My Grandma’s Shoofly Pie

published Mar 12, 2022
Kitchn Love Letters
Shoofly Pie Recipe

This shoo-fly pie features a layer of intensely sweet molasses filling on the bottom, followed by a cake-like layer, and topped with sweet buttery crumbs.

Serves8 to 10

Makes1 (9-inch) pie

Prep20 minutes

Cook35 minutes to 45 minutes

Jump to Recipe
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shoo fly pie slice on counter with coffee scene
Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Anna Stockwell

I can’t blame you if the name “shoofly pie” doesn’t exactly send you running to the table to grab a slice. But I promise you — once you have a taste of this crumb-topped, gooey molasses-filled pie, you’ll be running back for seconds. This is one of my favorite pies, and is one of the first things I learned to bake with my grandma. I love how every time she bakes it, it comes out a little different. Sometimes the molasses filling comes out gooier, sometimes there’s more of a cake-like layer on top. The recipe is simple in its components, yet yields the most sweet, comforting slice of pie. It’s now become my husband’s absolute favorite pie (he requests it all the time!). 

What Is Shoofly Pie?

Shoofly pie, a classic Pennsylvania Dutch dessert, is basically a molasses crumb pie. There are two versions out there — a dry bottom and a wet bottom — and there are very strong feelings among shoofly enthusiasts about which version reigns supreme. The dry bottom is said to be the original form and has a dry, almost cake-like texture; the wet version has a layer of gooey molasses filling and a crumb topping. My Grandma’s pie features a layer of intensely sweet molasses filling on the bottom, followed by a cake-like layer, and is topped with sweet, buttery crumbs. To me, it’s the best of both worlds. 

Why Is It Called Shoofly Pie?

Like many food origin stories, tracking down the true history of shoofly pie can be tricky (or, in this case, maybe sticky is a more apt descriptor). Theories range from flies being attracted to the molasses to Shoofly the Boxing Mule, who was part of a popular touring circus act and ended up lending his name to various products, including a brand of molasses.

Why I Love My Grandma’s Shoofly Pie So Much

I love this pie because it’s a part of our family and our lineage, and it’s a dessert that I go back to time and time again. My grandma’s side of the family is Pennsylvania Dutch, and her recipe has been in the family for a long time. Baking it makes me feel close to my grandma, even when we’re thousands of miles apart. 

A tip from someone who’s eaten a lot of shoofly pie over the years: This pie is very sweet, so I recommend serving it with a hot cup of coffee.

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Anna Stockwell

Shoofly Pie Recipe

This shoo-fly pie features a layer of intensely sweet molasses filling on the bottom, followed by a cake-like layer, and topped with sweet buttery crumbs.

Prep time 20 minutes

Cook time 35 minutes to 45 minutes

Makes 1 (9-inch) pie

Serves 8 to 10

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

  • 6 tablespoons

    (3/4 stick) unsalted butter

  • 1

    pie crust, thawed if frozen, or 1 homemade single pie crust

  • 1 1/4 cups

    all-purpose flour

  • 2/3 cup

    granulated sugar

  • 2/3 cup

    hot brewed coffee

  • 1 teaspoon

    baking soda

  • 1/3 cup

    light molasses, such as Grandma’s Original

  • 1/3 cup

    dark corn syrup, preferably Karo

  • 1

    large egg

Instructions

  1. Place 6 tablespoons unsalted butter in a medium bowl and let sit at room temperature until softened.

  2. Arrange a rack to the middle of the oven and heat the oven to 350°F. Unroll one pie dough, or roll out a homemade dough into a 12-inch round. Transfer to a 9-inch standard pie plate (not deep dish) and ease it into the corners of the pan. Roll the edges of the dough under itself and crimp with your fingers or the tines of a fork. Refrigerate while you make the filling.

  3. Add 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour and 2/3 cup granulated sugar to the bowl of butter. Use a fork to cut the butter into the flour and sugar until the butter is cut into rough pea-sized pieces (it’s okay to have a mixture of sizes); the mixture will still be floury and not crumbly.

  4. Pour 2/3 cup hot brewed coffee into a large bowl. Add 1 teaspoon baking soda and whisk until combined. The mixture will start to bubble and look slightly foamy. Add 1/3 cup light molasses and 1/3 cup dark corn syrup and whisk to combine. Add 1 large egg and whisk until combined and smooth.

  5. Add 1/3 of the flour mixture (heaping 3/4 cup) to the molasses mixture and stir until combined and the crumbs are moistened; it will be lumpy and liquidy.

  6. Pour the filling into the pie crust. Evenly sprinkle the remaining flour mixture on top of the pie but do not push into the liquid, just let it sit on top.

  7. Bake until the center is set and springs back when lightly poked, 35 to 45 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let the pie cool completely, about 2 hours, before slicing and serving.

Recipe Notes

Storage: The pie can be covered and stored at room temperature for up to 3 days, or refrigerated for up to 5 days. Let come to room temperature before serving, or warm slices in the microwave for 10 to 15 seconds.