Perhaps no other dessert is so identified with Pennsylvania Dutch country as Shoo-Fly Pie. This dark, sticky, sweet pie was made famous by Dinah Shore’s 1946 hit song “Shoo Fly Pie and Apple Pandowdy.”
The origin of the pie’s unusual name has been debated for years. Legend has it that the pie was traditionally set to cool on a windowsill, and its main ingredient, molasses (once known as “poor man’s sugar”), attracted flies, which then had to be “shooed” away. With a gooey molasses bottom, Shoo-Fly Pie is somewhat like a coffee cake, and because it uses corn syrup, it’s also closely related to pecan pie. Some versions use spices; some don’t.
No matter how you opt to enjoy this delicious Dutch treat, you’ll find that Shoo-Fly Pie is best served slightly warmed with a pile of whipped cream on top. If your travels don’t take you to the Pennsylvania Dutch countryside, indulge yourself with this recipe from Beiler’s Bakery at Reading Terminal in Philadelphia, Pa. As Ms. Shore sang, “I never get enough of that wonderful stuff.”
—By Charyn Pfeuffer