender or food processor until thoroughly combined and the mixture resembles fine crumbs.
To make the liquid bottom layer, mix the molasses and corn syrup, pour in the boiling water, and stir until evenly combined. Add the egg and baking soda and mix well.
Pour the liquid bottom layer into the crust, then sprinkle the crumb mixture over the top.
Bake for about 40 minutes, until medium set and dark brown. The filling should wobble very slightly in the center when the pan is jiggled, but a knife inserted in the center should come out clean. Cool on a wire rack for 1 to 2 hours before slicing. Serve warm or chilled, topped with a dollop of whipped cream or a drizzle of chocolate sauce if you like.
Plain Pie Pastry
- makes two 9-inch crusts -
Sift the flour and salt into a bowl. Cut the shortening with a pastry blender until it is the size of small peas. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of the milk over part of the flour mixture. Gently toss with a fork and push to one side of the bowl. Sprinkle another tablespoon over another dry part, toss with a fork and push to another side of the bowl. Repeat with the remaining milk until all of the flour is moistened.
Press the dough together to form 2 equal balls, then flatten into disks. Roll out the crusts right away. or wrap the dough tightly, smoothing out any little wrinkles or air pockets, and refrigerate for up to two weeks. On a lightly floured surface, roll out each ball to a thickness of 1/8 inch. Use a light touch and handle the dough as little as possible.
To prebake an empty crust, preheat the oven to 400°F. Press one rolled-out crust into a 9- or 10-inch pie plate. Line with parchment paper and weigh the crust down with dry beans or pie weights to keep the crust from bubbling or shrinking. Bake for 10 minutes, until firm and lightly browned. To parbake the crust, remove it from the oven after about 10 to 20 minutes, when you first see a golden hue to the crust.
Vinegar Pie Crust
- makes two 9-inch crusts -
Sift the flour and salt into a bowl. Cut in the shortening with a pastry blender until it is the size of small peas. Add the vinegar, egg, and just enough ice water to moisten the dry ingredients.
Form the dough into two equal balls, then flatten into disks. Roll out the crusts right right away, or wrap the dough tightly and refrigerate for up to 2 weeks. On a lightly floured surface, roll out each ball to a thickness of 1/8 inch.
To prebake an empty crust, preheat the oven to 400°F. Press one rolled-out crust into a 9- or 10-inch pie plate. Line with parchment paper and weight the crust down with dry beans or weights to keep the crust from bubbling or shrinking. Bake for 10 minutes, until firm and lightly browned. To parbake the crust, remove it from the oven after 10 to 20 minutes, when you first see a golden hue to the crust.