Shoofly Pie and Subtitling Southerners



If you ever want to get a hankering to make pies, see that movie Waitress. I watched the entire thing thinking of nothing but baking. Keri Russell did a pretty good Southern accent too (thank you Kerri, and bless your heart). This is a point of contention among Southerners because all too often actors and actresses will play a southern character and have the most exaggerated accent, with a drawl so deep in their throats you wonder how they can even swallow.

So you have folks from all over stumbling over a pseudo Southern accent on the big screen but when it comes time to hear the real thing, the same folks act like it’s a foreign tongue. Case in point would be Diane Sawyer’s special on Appalachia called “Children Of The Mountains”, which aired a few months back. Myself and several of my Southern twitter friends watched with eyes bugging out in shock as they proceeded to use subtitles every time a Southerner talked. My goodness, I’ve seen some accents from other places that were every bit as thick if not thicker than a Southerner and they’ve never subtitled them. All I can say is I sure am glad Diane’s team wasn’t around when they were putting together Gone With the Wind. Bless their hearts.

But I digress…

(and if me digressing comes as a surprise, you must be new around here. ~smiles~ Pull up a chair and get comfy, we’re awful glad to have you!)

This is a pie I’ve always wanted to make but never have. This past weekend though, We took a day off to gallivant around and have some fun. We ended up in Belvedere, Tennessee, one of my favorite places to buy grits (Note to Mrs. Hernandez, I brought you back some!). Afterward we went to my other favorite place in Belvedere, The Swiss Pantry. This is a Mennonite owned bakery and small grocers that carries baked goods, breads, and more delights than you can shake a stick at. The people who run it are awfully nice, too.

We left there with whoopee pies, several dried ingredients you just can’t get elsewhere, some fresh cheese, and two cups of their own sourdough starter. Oh my goodness, that starter smells so good!

I also left there with the resolution that I was gonna finally get around to making a Shoofly pie, using my son’s school bake sale as the grand excuse.

Now, if you’re not a molasses person, this pie won’t be for you. Me, I’m a molasses person. I find that the older I get the more I crave and adore the rich strong flavor of deep, dark molasses. Adding to the fact that I’m a brown sugar lover and those are the two primary ingredients in a Shoofly pie, I can’t imagine not loving it.

Hopefully, someone at the school bake sale will love it, too!

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You’ll need: All Purpose Flour, Baking Soda, Molasses, Margarine (or butter), Brown Sugar (I’m using dark), eggs, and hot tap water.

Two important things to remember when you get in the kitchen with your kids are:

  • Floors are sweepable and kids are washable!
  • Wash their hands really well before beginning because cooking tends to get hands on pretty quick with kids (as you’ll see later on in this post). Make sure you oversee the washing of hands with younger kids.

With that in mind, watch throughout this post as my little tablecloth gets progressively messier and messier! :)

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You’re also going to need two pie crusts, already baked.

I am using store bought ones because I need the dishes to be disposable. Make your own or buy them, whichever works best for you. We’re making pies and having fun so don’t get hung up on the idea that anything other than made-from-scratch is somehow below standard. Get in there and don’t let anyone rain on your parade!

Someone emailed me a few months back and asked my opinion on baking a cake from a mix. They wanted to know if I considered this homemade or not, because their gift of a cake made from a mix was met with one of “those” looks “Oh, you didn’t make this from scratch?”.

My thoughts are…when you bought that mix home from the grocery store, was it a cake? No, it was a box of powdered ingredients, not too different from a sack of flour or sugar. You took the time and care to add other ingredients and bake it into a cake. You made that box’s ingredients into a cake in your home. How is that not homemade? Of course it is! If anyone ever tells you different or complains, just mark ’em off your goodwill baking list and there will be more for the folks who appreciate your kindness – because YOU ARE AWESOME!

My mama always says “Of course its made from scratch, I scratched the whole time I was making it!”

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Lets make us a pie, shall we?

Place your brown sugar in a bowl…

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Add in flour

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Have happy child stir it up.

Note the mischievous twinkle in happy child’s eyes. Those wheels are turning…

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Crack eggs into mixing bowl.

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Like so…

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Let responsible child work mixer to beat those up a bit.


Allow responsible child to pour in molasses.

Wave at reflection of responsible child’s father in microwave while he takes photos.

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Mix that up well.

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Add baking soda to hot water and stir to dissolve.

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Add into mixture.

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Mix that up a bit.

