This entry is from BeanPlate contributor Nora Bee, our resident maven of authentic Great-Depression-era recipes. From homemade bread to pie to scrapple(!), Nora will deliver the old-timey baked goods in style. She also writes at her blog, Whopping Cornbread, lives in Seattle, and takes good care of one adorable, pie-scented baby boy.
Shoo-fly pie is a traditional Pennsylvania Dutch pie/coffee cake/breakfast/dessert thing. Growing up in rural eastern PA, our neighbor and grandma-equivalent was Mrs Nicholas. She was a real life farm wife, and made shoo-fly pie every week for her man to have for his breakfast. I've never had anything else like it anywhere: the molasses-i-ness, the cakiness, the wet bottom (oh! the wet bottom!). If you can get it to make a wet bottom of gooey molasses yum, that is--it can be sort of elusive.
There are as many shoo-fly pie recipes as there are cooks, I think, but this is Mrs Nicholas's recipe:
Start with an uncooked pie shell of some sort. I made my own crust here, because I was trying TO IMPRESS YOU, and it was fine, but I'm not convinced it was better than a frozen crust from the store. Some people can make great pie crust, not me. Also, this recipe is for a smaller pie, like the pre-made pie crusts in the foil tins (8 inches, I think). I have messed this pie up several times trying to use a bigger more "modern" deep dish pie pan and adjusting the ingredients.
OK, got your pie shell? Cool. Let's go then.
You have The Goo and The Crumbs. Both are easy and cheap. Once you have both, you pour The Goo into the pie shell, and sprinkle the crumbs on top, and right into the oven it goes. It's magic.
1 cup hot water
1/3 cup molasses
1/3 tablespoon baking soda
Mix above together until molasses is dissolved. I usually do it on the stovetop, but I don't think you have to as long as the water is hot enough to mix with the molasses. That's it! No, seriously, that's it. There's hardly time to stare at your sleeping baby or ponder the state of your laundry, which is how I often spend my cooking wait times.
It also makes a really stupid photo.
Now, The Crumbs:
1 cup flour
1/4 cup butter
1/3 cup sugar
Mix together with your hands until the texture of sand. That's it!
Extra cute if toddler in red PJs can help, but not necessary.
Now pour The Goo into the pie shell...
...and then sprinkle The Crumbs on top of The Goo. Do not mix! Just sprinkle. You want to avoid a mountain of crumbs in the center of The Goo. Nice, even sprinkling. (Apparently this crumb-sprinkling is what makes the gooey bottom layer at the end).
Now--be careful transporting to oven because The Goo is watery--bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. That's it! Done! Best served at room temperature, but if you are impatient to dig in, as we usually are, give it 15 minutes or so at least.