Culinary Sleuth


Shoo-fly Pie and Molasses

by Lynn Kerrigan


"A plump wife and a big barn never did any man harm."

...Old Pennsylvania Dutch saying.


Shoo-fly Pie

Shoo-fly Pie  
It's gooey sweet and unadorned by a top crust. What better invitation to come join the party does a hungry insect need? It should be called "molasses pie," but it's whimsically named shoo-fly because its "open" structure lures flies that must be shooed away. Shoo-fly pie is a Pennsylvania Dutch creation—a direct descendant of "Centennial Cake" introduced at the first World's Fair—the 1876 Philadelphia Centennial Exposition.


Pennsylvania Dutch

The Pennsylvania Dutch are children of German immigrants who settled in and around Lancaster, Pennsylvania, USA. Some Pennsylvania Dutch belong to the Mennonite or Old Order Amish religions. The word "Dutch" is misleading—the people have no relation with the Netherlands. It's a derivative of "Deutsche" (meaning German). It's believed that outsiders, unable to pronounce the word "Deutsche, used the term "Dutch" instead. Lancaster, Pennsylvania is known as Pennsylvania Dutch Country, Amish Country, or the "Heartland" and is the home of many simple yet delicious recipes.


Pennsylvania Dutch Cooking

Traditionally, "plain folk," Amish or Pennsylvania Dutch cooking is simple, relying on readily available ingredients—many grown or made on the family farms. Favorite foods include scrapple, pig stomach, shoe-fly pie, eggs (eaten with extra salt, pepper, and ketchup), funnel cakes, chow-chow, and cup cheese.



Molasses is the thick, dark-colored byproduct of either raw sugar milling or refining; it is a heavy, viscous liquid from which no further sugar can be crystallized by usual methods. Early shoo-fly pies contained "baking molasses" purchased from Amish grocers. Patrons toted empty quart jars to food purveyors that were filled with the thick syrup from barrels. Customers purchased "eating molasses" the same way.

Today, it's hard to find baking molasses. To make tasty Shoo-fly Pie use unsulphered molasses. Steer clear of any product labeled "blackstrap" as it has an overpowering flavor that's not appropriate for this simple pie. Blackstrap is used mainly for cattle feed or as a source of ethyl alcohol—it's that strong.


"Kumm Esse" (Come Eat) these recipes:


Illustration Copyright 1999 by Alma Shon


Current Culinary Sleuth Archive

This page created April 1999

Copyright © 1998-2001, Lynn Kerrigan. No portion of this article may be reproduced for publication without express, written permission of the author.

This page modified February 2007

The Global Gourmet
The Global Gourmet®
Main Page


Irish Recipes for
St. Patrick's Day

   Clip to Evernote

Bookmark and Share


Twitter: @KateHeyhoe

Search this site:

Advanced Search
Recent Searches


Kate's Global Kitchen
Kate's Books
Cookbook Profiles
Global Destinations
Holiday & Party Recipes
I Love Desserts
On Wine

Caffeine and You Caffeine and You
cooking kids Cooking with Kids
new green basics New Green Basics

Conversions, Charts
   & Substitutions

About the
Global Gourmet®
   Contact Info
   Privacy Statement

Recent Cookbooks

Cooking Italian
175 Home Recipes
4-Hour Chef
Bakery Cookbook
Barefoot Contessa
Bouchon Bakery
Burma: Rivers of Flavor
Cake Mix Doctor
Comfort Food
Craft of Coffee
Crazy Sexy Kitchen
Daily Cookie
Fifty Shades Chicken
French Slow Cooker
Frontera - Rick Bayless
Gluten-Free Quick & Easy
Jerusalem: A Cookbook
Kitchen Science
Lidia's Favorite Recipes
Make-Ahead and Freeze
Modern Milkshakes
Modernist Cuisine
Mystic Cookbook
Paleo Slow Cooking
Picky Palate
Pop Bakery
Practical Paleo
Quick Family Cookbook
Sensational Cookies
Smitten Kitchen
Southern Living Recipes
Sweet Life in Paris
Trader Joe's Vegetarian
True Food
Whole Larder

More Cookbooks


Kitchen & Home


Copyright © 1994-2013,
Forkmedia LLC



cat toysCatnip Toys

Kitchen & Home