Shoo-Fly Pie


If you’ve been to a country church supper, you’ve probably been exposed to Shoo-Fly Pie even if you had no idea what it was. Or maybe that’s just me who was eating Shoo-Fly Pie for a couple years before I figured it out. It’s a charming, old-fashioned name for a pie, and it’s certainly one that never made an appearance in the kitchen of my childhood suburban home. And while you country people are laughing at me, I know some of the rest of you are saying, “What IS Shoo-Fly Pie?”

Shoo-Fly Pie is a molasses and brown sugar pie with a crumb topping. Its origins date back to treacle tarts in medieval Europe, but it gained popularity in America as settlers arrived with what staples could outlast a trip across the Atlantic by boat and intrepid cooks made do with what they had. Among these settlers were what became known as the Pennsylvania Dutch, who were major pie-lovers (like me! I am a PIE LOVER and why I don’t have Pennsylvania Dutch blood in my veins, I don’t know) and they continued to make do every late winter and early spring as food supplies ran low and Shoo-Fly Pie became their signature dish. Why it’s called Shoo-Fly Pie is debatable, but most likely because during Colonial times, baking was done outdoors and the sweet molasses filling bursting out of this pie attracted flies.

And whatever. It’s good pie!! My kids will eat it. In fact, I’m lucky if I get one slice, and I have all the ingredients on-hand all the time, no special trips to the store. Which, when you live in the boonies, is a major consideration. And, wow, don’t you just love the name of this pie? Can you live another day without getting to say you are baking a Shoo-Fly Pie?

Shoooooo-Fly Pie. Just try saying it out loud a couple times. It’ll make your day all sparkly.

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How to make Shoo-Fly Pie:

3/4 cup dark corn syrup
1/4 cup molasses
1 cup boiling water
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 egg
1 cup topping mixture

In a medium-size bowl, combine dark corn syrup, molasses, boiling water, and soda. Scoop out a 1/2 cup of the corn syrup and molasses mixture into a small bowl. Add egg and whisk together then dump back into larger bowl with the whole corn syrup/molasses mixture. To finish the filling, you’ll need to prepare the topping mixture.

3/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons shortening
2/3 cup firmly-packed dark brown sugar

Using a pastry cutter, blend flour, shortening, and brown sugar into coarse crumbs.

Mix 1 cup of the crumbs into the prepared bowl of corn syrup/molasses filling, reserving the rest of the crumbs to top the pie.

Pour corn syrup/molasses mixture into one unbaked single-crust Foolproof Pie Crust shell. Evenly sprinkle reserved crumbs on top. I get all obsessed trying to spread the crumbs out evenly on top of the pie.

Bake on lowest oven rack in a preheated 400-degree oven for 25 minutes. Let cool to room temperature or chill it. Serve with whipped cream.

See this recipe at Farm Bell Recipes and save it to your recipe box.

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  1. Kathryn says:

    Good morning! What a lovely pie. I think that is a perfect breakfast right there. Have a wonderful rest out on your pie porch!

  2. [email protected]&Me says:

    Thanks for the recipe!

    I just had shoo fly pie when vacationing in Lancaster County, PA (Amish country) last week. 🙂

  3. happyathome says:

    This just goes a lng with mince meat pie and rhubarb pie! I will have to give it a whirl. I have a pineaplle cream pie I will be petting on my blog site next week. It is easy and great for the summer time!

  4. Heidi says:

    Girl – now you can get into one of them thar rockin chairs and eat pie on the PORCH!!! LOL Looks delicious!! 🙂

  5. Cyndi Lewis says:

    How about eating Shoo-fly Pie while quilting a Shoo-fly patterned quilt?

  6. Blaze says:

    Looks tastey!

    And I have a question.
    Have you ever made pumpkin bread?
    I got some from the bakery of Jungle Jim’s outside of Cincinnati and its AWESOME!
    I would love to figure out how they made this thing so I don’t have to you know..commute 3 and a half hours to the store to get more :thumbsup:

  7. jane says:

    Always heard of it but have never seen it nor tired it until now. I love to bake so I will add this to my list of great pies.

    another idea – write a book about a girl who grows up in WV in the “boonies”, becomes an adult, etc. not sure of the time period though. you could do it. the kids book on chickens would be great i think too.

  8. Jyl says:

    I have heard of this pie but have never tried it. I will have to remedy that!

  9. Sarah in Sanford says:

    Hey Suzanne, I haven’t commented in a while, but I have been reading everyday. This pie looks delicious and sounds super sweet. I love it when you do recipe posts. Now, if only I could bake!?

  10. Jill S. says:

    Looks like HEAVEN. I really need you to come back this way and cook for us again!!!

  11. Kathy R says:

    When I read your post I started humming…

    April 4th, 1946 Dinah Shore’s recording of this song make the charts. (I grew up with my Uncle Charly listening to the Big Bands.) Here are some of the lyrics:

    “Shoo Fly Pie and Apple Pan Dowdy
    Makes your eyes light up,
    Your tummy say “Howdy.”
    Shoo Fly Pie and Apple Pan Dowdy
    I never get enough of that wonderful stuff.”

    If you are interest, here’s the link so you can read the lyrics to the whole song:

    I think the quote says it all. It’s good (how could anything made primarily with molasses and sugar be anything else. It’s fattening, but good! I’ll have to find some way to incorporate butter into the recipe so it will include all my favorite food groups!

    Now give us the recipe for Apple-Pan-Dowdy. I know you have it…or ask Georgia! :hungry:

  12. Debbie says:

    Looks yummy! I wouldlove to be sitting on your porch right now with a slice of that and a cup of coffee. I love shoo fly, and have a recipe somewhere for an applesauce version that’s tasty as well.

