One of America’s Favorites – Shoofly Pie

October 22, 2018 at 5:02 AM | Posted in One of America's Favorites | Leave a comment
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Shoofly pie

Shoofly pie

Shoofly pie (or shoo-fly pie) is a molasses pie or cake that developed its traditional form among the Pennsylvania Dutch in the 1880s, who ate it with strong black coffee for breakfast. It is called Melassich Riwwelboi or Melassichriwwelkuche (molasses crumb cake) in the Pennsylvania Dutch language.

Shoofly pie is a molasses crumb cake that was baked in a pie crust. The addition of a pie crust made it easier for people to hold a piece in the hand while eating it.

It comes in two different versions: wet-bottom and dry-bottom. The dry-bottom version is baked until fully set and results in a more cake-like consistency throughout. The wet-bottom version is set like cake at the top where it was mixed in with the crumbs, but the very bottom is a stickier, gooier custard-like consistency.

A Montgomery pie is similar to a shoofly pie, except lemon juice is usually added to the bottom layer and buttermilk to the topping. Treacle tart is a pie with a filling made from light treacle.

Shoofly pie began as a crust-less molasses cake called Centennial cake in 1876, to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence in Philadelphia. In the 1880s, home bakers added a crust to make it easier to eat alongside a cup of coffee in the morning, without plates and forks. Precursors include Jenny Lind cake, a gingerbread cake from the middle of the 19th century.

Because the cake contains molasses but no eggs, historians conclude that it was typically baked during the winter, when chickens laid no eggs but when molasses would store well in the cold weather. The use of baking powder places its invention firmly after the Civil War and in the 1870s, when Pennsylvania Dutch bakers began using baking powder.

 

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