I live pretty close to the Pennsylvania Dutch Amish market in Cockeysville, MD and I have to admit, sometimes I just go into the market to browse and see what they have going on. After all, life is more exciting when I can gaze upon bacon-cheese, pear butter, an array of freshly made sausage, fresh pumpkin rolls, made from scratch cherry crumb cake and my weekly addiction—their Dutch crumb doughnut. No joke, it is smack-somebody’s-loved-one good.(Just saying…why should Mama get all the abuse?) So this week, when I made my visit I saw it, I looked at it and it had me curious. I had to inquire about what exactly is shoofly pie.
Now, I’ve heard of it before, but it’s one of those things that I have never seen so I needed insight and cultural context. Here’s the thing, I’m told that the only dumb question is the one that you don’t ask—still debating the validity of that statement but let’s assume we go with that logic for this purpose.
I asked the young Amish girl who was working the register and she seemed more than happy to answer. Muffled a bit through her sequined red mask, she told me it is an old Amish molasses and brown sugar pie with crumbles. She added, “We eat it for breakfast a lot!”
Presto…we have context! Now for a little more context, it’s called Melassichriwwelkuche in the Pennsylvania Dutch language. This term means “molasses crumb cake.” There are two kinds of shoofly pie, one is a wet bottom, which has a gooier custard-like consistency while the dry bottom is baked until it’s fully set, which brings about a more cake-like consistency. It can be served hot, cold or room temperature and often with a cup of strong dark coffee.
You know there has to be some kind of murky legend to the name; after all, it’s called shoofly pie! According to the Spend With Pennies blog, the dessert/breakfast treat may have gotten its name because the molasses-filled pie attracted flies when it was set outdoors to cool. Given how sweet this pie is, I think the folklore might just be true.
See the ingredients for shoofly pie below and get the recipe on SpendWithPennies.com.
1 unbaked pie crust
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour (185g)
⅔ cup dark brown sugar tightly packed (133g)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter cut into tablespoon-sized pieces.
½ teaspoon baking soda
¾ cup hot water
¾ cup molasses
1 large egg yolk room temperature