I was surprised to come across a recipe for Shoo Fly Pie, especially in a Chicago area newspaper. I grew with Shoo Fly Pie, it was available at most restaurants and bakeries where I grew up. It’s essentially an Amish or Mennonite dessert, although there are versions of it in the deep south, too. It’s basically a pie made with molasses as the filling. Because it’s so sweet it was thought to attract flies which then have to be “shooed” away, and that’s supposedly how it got its name. When I was a little kid, I thought it was made with actual flies and refused to eat it. But now I love it, though it’s not the sort of thing you find here in California.
But the Northwest Herald has a recipe in their Saturday edition for Brown Ale Beer Shoofly Pie, courtesy of the NBWA. Authentic shoo fly pie, of course, doesn’t use beer and the Amish drink very little alcohol, and many drink none at all. But I can certainly see how adding some brown ale could work quite well, so I’m willing to give it a try. Here are a number of traditional recipes for Shoo Fly Pie at Berksweb, a tourist website for the county where I grew up in Pennsylvania.
Wet-Bottom Shoo Fly Pie.
Here’s the Brown Ale Beer Shoofly Pie recipe:
1 cup, plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3/4 cup light brown sugar (packed)
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup cold butter, cut into small pieces
1 large egg
3/4 cup brown ale beer (porter beer may be substituted)
1 cup mild molasses
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup boiling water
1 (9-inch) ready-to-use refrigerated pie crust (or frozen 9-inch pie shell, thawed)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
In bowl of a food processor, combine flour, brown sugar, cinnamon and salt. Pulse to mix. Add butter; pulse until mixture resembles fine crumbs. Remove 1/2 cup of the crumb mixture and set aside.
In large bowl, beat egg until well blended. Add beer and molasses; stir until just combined. In small cup, dissolve baking soda in boiling water. Stir into molasses mixture; add crumb mixture from food processor bowl. Stir mixture until well blended.
Pour mixture into pie shell. Top with reserved 1/2 cup crumb mixture. Bake in oven 35 minutes, or until filling is puffed and just set, and crumb mixture is lightly golden. Cool completely.