Shoofly Pie

James Beard

Author and Educator

Shoofly pie, from Pennsylvania Dutch country, got its name from the flies that had to “shooed” away from this sweet molasses pie. It became famous with the song “Shoofly Pie and Apple Pan Dowdy” written by songwriter Guy Wood and performed most famously by Dinah Shore.


  • 1 cup unsifted all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 1/4 cup vegetable shortening
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 2/3 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/3 cup dark molasses
  • 9-inch unbaked, short-crust pastry shell


Preheat oven to 375ºF.

Prepare the crumb topping by combining the flour, sugar, and shortening in a bowl and cutting them in together with a fork or pastry blender to form a coarse, mealy texture.

In a deep bowl, dissolve the baking soda in the boiling water, and stir in the corn syrup and molasses. Allow to cool, then pour into the unbaked pie shell. Sprinkle the crumb mixture evenly over the top.

Bake on the middle of the oven for 10 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 350ºF and continue baking 30 to 35 minutes or until the filling is firm when the pan is gently shaken. Do not over-bake. Cool before serving.


One 9-inch pie