American Classics

Lost classic desserts from our wide and varied past.

American Classics: How to Make Shoo-fly Pie

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[Photograph: Alexandra Penfold]

My childhood vacation to Pennsylvania Dutch country was defined by going on the "how they make the chocolate" ride at Hershey Park and discovering Shoo-fly Pie. I've always been drawn to Pecan Pie. How can you resist the lure of that sticky, gooey filling? Alas, since I have a allergy, actually tasting a slice is not in the cards. Enter Shoo-fly Pie. Though by no means a direct substitute, this crumb topped, sweet yet earthy, molasses-filled pie has since become one of my favorite comfort treats.

Though Shoo-fly Pie is made with basic pantry staples—all you need is butter, flour, brown sugar, molasses, eggs, baking soda and water—for the longest time, baking one at home has eluded me. With such a simple dessert surely decades of Amish baking tradition were needed to get it just right. I'll be the first to admit that I was intimidated into submission.

The confidence to make it at home came via my Mennonite college roommate, who shared her family recipe which I've adapted here for use with modern kitchen gadgetry. Trust me when I say that the preparation couldn't be simpler. If you already have pie crust on hand, you can have this pie ready for serving in under an hour. With a flaky, buttery crust and a bold molasses filling this pie washes down well with a glass of milk or a cup of hot coffee.

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Shoo-Fly Pie »

Got a favorite classic American dessert recipe you'd like to see featured here? Email us with the subject: "American Classics."

About the author: Alexandra Penfold is mild mannered children's book editor by day, food ninja by night. Never one to skip dessert she's the Brownie half of Blondie & Brownie and a Midtown Lunch contributor. You can follow her on twitter at @blondiebrownie.

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