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Look back to happy child and ask her to kindly remove her hands from the flour mixture.

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See how cute and innocent she looks when you ask her to stop playing in the flour?

This is classic Katy. Do something you aren’t supposed to do and then DAZZLE ’em with cuteness so they end up smiling.

Little stinker. :)

Aren’t ya glad I’m such a stickler over kids washing hands?

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Take flour mixture from happy, stinker child and add in margarine.

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Cut in with fork.

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Until well mixed up, like so.

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Take about half of that and add it to the wet mixture.

Bradybug…not such a good job hiding down there, hon. :) But it’s okay. I don’t know why we all kept trying to get out of camera shot at certain times…probably because we are all a bit on the silly side – but it works for us :)

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Like so…

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Tell responsible child to let ‘er rip and mix it up really well.

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Pour (or ladle in my case) mixture into each pie shell .

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Like this. :)

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Sprinkle remaining dry mixture over tops.

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There, all ready to bake now! Bake according to recipe at bottom.

Allow to cool.


Tell kids to smile and get this instead…


Try again….

Good enough. :)

This was my first taste of Shoofly pie and I have to say I was delighted. I expected it to be a lot stronger flavor and even considered substituting honey for the molasses at one point just in case but it came out much milder  than you’d expect and with a bit of a spongy, cakey texture. Would be DIVINE served warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream drizzled with molasses!

~looks guilty~

Oh, and only one is making it to the bake sale. ~grins~

I made Lemon chess pies, too though.

Shoofly Pie
  • 1½ C All Purpose Flour
  • 1 C Dark Brown Sugar
  • 6 T margarine (or butter), cut into slices
  • 2 eggs
  • 1½ C Molasses
  • 1⅛ C Hot tap water
  • 1½ tsp Baking Soda
  • 2 pie shells, baked
  1. Preheat oven to 450. Stir flour and sugar together. Cut butter in with a fork until well incorporated. In large mixing bowl, beat eggs. Add molasses and blend well. Stir baking soda into hot water until dissolved; add to molasses mixture and beat with an electric mixer until well blended. Stir in half of dry mixture, mix well. Pour into two prepared crusts. Top with remaining crumb mixture. Reduce oven temperature to 350 and bake for 30 minutes or until set (no longer jiggly in the center).


We had such a wonderful weekend, I thought I’d share a few photos with you. I’ve posted some others and will be posting more on the Southern Plate Facebook Fan Page so please hop over there and join if you’d like!

As always, know that I am so very grateful that you took the time to read Southern Plate today! Thank you for all that you give to me.


Christy :)

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Ricky, Katy and her doll “Clumsy”, and Brady at Fall’s Mill in Tennessee.

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Me and my younguns :)

You can count the seeds in an apple, but you can’t count the apples in a seed.

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  1. says

    You managed to get the whole family in one post, even if Ricky was just in by his reflection. The designations of happy kid and responsible kid tickled me. I remember Keri Russell pre-Felicity. I watched her on the Mickey Mouse Club when I was an early teen.

    This is a to try recipe. We have a dinner at church Sunday so I’ll probably make it for that since I have over half a chocolate chip pound cake in the fridge.

  2. Puppydogs says

    I had shoo-fly pie when I was a kid. It was a luncheon at school, and each student had to bring in a dessert from their heritage. Someone made shoo-fly pie, and it was amazing. I did not know it was this easy to make. I will be making this one!

    thank you for the recipe!

  3. says

    Love your pictures, and that is a great recipe! I have always wanted to make that too, but still haven’t gotten around to it. I am going to have to go back and watch that special, I had heard about it, but never seen it. I think there was one too on the poor children of the gulf coast, or maybe that info was in that special too. My boss’s wife, at the time, was from Costa Rica, and she always talked about how poor Costa Rica is. (I have no doubt Costa Rica is very poor, but she thought all of the U.S. looked like her upscale subdivision in Orlando). I would share similar stories about the rural area I was from, about poor people living in shacks and buses, and she thought I was making it all up, till she say that special on t.v. Its nice it opened people’s eyes, but the subtitling, please, that’s crazy!

    • says

      Hey Southern Grace,

      Your name relaxes me :) every time I read it.

      Oh my, Orlando is a lovely place but you’re right, if folks think the rest of the country is like that – wow. Oh well, I’m guilty of knowing little of the country outside of the southeast myself.

