Classic Shoofly Pie

shoofly pie with ice cream

The Spruce / Diana Rattray

Prep: 20 mins
Cook: 40 mins
Total: 60 mins
Servings: 8 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
534 Calories
24g Fat
75g Carbs
7g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 8
Amount per serving
Calories 534
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 24g 31%
Saturated Fat 12g 60%
Cholesterol 155mg 52%
Sodium 754mg 33%
Total Carbohydrate 75g 27%
Dietary Fiber 3g 10%
Protein 7g
Calcium 200mg 15%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

This old-fashioned shoofly pie is made with a molasses filling and a crumbly brown sugar topping. While this recipe uses molasses, Southern-style sorghum syrup may be substituted, or use part molasses and part cane syrup or golden syrup. The pie originated with the Pennsylvania Dutch in the late 1800s. According to John Mariani's Encyclopedia of American Food and Drink, it was not mentioned in American print until 1908.

The name shoo-fly pie purportedly comes from the fact that flies are attracted to the molasses filling and have to be "shooed" away. The pie is similar to the treacle tart, which is made with golden syrup and a small amount of black treacle.


  • For the Pie Crust:
  • 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour (6 ounces)
  • 1 teaspoon sugar (granulated)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 7 tablespoons unsalted butter (very cold)
  • 5 to 7 tablespoons ice water
  • For the Filling:
  • 3/4 cup hot water
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup (10 ounces) unsulphured molasses
  • 1 large egg (beaten)
  • For the Topping:
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons flour (5 ounces)
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar (5 ounces, light or dark)
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter (cold)
  • Dash salt
  • Optional: ice cream or whipped cream (for serving)

Steps to Make It

Make the Pastry

  1. Combine the flour, sugar, and salt in a mixing bowl and whisk to blend the ingredients. Cut the cold butter into small pieces and then work it into the flour mixture with your hands, a pastry blender, or food processor until the mixture is crumbly with some small pea-size pieces of butter remaining.

  2. Blend 4 tablespoons of ice water into the flour mixture and mix with a fork until moistened. Continue adding small amounts of ice water until the dough begins to hold together. 

  3. Turn the dough out onto a floured board and knead a few times until it comes together. Don't overwork the dough or the pastry will be tough.

  4. Shape the dough into a flattened disk, wrap in plastic wrap, and chill for at least 20 minutes.

  5. Roll the chilled dough out into a circle about 12 inches in diameter. Ft into a 9-inch pie plate. Trim the edges and crimp as desired.

Make the Filling and Topping

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 F/200 C/Gas Mark 6.

  2. To make the filling, dissolve the baking powder in the boiling water in a mixing bowl. Stir in the molasses. Quickly whisk in the beaten egg.

  3. To make the topping, combine the flour, brown sugar, and salt in another bowl. Cut in the 4 tablespoons of butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

  4. Pour the molasses filling into the prepared crust. Sprinkle the crumb mixture over the molasses mixture. 

  5. Carefully move the pie to the oven and bake at 400 F for 15 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 350 F/180 C/Gas Mark 4 and continue baking for about 30 to 35 minutes, or until the filling is set. If needed, use a pie shield or homemade foil ring to protect the crust from over-browning after about 20 to 25 minutes. 

  6. Cool on a rack completely before serving. Serve with ice cream or whipped cream, if desired. Enjoy!

How to Store and Freeze

  • Keep shoofly pie covered at room temperature or in the refrigerator for up to 4 to 5 days.
  • Wrap and freeze shoofly pie for up 3 months.


  • It's important to use accurate amounts of ingredients like flour for the best quality baked goods. Use a kitchen scale and weigh the ingredients whenever possible. If a scale is not available or the weights are not provided in the recipe, use the spoon and sweep method to measure flour.

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