Shoofly Pie, a delightful, very rich and sweet dessert from the United States, is a speciality of the Pennsylvania Dutch.
It is so-called, tradition has it, because, when the pie was baked and left to set, the flies would come buzzing around, and the proud cook would say ‘shoo flies’.
Serve the pie on its own, cut into small wedges or, for those who love very rich desserts, with freshly whipped cream.
6 oz. flour
4 oz. butter
6 oz. soft brown sugar
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
8 fl. oz. boiling water
4 fl. oz. molasses or black treacle
4 fl. oz. clear honey
9-inch Flan Case made with rich shortcrust pastry
Preheat the oven to fairly hot 400°F (Gas Mark 6, 200 C).
Sift the flour into a medium-sized mixing bowl. Add the butter and cut it into small pieces with a table knife. Using your fingertips, rub the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs. Stir in the sugar and set aside.
In another medium-sized mixing bowl, dissolve the soda in the boiling water. Add the molasses or black treacle and honey and stir the mixture well.
Pour this mixture into the flan case. Sprinkle the flour and butter mixture over the top.
Place the pie in the centre of the oven and bake for 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to moderate 350 F (Gas Mark 4, 180°C) and continue baking for a further 25 to 30 minutes or until the filling has set.
Remove the pie from the oven. Set aside to cool before cutting into wedges and serving.