For me, up until now one of the mysteries of US cuisine was the Shoofly Pie! Yep, it’s taken me a long time! I remember reading about Shoofly Pie as a child and thought, how good is that pie that you have to keep shooing the flies away. How sweet smelling it must be! I have always wanted to find a great recipe for Shoofly Pie. I think this is it and it will ease my childhood cravings for all thing American!
As an Australian kid growing up in the 70’s, I, like those around me, was influenced by so much that came out the America. There were the much loved Archie comics and Tiger Beat magazine, we listened to Donny and Marie (Osmond, that is!), had a crush on Shaun Cassidy, Leif Garrett or David Cassidy, we HAD to have a colour-changing mood ring. But there were some things from America that we saw in the magazines that we couldn’t have like sea monkeys and twinkies! I think every Australian child of the 70’s is nodding their head by now. BUT I also needed to try a slice of Shoofly Pie!
Of course, I found the best recipe in my favourite cookbook, A Baker’s Odyssey by Greg Patent. This is claimed as the “original” Shoofly Pie as the recipe was given to Greg by Will Weaver, a food historian, who got it from his grandmother who in turn got it from an old lady in Pennsylvania ” who got the recipe at the 1876 Centannial”. Apparently Shoofly Pie was invented for the US Centennial in 1876 so this recipe sound pretty “original” to me. The Shoofly Pie I was dreaming of had a “wet bottom”, an almost custardy like layer of filling. This pie is almost cake like and is meant to be picked up with your fingers and dipped into coffee. I found it to be reminiscent of gingerbread with all those heady aromas.
The pastry for this pie is excellent. Easy to work with and bakes up crispy and tender with no shrinkage. The pastry recipes in A Baker’s Odyssey have been fantastic, think Gâteau Basque and Pumpkin Empanadas, all perfect pastry recipes.
The molasses specified in the recipe is “unsulfured” which mean it is produced without the use of sulfur dioxide. Just check the ingredients list on the bottle – most molasses today is unsulfured. I loved the reaction when the molasses is mixed with the baking soda and warm coffee!
The liquid is pour directly into the unbaked pastry shell…
….the crumb mixture is then sprinkled over before baking.
Enjoy this pie with icecream, cream or pick it up in your hands and dip it into your coffee. It’s really good!
The Original Shoofly Pie ( " A Baker's Odyssey" by Greg Patent).
- 1 1/4 cups plain flour
- 70 grams (5 tablespoons) cold salted butter, cut into tablespoon sized pieces
- 2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
- 1 large egg yolk
- 3 to 5 tbsp. dry white wine
- 1 cup plus 2 tbsp. unbleached AP flour
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1 tsp. cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
- 115 grams (8 tablespoons)cold salted butter, cut into tablespoon sized pieces
- 1/2 tsp. baking soda
- 3/4 cup warm coffee
- 3/4 cup unsulphured molasses
To make the dough:
In medium bowl, rub the the flour and butter together with fingertips until mixture resembles medium fine crumbs. Separately in a jug or small bowl, mix together olive oil, egg yolk and 3 tablespoons.
With a fork or knife stir the liquid to the flour until it just comes together. You may need a little more wine but just add it a teaspoonful at a time.
Form a disk about 1" (2.5cm) thick, wrap with plastic and refrigerate for an hour. This dough can be made the day before.
Unwrap the dough, and place between 2 layers of non-stick baking paper. If it is too firm you may need to leave it for 10 or 15 minutes. Otherwise, tap it gently with the rolling pin to soften it slightly. This makes it easier to roll - a great technique. Roll the dough from the centre outwards. Use a little flour if it is really sticking. Adjust the paper to help you.
Spray a 9" (23cm) pie plate with cooking spray. Remove the top sheet of paper from the dough, and carefully invert onto the pie plate. Peel off the paper and gently lift and push the dough into the pie plate so that it fits into the corners and up the sides. Trim the excess pastry leaving 1/2" (about 1.5cm) overhang. Fold the excess back onto itself to make a double thickness and turn it upright to make a high standing rim around the edge. Flute the edge by pinching at regular intervals.
Refrigerate for 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 425F (220C)
Put all the topping ingredients into the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade and process 15 to 30 seconds until the texture of fine crumbs.
In a small bowl, dissolve baking soda in the warm coffee. Then stir in the molasses and keep stirring for 1 to 2 minute until the molasses is completely dissolved. The liquid becomes lighter in colour at the top and very bubbly.
Pour the filling into the unbakied pie shell. The gradually sprinkle on the crumb mixture. Start at the outer edges of the pie and work your way in using all the crumbs. A thicker layer on the outer edges prevent the filling from bubbling over while baking.
Carefully place the pie into the oven and bake for 15 minutes.
Reduce the oven temp. to 350F (180C) and bake another 35 to 40 minutes or until the crumb topping is golden brown and the center of the pie is firm and cake-like. When pressed gently, the top of the pie should spring back and a toothpick inserted will come out clean.
Enjoy this pie warm or at room temperature.