Pennsylvania Dutch cooking is good eating. And the Pennsylvania Dutch are known for their ability to “make do” and combine ordinary foods in special ways.
One of the better-known dishes inside and outside of Pennsylvania Dutch Country is Pebble Dash or Shoo-Fly Pie.
Shoo-Fly pie is a very old folk food and may have its origins in treacle tarts. I don’t think I’ve ever been to an Amish farm stand or roadside Amish bake sale that Shoo-Fly Pie wasn’t for sale.
In actuality Shoo-Fly or Pebble Dash aren’t really “pies” at all in the ordinary sense. They are more a type of fluffy molasses cake that just happens to be baked in a pie shell.
The recipe below makes a “dry bottom” shoo fly pie. Shoo fly pies can either be a “wet bottom” or “dry bottom”. Wet bottom shoo fly pie has as the name implies, a layer of moist molasses and sugar on the bottom of the pastry shell.
Dry bottom is the older type of Pebble Dash or Shoo-Fly pie.
I personally don’t care for Shoo Fly Pie but my husband is very fond of it. If you love molasses and a not too sweet cake then this recipe is for you. It uses no eggs and can be made from ordinary pantry staples.
Shoo-Fly pie is traditionally served as a breakfast food with strong coffee in Pennsylvania German farmhouses. It is served slightly warmed and with whip cream in tourist traps.
Here’s the recipe that I use in case you should like to try it. It makes a single 9″ pie.
- One 9″ Unbaked Pastry Shell (Traditional)
- ½ Cup of Brown Sugar
- 1 ¾ Cups of White Flour
- 4 Tablespoons of Butter
- ½ Cup of Very Hot water
- ½ Teaspoon Baking Soda
- ½ Cup of Dark Molasses
- ½ Teaspoon of Salt
Mix the brown sugar, flour and butter together until crumbly. Remove ½ of the flour, butter & sugar mixture and set aside.
In a small bowl mix the hot water and baking soda until dissolved. Next add the salt and molasses. Add the water, soda, salt and molasses mixture to the flour, butter and sugar mixture. Mix well.
Pour the mixture into the unbaked pie shell or into a 9″ greased pie pan.
Sprinkle the top with the ½ of reserved flour, sugar and butter mixture.
Bake at 350ºF for 40 to 45 minutes.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool.
Serve for breakfast with strong coffee.