|Margarita's International Recipes|
The Amish are well known for their desserts - and in particular their pies. Indeed, for every recipe I found for an Amish main dish, I found 5 or 6 for desserts. This is probably not surprising as many Amish supplement their incomes by selling pies and sweets.
I decided to make shoo-fly pie because it seemed to be a very traditional Pennsylvanian Amish dish (and I wanted to make something very typical) and because it was pretty unusual. I've had many fruit, cream, meat and even nut pies in my life, but I didn't even know what molasses were, much less had tried a molasses pie. I didn't expect it to be very good - indeed, I thought it'd be overly sweet -, but I was pleasantly surprised. We all liked it quite a bit, specially with the accompanying lemon sauce. In a way it tastes more like a cookie than a pie, and I think it would probably go very well with tea.
The pie is said to have acquired its name due to the fact that traditionally pies would be set to cool on windowsills; the sugars in the pie would attract the flies which would have to be constantly shooed away.
The following recipe is for 2 pies. The original recipe was for four but that was just too much. You may want to half it yet again to make just one pie. I used frozen pie-shells though you can make your own if you so chose to. You can also add 1 tsp. each of nutmeg and cinnamon to the crumbs. I used dark molasses, as I didn't know there was a difference when I went shopping for them at the supermarket. Later I found out that light molasses are better tasting - so I'd recommend that you use them. If you can't find them, dark molasses will do. In this recipe I have reduced the baking time because I think my pies overcooked a bit.
The accompanying lemon sauce is very nice, though you may want to half the recipe as the amount here is for four pies. When I made it I used bottled lemon juice and forwent the lemon rind - I think it would taste better with fresh-squeezed juice and rind.
2 pie shells, unbaked
For the syrup
1 cup light molasses 1 cup hot water 1/2 cup brown sugar 1 tsp. baking soda (scant)
For the crumbs
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour 1 cup brown sugar 1/2 cup butter 1/4 tsp. baking soda 1/4 tsp. cream of tartar
Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
Make the syrup by mixing together all the ingredients in a small pot. Heat and stir until they are disolved.
Make the crumbs by putting all ingredients in a bowl and mixing (by hand or with a blender) until they reach the consistency of crumbs. Pour half the syrup (about 1 cup) into each pie shell. Top with the crumbs (they will float on the syrup).
Place in the oven and cook on 450 for 10 minutes. Reduce the temperature to 375 and cook for 20 minutes. Further reduce the temperature to 350 and cook for a remaining 20 minutes.
2 tbsp. cornstarch 1/2 cup sugar 1/4 tsp. salt 2 cups boiling water 1/4 cup butter 3 tsp. lemon juice 1 tbsp. grated lemon rind
Mix together cornstarch, sugar and salt in a saucepan. Heat to medium heat and gradually stir in the boiling water. Cook until the mixture boils and becomes thick and clear, stiring constantly. Remove from the heat and add the remaining ingredients. Mix well and serve.
Adapted from Amish Cooking