Since we’ve decided that pie is cool this year, we’ll be highlighting some fruit pies later in the season when local farmers markets are brimming with potential fillings.
But what to do now, when autumn’s apples are getting mealy and the whiff of spring doesn’t inspire you to make another pumpkin or sweet potato pie?
Get frugal. Get simple. Get funky.
Try a shoofly pie.
Come on, you know you tried it when you visited Amish country. It’s a great pie. The wet-bottom version – our choice – is sticky sweet and satisfying – just the way Southerners like their desserts. Even though we all associate shoofly pie with buggy driving communities up north, its custardy molasses mix held together by a crumb topping makes it a close cousin to the Southern staples – pecan and chess pies.
Shoofly is cheap to make – one egg, dark brown sugar and molasses make up the backbone of the pie. That’s why I believe a recent story that said Amish cooks baked the pies and placed them on the windowsill to attract flies. That way, the bugs wouldn’t bother with the good pies that were coming out of the oven.
Well, other than those ubiquitous mock apple pies, one baker’s trash never tasted like so much treasure.
The best molasses to use comes from roadside stands in the mountains or farmers markets. But you can use any molasses from the grocery store. Just stay away from the blackstrap stuff. It’s tar-like consistency and flavor are too strong for this dessert.
Shoofly pie makes an excellent breakfast, served with a chunk of sharp cheddar cheese and a cold glass of milk.
1 9-inch pie shell
1 cup all-purpose flour
2/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
5 Tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
1 cup regular or robust molasses
1 tsp. baking soda
1 cup boiling water
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
In a bowl, combine flour, brown sugar and butter with a pastry blender until crumbly.
In a separate bowl, beat molasses, egg and baking soda together. Stir in boiling water and mix thoroughly.
Stir half of the crumb mixture into the filling and pour into pie shell.
Sprinkle remaining crumb mixture on top of pie, completely covering the filling.
Bake for 10 minutes, then reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees.
Bake 20-25 mintues until pie has puffed up and firmed around the edges.
Let pie cool to room temperature before serving. Store at room temperature.