Mama’s Wet Bottom Shoo-Fly Pie

Pin It

Wet Bottom Shoo-Fly Pie

My mother used to make a wonderful Pennsylvania Dutch dessert, her wet bottom shoo-fly pie. The “wet bottom” part of the pie refers to the gooey molasses layer that coats the crust. A spice cake sits on the wet bottom and the whole thing is covered with a crumbly topping. Easy to make, this “Schmeckt gut” – tastes good!

I hadn’t made a shoo-fly pie in ages, so when my talented food-writing friend, Rachael, mentioned a pie brigade coming up to celebrate National Pie Day, I was in. In fact, I jumped at the chance to break my diet and share a piece of pie with my readers.

National Pie Day will be celebrated January 23, which coincides with Rachael’s birthday. Happy Birthday, dear Rachael! I hope you will be digging into a birthday pie soon and wish you were right here to enjoy this one…

TIP: I buy pre-made pie crusts from the deli section of the grocery store, not being much of a pie crust fan. Many folks find this sacrilegious, so feel free to make your own homemade crust.

Mama's Wet Bottom Shoo-Fly Pie
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6
My mother's recipe for PA Dutch shoo-fly pie.
  • 1 nine-inch pie crust, unbaked
  • 1 egg yolk
  • ½ cup unsulphured molasses
  • ¾ cup boiling water
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup all-purpose unbleached white flour
  • ½ cup brown sugar, lightly packed
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ⅛ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground cloves
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Place the pie crust in a glass or ceramic pie plate, flute edges and set aside.
  3. Beat the egg yolk in a small bowl. Add the molasses and mix together.
  4. Add the baking soda to the boiling water and stir until the soda dissolves. Add to the egg-molasses mixture.
  5. Combine the dry ingredients in a medium-sized bowl. Add the butter and use your fingers to work into large crumbs.
  6. Pour the liquid mixture into the fluted pie crust.Sprinkle crumbs evenly on top.
  7. Bake for 10 minutes at 400 degrees, then lower heat to 325 degrees and bake for another 30 minutes.


Pin It

, , ,

28 Responses to Mama’s Wet Bottom Shoo-Fly Pie

  1. Rachael (Fuji Mama) January 17, 2014 at 8:24 am #

    Oh how I wish I was there to eat a slice!! Plus, that would mean that I’d get to hang out with you…which would be even better! What an amazing pie! Thank you so much for lending a hand for Pie Week celebrations! XO

    • Liz January 17, 2014 at 8:29 am #

      Can’t wait to watch what Pie Week brings for us all – fun! Thanks for including me.

  2. Wendy Read January 17, 2014 at 12:34 pm #

    Love that you did a shoo fly pie! I was just looking over my Pennsylvania Dutch Cookbook especially after the Vinegar Pie question yesterday, your recipe looks wonderful, great shot too!

    • Liz January 17, 2014 at 1:32 pm #

      Thanks, Wendy – it’s a good recipe that I take no credit for – I have no idea where my mother found it.

  3. Lisa A January 17, 2014 at 3:35 pm #

    Do you have to temper the egg mixture a bit? Looks delicious I can’t wait to try it. What is it similar to? Thanks.

    • Liz January 17, 2014 at 3:42 pm #

      No, I just mix the egg yolk with the molasses – shoo-fly pie is unlike any other pie I know. Hard to describe other than I do in my headnote. Try it!

  4. Jayne January 18, 2014 at 2:40 am #

    Great post- I’ve ways wondered what a shoo-fly pie was! For some reason I thought it was raisins, you learn something new everyday! Happy pie week Liz!

    • Liz January 18, 2014 at 8:03 am #

      It’s an easy recipe – you throw it together and it separates into three layers – more like a cake than a pie.

  5. The Wimpy Vegetarian January 18, 2014 at 12:27 pm #

    Next time we come to visit, this is all I want. Just this for appetizers, dinner AND dessert. I’ve been in love with this pie since you first posted it!!!

    • Liz January 18, 2014 at 12:32 pm #

      I’m glad you remember that, Susan – it was for Mother’s Day on food52, then on my blog. I needed to update the photo and Rachael gave me the perfect opportunity.

  6. Dorothy at Shockingly Delicious January 19, 2014 at 4:41 pm #

    I am Pennsylvania Dutch, we ate Shoo Fly Pie all the time, and my mom even perfected a Shoo Fly Coffee Cake that is to die for.

    Yahoo Shoo Fly!

    • Liz January 19, 2014 at 4:57 pm #

      eDorothy, I never knew that you were “Dutch” – and I would love to see that coffee cake recipe.

  7. Oui, Chef January 20, 2014 at 1:16 pm #

    I’m not normally attracted to recipes with the words “wet and bottom” in them, but for this I think I’ll make an exception….looks fabulous!

    • Liz January 20, 2014 at 3:18 pm #

      Honest, it is the real name for this version of shoo-fly pie, Steve – but your reaction is common to folks not from PA Dutch country.

  8. Lynda - TasteFood January 20, 2014 at 3:28 pm #

    I have heard of shoo fly pie but never had one. Goodness. This takes care of that!

    • Liz January 20, 2014 at 3:56 pm #

      It is truly a good dessert – I promise, despite its name 😉

  9. Nancie McDermott January 21, 2014 at 9:49 am #

    I love shoo-fly pie but have never made one, and now I can’t wait to do so. Happy Pie Day to you, from a fellow fan of the amazing and inspiring La Fuji Mama, AKA the Birthday Girl.

    • Liz January 21, 2014 at 9:59 am #

      Thanks, Nancie, you are the champion of pies…

  10. Laura @ Family Spice January 21, 2014 at 12:54 pm #

    What a great story AND pie! I’ve never heard of shoo-fly pie, so thank you for the culinary (and cultural) lesson.

    • Liz January 21, 2014 at 1:15 pm #

      Thanks, Laura, and welcome home – eager to hear about your culinary adventures in the Bay Area.

  11. Laura Dembowski January 30, 2014 at 12:07 pm #

    My birthday is on January 23 too! I have always wanted to make shoo fly pie. This looks so gooey and delightful!

    • Liz January 31, 2014 at 1:48 pm #

      It’s usually a git with folks once they get past the name –

  12. Barbara July 14, 2014 at 10:16 am #

    I’ve only ever heard of this pie before but it sounds fabulous! I’m sharing with my mother because I know she will love it.

    • Liz July 14, 2014 at 10:22 am #

      I hope she enjoys it, Barbara – the recipe is very simple and easy to make.

    • Jamie October 25, 2019 at 1:25 am #

      Try to find a copy of The Art of Pennsylvania Dutch Cooking by Edna Eby Heller (1968). There’s a wet-bottom shoo-fly pie recipe in it that’s indentical to your mom’s, except using shortening instead of butter.

      • Liz October 30, 2019 at 7:32 pm #

        Thank you!

  13. Brandon @ Kitchen Konfidence July 14, 2014 at 1:12 pm #

    While I was growing up, I would often go to Pennsylvania Dutch country, and I remember really loving shoo fly pie. Haven’t had a slice since I moved to SD. Brings back memories. Looks delicious Liz!

    • Liz July 14, 2014 at 2:37 pm #

      It’s my all-time favorite PA Dutch recipe – thanks, Brandon.

Leave a Reply

Rate this recipe:  

Site built by NerdPress