Shoofly Pie is a traditional Amish dessert made with crisp, buttery pie crust, an indulgent molasses filling, and a spiced crumble topping! Each bite of this delicious pie is layered in robust flavor and satisfying texture! Love this Southern pie like this Egg Pie and Chess Pie!
Y’all know how much I love a good slice of pie and I have still yet to meet a kind I didn’t like.
If you’ve never had shoofly pie, you’re in for such a treat! This unique dessert is so different from any other pie recipe I’ve shared before.
Shoofly Pie (or Melassich Riwwerboi in Pennsylvania Dutch language) is a classic Amish recipe with such a rich molasses flavor that is complimented by the sweetness of the brown sugar crumble on top! The contrasting textures between the crisp crust, gooey molasses filling, and the spiced crumble make for an irresistible pie the whole family will love!
How Did “SHOO FLY” Pie Get Its Name?
There are a few different theories as to how this funky, delicious pie got its name. Here’s my favorite one: Shoofly was a popular traveling circus animal in southeastern Pennsylvania who was taught to stand on his hind legs and wear boxing gloves on his front hooves. Shoofly was so beloved they named products in his honor, including a brand of molasses produced in Philadelphia! I know, it sounds a little far out but who doesn’t love a quirky background story?
What is it Made of?
Shoofly Pie is a traditional Pennsylvania-Dutch dessert that consists of a buttery pastry crust, a molasses-based filling, and a crumb topping. The filling of the pie tastes similar to a molasses cake: a deep, caramel-like flavor with a buttery, spiced brown sugar topping. Typically served warm, this robust, flavorful pie can be found all over Amish country!
Shoofly pie, or Molasses Crumb Pie, started as a crustless molasses cake. It was baked in 1876 to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence!
Shoofly pie is a variation of a treacle tart: a traditional British dessert made with shortcrust pastry, a thick filling of golden syrup, and breadcrumbs. Treacle is a generic term for any syrup made during the refining of sugar cane. Colonial Americans often substituted molasses for treacle in their recipes. A crust was added to make it easier to enjoy without needing a plate or fork!
Shoofly Pie is so easy to make! There’s no fruit to peel or slice, no pie crust lattice, and no ridiculous cooling time. Just simple ingredients and a few fun steps!
- Store Bought (or Homemade) Pie Shell- of course, using a homemade pie crust is going to yield the best tasting results. But, if you’re in a pinch or not in the mood to get your hands too dirty, using a store bought option is totally fine!
- Molasses- molasses is a type of syrup made from sugarcane or sugar beets. It has a deep, dark color and a bittersweet flavor that gives shoofly pie its unique taste.
- Dark Brown Sugar- to compliment the deep flavor of the molasses, I used dark brown sugar which already contains molasses in it. The result is a deviously sticky-sweet filling! Light brown sugar will also work.
- All Purpose Flour– just a little helps to create structure within the filling so it sets as it cools.
- Baking Soda– this will help the filling to puff up a bit and take space in the shell.
- Egg- eggs weren’t introduced to this recipe until the 1920’s because it was typically a winter dessert and hens don’t often lay eggs in the winter. When refrigeration and exporting goods became popular, people began to add an egg to the filling of this pie to help create a more stable, custard-like filling!
- Vanilla- most recipes for shoofly pie won’t call for vanilla but I find the addition helps to enhance all of the other flavors! You can omit the extract if you don’t have any on hand.
- Boiling Water- molasses is an extremely concentrated product, so we need to thin it out a little to avoid an overly sweet and pungent pie.
- Cinnamon + Nutmeg- both spices work together to add aroma and depth of flavor.
- Baking Powder- a pinch of baking powder helps to lighten the crumble and help it floof up a bit in the oven.
- Salted Butter- The butter will need to be cold and cubed. You can pop it in the freezer for a few minutes to make sure it’s nice and chilled!
How To Make Shoofly Pie
- Prep the Pie Crust- I don’t feel the need to prebake the crust, but if you prefer a crisper bottom I’d recommend doing so for about 8-10 minutes before filling. If the edges begin to brown too quickly as the pie bakes, lightly cover the edges with foil!
2. Make Molasses Filling- this simple filling comes together in one bowl! Be sure to carefully (and slowly) pour in the boiling water to avoid any egg curdling.
3. Create a Crumble- for the best crumble, I highly suggest using the coldest butter possible. You want varying sizes of butter throughout the drymixture but a coarse sand texture is what you’re looking for overall.
4. Bake- start checking for doneness about 40 minutes in. You’re looking for a mostly set pie with a very slight wobble in the middle. The pie will continue to cook/set the rest of the way as it cools.
5. Cool + Serve- your pie should rest on a wire rack for about 30 minutes after baking! Top it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or homemade whipped cream.
TIP: Shoofly Pie tastes best when served fresh and slightly warm, but keep in mind that allowing the pie to completely cool and set will make for a firmer and more stable filling. If you’d like cleaner slices, I’d recommend waiting until the pie reaches at least room temperature to slice it.
Homemade Shoofly Pie should be tightly covered and stored in a cool, dry place. If you are storing the pie for more than a day or two, you may want to place it in the refrigerator to keep it fresh for up to a week; you can also freeze shoofly pie for up to 3 months.
More of Grandbaby Cakes’ Best Pie Recipes
If you love this recipe as much as I do, check out a few more of GBC’s best and butteriest pies:
For the Crust
- 9 inch deep dish unbaked pie shell or 1 homemade single pie crust
For the Filling
- ½ cup dark brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons all purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ cup robust molasses
- 1 large egg room temperature
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup boiling water
For the Crumble Topping
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- ½ cup dark brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon nutmeg
- ¼ cup salted butter very cold
For the Filling
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
- In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the dark brown sugar, baking soda, and flour. Add in the molasses, egg, and vanilla extract. Beat until smooth and well-combined.
- Slowly pour in the boiling water while whisking to avoid curdling the raw egg. The mixture will start to look foamy.
- Carefully pour the molasses filling into the unbaked pie crust.
For the Crumble Topping
- In a mixing bowl, combine the flour, dark brown sugar, baking powder, and spices. Mix until combined.
- Using your fingers, a pastry cutter, or a fork, cut the butter into the flour until coarse crumbs form.
- Use a spoon or your hands to evenly spread the crumble over the top of the liquid filling. Be sure to get all around the edges!
- Carefully transfer the pie into the oven. Bake for 40-50 minutes, or until mostly set with a slight jiggle in the center. The pie will puff up but that will settle as it cools.
- Remove the pie from the oven and set it on a wire rack. Allow it to cool for 30 minutes. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream!
Another great recipe from you! I have never even heard of this pie but the description and pictures hooked me in. It’s really delicious and decadent, definitely needs a scoop of ice cream or some cream, in my opinion.
This was utterly divine! I’d never actually heard of shoofly pie so was keen to try it and so glad I did. Thank you for the fabulous recipe.
This pie is so good, perfect for molasses lovers! Thank you for the in-depth instructions on how to make it too.
i’ve never heard of Shoofly Pie but it was quite tasty
I haven’t had this pie in years. I can’t wait to make this deliciousness!