This traditional and delicious Mennonite dessert, best made with cider molasses, is a cake baked in a pie crust.
- butter, cold
- cider molasses
- baking soda
- boiling water
- unbaked pie crust
- whipped cream
Breakfasts That Include Dessert?
Until I had children, I could never understood the traditional Amish Mennonite breakfasts. Imagine it – breakfasts so large that they end with dessert!
Then I became the mother of BOYS … boys with bottomless pits instead of stomachs, boys who waking up looking for food and are absolutely starving half an hour after they eat.
Now I understand why these farm mothers would fill their hard-working boys and men up with potatoes, eggs, and meat, washed down with plenty of strong coffee, and then polish off breakfast with a slice of Shoofly Pie to go.
Now that you have a belly full of food – off to the hay field, wood pile or barn with you … or off to wash all that laundry, weed that garden, or milk a herd of goats.
Baked in a crust, this crumbly molasses-rich pie is much more like a cake, and it is probably based on treacle cakes from England. The crust makes it sturdy enough to hold in one hand and eat without plate or fork.
Shoofly was definitely a breakfast dish, but most of us are more likely to have it as a very sweet dessert, akin to French Canadian Sugar Pie, served in tiny pieces with whipped cream. Try varying it by pouring the batter into individual tart shells – they'll cook faster that way.
The story is that sticky molasses sometimes formed on the surface as it was cooling, and so they had to be shooed away. Since this was likely made in the winter, though, there were no flies.
Rather, I think some men were handed this cake-in-a-pie-shell and told to shoo themselves off to the workshop. Or … as boring as it might be, this oddly named pie is simply named for the brand of molasses that the first cooks used.
The molasses is what makes this pie.
Hey Where's the Crumb Topping?
A quick note about this photo – if you're familiar with Shoofly Pie, you're probably wondering what happened to the crumb topping.
The answer is that my 7 year old helper was a bit overzealous and dumped the crumb mixture into the molasses mixture before I could fill the pie crusts.
Instead of pouring the molasses mixture into the crusts and then putting the crumbs on top, it got all mixed up. (And it was still delicious so I figured I'd post it anyway)
SO – if you want to mix it all up in the bowl, it won't be completely traditional, but it'll still make a delicious dessert!
Sometimes cooking ‘mistakes' are just new variations, and having the willing help of a child is definitely worth having a recipe turn out slightly less than ‘perfect'.
Plus it gave me an excuse to do the recipe again the right way!Print