My mom, like many creative cooks and bakers will try anything once. What our family learned, though, was that even if something sounds good on paper, it may not be in reality. Take, for instance, her attempt at Shoo-fly pie. I still remember it like it was yesterday. Some disasters stay with you like that.
It all started with a school project when I was in third grade. We were studying the Iroquois. I had to do a report…maybe build a long house out of a shoe box; the details are vague. My mom volunteered to make an Indian Pudding for me to take into my class. Have you had Indian Pudding? It’s cornmeal based, with lots of molasses. Her version had a bunch of orange peel in it, too. Without going into detail about gagging, let’s just say that it didn’t go over well with a group of Ding Dong and Twinkie eating eight-year-olds.
Now go forward a year or two. Mom had not gotten molasses out of her system. Enter the shoo-fly pie. Oy! What a disaster. I love molasses cookies and gingerbread and such, but a straight molasses pie is just Strong! Dad and I hated it. I cannot remember if Mom ate the rest or if she threw it out. Either way, I was off that particular pie for life!
Or at least I was until I had the opportunity to do a recipe test for The Shoofly Project (which has since been inactive). This is a honey based pie with a hint of molasses. What a HUGE difference! My children literally shoveled away these tarts. I stood over them and simply inhaled. The aroma was divine. So folks, this is yet another example of “never say never.”
I may even revisit Indian Pudding…..
- Pie crust for a one-crust pie
- ½ cup flour
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
- ½ tsp cinnamon
- Pinch salt
- 2 Tbsp butter
- ⅓ cup walnuts, roughly chopped
- 1 Tbsp brown butter
- ½ cup hot water
- ¼ t baking soda
- ½ c honey
- 2 Tbsp molasses
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- Pinch of salt
- 2½ Tbsp high quality vanilla extract
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- Prepare tart or pie pans.
- (I had more filling than could fill 6 little tarts, so I opted for some mini tarts and still had left over filling, so use one deep pie dish or two shallow if making big pies)
- With fingers or fork, crumble next five ingredients in a small bowl.
- Stir in walnuts.
- Set aside.
- For filling, brown 1 T of butter over medium-high heat until a nutty smell develops.
- In a mixing bowl, combine baking soda and hot water.
- Add browned butter, honey, molasses, brown sugar, and salt.
- Stir until dissolved.
- In separate bowl, add whisk bit of warm syrup into beaten egg, being careful not to cook the egg.
- Add vanilla.
- Add ⅓ cup of the crumb mixture to the syrup and stir.
- Pour filling into prepared pans, leaving space for expansion.
- Top with crumbs.
- Bake in a 350 degree oven for 40-50 minutes if baking a big pie, about 20-25 minutes for tarts, 10-15 for mini tarts.