What is Wet Bottom Shoo-fly Pie?
This Amish wet bottom shoofly pie recipe is a traditional Amish breakfast pie similar to a coffee cake. It has a thin gooey molasses layer on the bottom and a cake-like center with a crumb topping. And all of that perfection is encased in a flaky pie crust.
Wet bottom shoofly pie is perfect with a cup of coffee! It is served in many Amish homes as a dessert with breakfast.
History of the PA Dutch Shoo-fly Pie
One intriguing aspect of the shoo-fly pie is its history. Where did it come from, and how did it get that disgusting name?
Shoo-fly pie seems to have its roots with the Pennsylvania Dutch. Some think its invention was due to Dutch housewives making do with what was left in the larder in late winter - namely flour, lard, and molasses.
According to one historian, shoo-fly pie started as a crustless molasses cake or Centennial cake. It was baked in 1876 to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence.
I don't think anyone knows for sure where it came from, but its history with the Amish goes back at least as far as the 1800s.
And it has a rather unusual name that is presumed by some to come from the fact that pools of sweet, sticky molasses sometimes formed on the top of the pie while it was cooling, inevitably attracting flies. Thus "Shoo-fly!" pie was named.
Shoofly Pie Wet Bottom is popular in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania
I grew up in the Lancaster County area, in the heart of Amish country. If you visit any Amish bakery in that area they will most likely have Shoofly pie on the shelf, as this pie is quite famous there.
We did not very often eat dessert with breakfast at our house. But I know that many Amish families do serve wet bottom shoofly pie for breakfast quite regularly.
My aunt made Amish shoofly pie every week because my uncle didn't think his breakfast was complete without a slice of pie.
Do the Amish eat healthy food? (Wet bottom molasses crumb pie)
I used to think that we ate fairly healthy, but looking back I'm not sure if we did??
The Amish do grow a lot of their own food, making it more organic. And they cook and bake everything from scratch, so there are no preservatives and not a bunch of processed food. So I guess they eat healthier than a lot of people do.
But we did eat a lot of carbs. We often ate bread, potatoes, and corn in the same meal, along with meat, a salad, and a dessert to finish it off. And sometimes we'd even add buttered noodles to the meal yet too. So you're looking at four different carbs plus dessert. And we always had dessert, except for breakfast.
We grew and froze a lot of sweet corn, and it seemed to be everyone's favorite vegetable. So we ate a lot of corn.
And the Amish love their baked goods. My dad was the one in our house that thought he always needed a little something sweet after his meal. He didn't eat a big serving, but he wanted at least a small piece of cake or pie. So we always had dessert in the house.
And I don't know if this sounds like a very healthy diet? But sadly, I still have a sweet tooth. And one of my hobbies is baking. Therefore it's a constant struggle for me to leave the sweets alone.
How to make authentic Lancaster County shoofly pie
To make this PA Dutch wet bottom shoofly pie, start with the wet ingredients. Bring water to boiling, remove from the heat, and add baking soda to the water. Set aside.
Put eggs and brown sugar in a mixing bowl, and mix well till it's creamy looking. Add the molasses and water mixture. Mix and set it aside to cool a bit.
For the crumb mixture: Mix flour, brown sugar, baking soda, cream of tartar, and salt. Add shortening and butter slices. Crumble with a pastry blender, or you can use your mixer with the paddle attachment.
Reserve 1 1/2 cups of the crumb mixture for the top.
This recipe makes 2 - 9" pies. So you will need 2 unbaked pie crusts. (Click here for my crust recipe)
Pour about 3/4 cup of the wet mixture into each pie crust.
Now mix your remaining crumbs with the remaining wet mixture to make the batter for the cakey middle part.
Divide this batter between your two pies and cover with the reserved crumbs.
Bake at 375 degrees for 15 minutes. Reduce the heat to 350 degrees and continue baking for an additional 30 minutes.
This pie does not need to be refrigerated. I store mine in the pantry or on the countertop covered with a tea towel. But if you make two and don't have a lot of people to help you eat it quickly, you can wrap and freeze one to keep it fresh.
Molasses for Amish Shoofly Pie
I hope you like the taste of molasses because this wet-bottom Amish shoofly pie is fantastic.
For this recipe, I substituted some Karo for molasses because I don't have any light-tasting molasses right now. But if I wanted to make it with just molasses, I would try to get a light-tasting kind.
There is a big difference in molasses. Some brands have a lot stronger flavor than others and are more bitter.
One of my favorite kinds of molasses for making shoofly pie is Golden Barrel unsulphered baking molasses. I grew up close to the Golden Barrel plant in Pennsylvania. And it's easier to find good molasses in PA than here in Missouri. But I can always buy it online, and sometimes I can find it at bulk food stores.
King Syrup is another light-tasting molasses that is great to use in shoofly pie.
But, if you don't like molasses, you could probably make this pie using just Karo instead of molasses, although that would not really be a shoo-fly pie.
This is the best shoofly pie recipe from Lancaster, PA! It's good Amish food!
Links to my Favorite Kinds of Molasses...
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More Amish Recipes you may want to try...
Amish Wet Bottom Shoofly Pie
- 2 c. brown sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 1 c. light-tasting molasses (Golden Barrel unsulphered baking molasses and King Syrup are some of the best)
- 2 1/2 c. boiling water
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- 4 c. all purpose flour
- 1 c. brown sugar
- 2/3 tsp. baking soda
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1/3 tsp. cream of tartar
- 6 Tbs. butter
- 1/3 c. lard or shortening
- 2 (9") unbaked pie crusts
- Preheat oven to 375°.
- For the wet mixture: Add 2 c. brown sugar and eggs to a mixing bowl and beat well. Add molasses.2 c. brown sugar, 3 large eggs, 1 c. light-tasting molasses (Golden Barrel unsulphered baking molasses and King Syrup are some of the best)
- Bring water to boiling, remove from heat and add 1 tsp. baking soda. Stir.2 1/2 c. boiling water, 1 tsp. baking soda
- Add soda/water mixture to egg mixture. Mix.
- Let this mixture cool while you prepare the crumb mixture.
- For crumb mixture: Mix flour, brown sugar, baking soda, salt, & cream of tartar in a mixing bowl.4 c. all purpose flour, 1 c. brown sugar, 1/4 tsp. salt, 1/3 tsp. cream of tartar, 2/3 tsp. baking soda
- Add butter (cut in slices) and shortening. Using pastry blender, mix until fine crumbs.6 Tbs. butter, 1/3 c. lard or shortening
- Reserve 1 1/2 c. of the crumb mixture to put on top.
- Pour about a 3/4 c. of the wet mixture into the crust bottom of each pie dish.
- Now pour your remaining crumbs into the remaining wet mixture. Mix together and divide between your two pies.
- Cover with reserved crumb mixture.
- Bake at 375° for 15 minutes. Reduce temperature to 350° and continue baking for 30 minutes.