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  • Writer's pictureThe Bendy Baker

Shoofly Pie, Anyone?

If you're not familiar with this classic Pennsylvania Dutch pie, you need to be.


I grew up in the outskirts of Amish country and was lucky enough to have had the Amish farmers visit our house with fresh produce, eggs and baked goods usually made by the women in the family.



History:

I've read varying accounts of when and how this unique pie came into existence, but I have no doubt it centered around early American immigrants from Germanic-speaking areas of Europe who settled in and around the areas west and north of Philadelphia.


shoofly pie country
Pennsylvania Dutch/Amish areas

Some accounts suggest the pie started as a crustless molasses cake, or Centennial Cake, and was baked in 1876 to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. Others date the cake to an early 1700's version of a treacle cake.


Whatever its origins, the pie is extremely unique and should be tried to see if it fits your taste buds. Although my recipe is tailored to gluten-free flours, you can easily make it with your favorite all-purpose flour.


Dry Bottom vs Wet Bottom:

There are two primary types of Shoofly pie recipes: wet bottom and dry. The dry version adds alternating layers of crumb and liquid producing more of a "cakier" texture. I prefer this wet-bottom recipe that matches my childhood memory.


The taste is pure gooey molasses with a simple crumb topping. Perhaps a bit surprising to those not familiar, the filling isn't overly sweet if you use blackstrap, unsulfured molasses. It delivers just the right amount of tang and slight bitterness that wakes up your taste buds and has you (and your taste buds) coming back for more.


Blackstrap molasses is a type of molasses that is particularly dark and robust in flavor, derived from the third boiling of sugar cane or sugar beet juice in the sugar-making process. This makes it distinct from regular molasses, which is typically derived from the first or second boiling.


Key Differences Between Types of Molasses:


Sugar Content: Blackstrap molasses is produced at the final stage of the sugar extraction process. After most of the sugar has been crystallized and removed, what

Boiling molasses

remains after the third boiling is blackstrap molasses, which has a much lower sugar content compared to molasses from earlier boilings.


Nutrient Content: Blackstrap molasses is richer in certain nutrients compared to regular molasses. It is particularly high in vitamins and minerals such as vitamin B6, iron, calcium, magnesium, and potassium.


Flavor and Consistency: Blackstrap molasses has a stronger, more bitter flavor and a thicker, darker appearance than regular molasses. This makes it less preferred for some culinary uses but highly valued for others, especially in recipes where its bold flavor can complement other ingredients. Due to its robust flavor, blackstrap molasses is often used in baking and in the preparation of hearty foods like gingerbread, baked beans, and barbecue sauces. Regular molasses, in contrast, is lighter and sweeter and has its own uses.


Now, drumroll, the recipe! Happy Bendy Baking!




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ann.yanchura
Apr 22
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

Now you've done it - made me want to bake a shoofly pie - wet bottom, of course! Thanks for the background on this very special pie. I've served it at a couple of gatherings - and have stopped doing so. It's an acquired taste for some.

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The Bendy Baker
The Bendy Baker
Apr 22
Replying to

It's not everyone's cup of tea, for sure. I would choose something else as a crowd pleaser.


But it's unique and special for those who appreciate the starring role ingredient.

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sjbritths
Apr 22
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

My Mom was Pennsylvania Dutch, whose ancestors arrived from Germany before the Revolutionary War. She loved Shoofly pie and made it often. Loved your post with the history,

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The Bendy Baker
The Bendy Baker
Apr 22
Replying to

I have this natural curiosity about how these baked goods came to be. Glad you enjoyed the history part!

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