    Now that you are branching into “Pennsylvania Dutch” cuisine, you have to make some Funny Cake. I bet your kids will like that too. :hungry:

  13. Robin G. says:

    Looks delicious. And will probably kill you stone dead.

  14. Treasia says:

    I’ve heard of this pie many times but never knew what it was made of. Thanks for sharing. It sounds really good. I remember the first time I heard of buttermilk pie I thought I was never ever going to eat one of those. They are really good as well.

  15. Jodie says:

    As an urban Texan, I have never gotten to taste one, but had heard the name before. Sounds so sweet that it would sent my hubby into a diabetic coma just smelling it! No shoo-fly-pie for us. 😥

  16. Kim W says:

    Hey! Thanks SO MUCH for the recipe…and thanks for the PRINTABLE recipe, too. I’ve heard of this pie all my life and never knew what it was made of. Mystery solved. :thumbsup:

    Blessings from Ohio…

  17. Susan says:

    Now Suzanne, I’m a country gal who has eaten Shoo-Fly Pie for as long as I can remember and lives not far from the Pennsylvania Dutch country, but I’d never laugh at you! Only with you. :yes: Anyway it’s amazing how many people have had Shoo-Fly Pie without knowing it. :woof:

  18. Brandy says:

    That looks YUMMY! I need to pick up some molasses……*G*

  19. Donna says:

    Of course I have heard of Shoo Fly pie! I have lived up North and go up there often! I think I even looked up what was in it, because I was curious…however, I am not sure if I have eaten one.
    My father in law LOVES Rhubarb and Elderberries and I detest Rhubarb…my husband’s family loves to tell stories about those awful Elderberries and Rhubarb. LOL
    I just now found the blog..after a couple days..I missed those cute pictures of the day!

  20. maryann says:

    Hey Blaze;
    1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree
    4 eggs
    1 cup vegetable oil
    2/3 cup water
    3 cups white sugar
    3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
    2 teaspoons baking soda
    1 1/2 teaspoons salt
    1 teaspoon ground cinnamon & ground nutmeg
    1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
    1/4 teaspoon ground ginger (For me this is optional)
    1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
    Oil and flour three 7×3 inch loaf pans.(I use Bakers Joy)
    2. In a large bowl, mix together pumpkin puree, eggs, oil, water and sugar until well blended. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and ginger. Stir the dry ingredients into the pumpkin mixture until just blended. Pour into the prepared pans.
    3. Bake for about 50 minutes. Loaves are done when toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

    This is my late MIL’s recipe and she was from Maine.

  21. maryann says:

    You can use other size pans, just adjust your baking times. You can also change other ingredients for a different taste. I sometimes do 2 cups white sugar and 1 cup brown sugar (sometimes I will use the dark brown for the slight molasses taste). Next time I am going to try and replace half of the oil with applesauce.

  22. Estella says:

    Looks good!

  23. Carolyn says:

    My Mom’s family is Pennsylvania Dutch and this was one of our favorite pies when we would visit them. Yours looks perfect … just like theirs. xxoo

  24. Suzanne McMinn says:

    I actually have a pumpkin bread recipe here, but it’s really more of a holiday pumpkin bread.

  25. Christine says:

    I just wanted you to know that you and you alone are responsible for at least five of the fifteen extra pounds around my waist. :hungry: :mrgreen:

  26. Blaze says:

    I will so be trying to make some pumpkin bread soon!
    Thank you both!
    I love pumpkin pie and this bread is just pure awesome

  27. Paula Bogdan says:

    Having grown up in and around Amish country in PA, I am a love of shoefly pie! When I was small, my dad convinced me that it was made of dead flies. Of course, I wouldn’t touch it. It took me a long time before I figured out that he just wanted the whole pie for himself! I love the stuff!

  28. ML says:

    I’m one of those “what the heck is shoo-fly pie” people. I’ve heard the kid’s song before but I had no idea what it was. What about “Shortening Bread”? At least I know what Cracker Candy is now. Thanks for opening up my world a little bit more Suzanne, love your site!

  29. IowaCowgirl says:

    You are wonderful as usual. I love this pie. And I love your chickens.

  30. Jen in TN says:

    Here in Tennessee I was told a pie like this was made on baking day from simple, super-sweet stuff and set on the windowsill to keep the flies away from the pies with dearer ingredients.


    (Another saying I learned here: “A day late and a dollar short” ~ posting on June 4!!)

  31. Heidi @ Indy Photography says:

    mmmmmm i LOOOOVE shoofly pie. my mom grew up in PA so i am well accustomed to this pennsylvania dutch treat! yummmm. now i’m craving some….

  32. Rebekah says:

    Shoo-Fly Pie, and Apple Pan Dowdy…

    That was one of my favorite songs when I worked at a radio station in college. Didn’t know what it was until now! 😀

  33. Joy says:

    I grew up near the PA Dutch Country & had many Shoo-fly Pies over the years. I live in the south now, but have to make one now & then. Shoo-Fly Pie is wonderful with a dip of vanilla ice cream & a glass of milk!

  34. Sheila says:

    My diets about to go right out the window LOL. :hungry:

  35. Sheila says:

    I made this for one of my neighbors for xmas and she couldn’t stop talking about it , she took some to church with her and judging from the way she was talking , they enjoyed it too , she also really liked your grandmother bread :). Your recipes definately bring joy to people :yes: .

  36. zteagirl71 says:

    I love that song “..hum hum …shoo fly pie and apple pan dowdy…hum hum…can never get enough of that wonderful stuff…”now give us a recipe for apple pan dowdy – that’s the one I really want. When I went to school in Cheney, Wa. they served a brown apple betty on the school lunch program; it was so darn good that I gave up my recess just to work in the kitchen to have at the leftovers! I’m hoping apple pan dowdy is the same thing – I want that recipe! :hissyfit:

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