      I hope you get to see it. It is a fascinating special but then the subtitles kind of get you riled a bit as a Southerner. I think thats just a natural reaction though. :)


  4. Amanda in Texas says

    Wonderful recipe! This is going to be one of our holiday dishes, for sure. :) Side note: when I read this online, my 11 year old daughter was standing next to me and asked, “Why do they call it shoo-fly pie?”

    I smiled and said, “‘Cause it’s so sweet, you have to shoo the flies away!”

    She rolled her eyes and replied, “Well you have to shoo them away from poop, too!”

    Oh the joys of a Tween…


  5. Kristi says

    Looks great! I would love to have a slice with a huge, very cold, glass of sweet milk!!

    I wonder where the name Shoofly Pie started? I bet there is a very funny story there somewhere….

    Thanks, Christy!

  6. Mary says

    Sweet! I love when you have your kitchen helpers with ya. And what are you talking about accents?? We don’t have have no accents down here!! It’s you northern southerners that talk funny :) Love the Tennessee pics too – I just love Tennessee. I got married there in Nashville ya know. 😉 Have a great week.

    P.S. I did NOT make a shoofly pie this weekend – how ’bout that?!

    • says

      You know, I read these comments in my email before I read them online and so I don’t really see who left them until I come here to respond. BUT, I got to your “P.S.” and instantly knew who it was and laaauuuuggghhhhed! lol

      You’re right, I don’t have any accent at all! I didn’t know you got married in Nashville! There is a little chapel on a hill there that is all white and so very pretty, I wanted to be married there but it ended up just being too much of a hassle to get everyone to drive to Nashville so we got married in our neck of the woods. I still really enjoy seeing that little chapel every time we drive by though!

      Tennessee is beautiful. Have you ever heard that one about how you can tell a Tennessee cow from an Alabama cow?

  7. Skip Davis says

    Oh Oh you just struck a nerve or should I say A sweet tooth. Now I will have to make a Shoo Fly Pie or the thought of it will never go away. LOL
    I just dearly love your website. Keep on keepin’on.

  8. Ashley says

    I’ve never had shoofly pie…but it sounds and looks delicious. I lovvve brown sugar although I don’t believe I’ve had much molasses…just on some glazed carrots (yummy!). I’ll have to try this sometime soon!

    • says

      Hey Ashley!

      If you like brown sugar, you’ll probably like molasses, too.
      The first time you taste it on its own you might be surprised at the strong flavor but I bet if you walk away from it and think about it a bit, you’ll find your legs running back for another taste really soon!!!

      I’m with you on the molasses glazed carrots..oh gracious they are good!

  9. Elaine says

    The shoo-fly pies look good, but I have to admit I have never actually tasted one. I think I have to pull you aside now though and lecture you on the last post where you berated yourself for buying a dehydrator. Now-since I am old enough to be yuor mama I am taking license to scold you. If you have the finances to buy something that makes you happy and you are going to use, you have every right to do so. I feel 100% sure that neither your husband or your children had the slightest objection and they will be the recipient of many wonderful goodies to come from that dehydrator. You might also calculate what money you will save by processing your own because in my neck of the woods a six ounces bag of dried peaches are over five dollars. My point is-you contribute to your family’s happiness and well being way beyond measure and buying a little something that makes you happy only makes you a happier, more cheerful mate and mama. So Miss Christy-you just enjoy that dehydrator and put every ounce of guilt away. I am done chewing on you now and I don’t feel guilty because I know I am right. As usual- LOL!

    • says

      Well Mama Elaine,
      You really started something. After I read your scolding I nodded the entire time, feeling more and more justified in buying it as you continued on.

      Then, when I was done reading it…I decided then and there that was going to get me that electric blanket I’ve been dreaming about and longing for! LOL

      So, not only did I end up with my dehydrator and no guilt, but I went and spent even more money to boot!!!
      Sure have been nice and warm though! lol

      You created a monster :)

      Gratefully and appreciatively,

  10. roblovesleo says

    beautiful scenery~ and we up here in the lehigh valley- make shoo fly pies all the time- it’s a pennsylvania dutch thing- along with FUnny cakes..have you ever made them?? my my they are so good! Your shoo fly pies look gorgeous- I would love a piece right about now! YUM!
    thanks for sharing- always enjoy your posts.

      • Laura Ludovici says

        Hi, Christy. Reading this a bit late, but I only found your website recently. A funny cake is really a pie, too–it’s got a gooey chocolate bottom, with a vanilla cake on top, baked in a pieshell.

        Also, when shoofly pie is baked here in PA Dutch country, we use Turkey syrup–which you’ve probably never heard of, but it’s a real thick mild flavored molasses. Dark Karo is the closest to it that I can think of!

        Thanks for all the recipes!

  11. Betty says

    Hi Christy,
    I love your tutorials! I also enjoy seeing the kids cook and have fun doing so. My 2 granddaughters (ages 7 & 8) love to help me in the kitchen when they come to visit. It it now tradition for us to make chocolate pudding together every time they are here. I found this easy recipe a few weeks ago and it is so simple that they already have it memorized.

    Easy Chocolate Pudding

    1 Tbsp cornstarch
    1 cup milk
    1/3 – 1/2 cups chocolate chips
    (I, too, usually use the store brands, but for this recipe, I prefer name brand chips.)

    In a microwave safe bowl mix cornstarch and milk until smooth. Add chips. Microwave for 2 minutes. Remove and stir well to mix the melted chips. Return to microwave and cook again for 2 more minutes. Pour into desert dishes, if desired, or just leave in the bowl. (It won’t last long, anyway!) Serve warm or let cool. Great with Cool Whip or ice cream!

    I usually let each of the girls make this recipe by themselves so they can each have a bowl to eat on while they are here! It’s also made with lots of LOVE, according to the 7 year old!!
    Try it, you will like this!

    • says


      You are so very sweet to share this recipe with me! I know my kids will really enjoy making this – maybe as much as your granddaughters do! We’ll definitely be making it soon. My Katy is a chocoholic and they both love getting to cook.
      Thank you so very much!

      Christy :)

  12. Tina says

    Those pies look so good and would sure feed my sweet tooth! Love the look on Katy’s face…”what…who,me??” You are making wonderful memories with your children!!

    Bountiful Blessings!

    p.s. made your Mac & Cheese and Fire & Ice (again) yesterday! They have become favorites!

  13. Ruth says

    My Grandfather use to say. if you can’t say something good about somebody, don’t say anything. So when the meanest ole man in the community died, they ask what good can you say about him now?
    My Grandfather said didn’t he make a lovely Corpse?

  14. Allison says

    “Shoo fly pie and Apple Pan Dowdy
    Makes your eyes light up, your tummy says ‘howdy’,
    Shoo fly pie and Apple Pan Dowdy –
    I never get enough of that wonderful stuff…”

    Sorry, but I can’t think about shoo fly pie without hearing that song in my head. Growing up near Pennsylvania Dutch country I am well acquainted with this pie and I LOVE it. Haven’t had it in years so maybe I’ll try my hand at actually making it (instead of ordering it off of a menu)!

  15. Sonya M says

    I’ve heard of shoofly pie before, but I don’t think I’ve ever had any. Sounds good!

    Speaking of fake Southern accents, I’ve started watching the racy HBO vampire series, True Blood. It’s set in Louisiana and it’s got the biggest assortment of thick as mud Southern accents you’ve ever heard! One of the vampires even fought for the Confederacy in his pre-vampire days! I love it though. I’d rather listen to a bunch of thick, phony Southern accents than watch yet another show set in California or New York!

  16. Lisa says

    I grew up in Pennsylvania, and have never tried Shoofly Pie! Or even molasses for that matter! *hides face in shame* Can’t wait to try my hand at this.

    By the way, I love your Pyrex bowls and plates! My mother and grandmother both had them. Ah, comforting memories!

  17. says

    I made a shoefly pie once that didn’t mix the crumbly stuff with the wet stuff, and it ended up delicious but very wet. This looks so yummy, and with a much better texture. Next time I get a hankerin’ for molasses, I think I’ll make this pie!

  18. Janie says

    I’ve never heard of, nor tried Shoofly Pie, but I’m going to do so very soon! Hmm, about the accents, I appreciate the sub-titles, it’s just that I have a different accent and some of your words for things are different than here in my part of Canada. Please do not be offended coz I love how y’all talk! hugs, Janie

  19. Debbie Spears says

    I am new to your website but i love it. I made the chocolate cobbler this weekend. My family all love it. They say it is the best dessert I have ever made. Thank you for the great recipe.

  20. Mary says

    Christy, I LOVE the movie Waitress! I can’t get in the kitchen stirring something up without singing “Baby don’t you cry, gonna’ make a pie, gonna’ make a pie with a heart in the middle…” Your mother’s chicken poulet and the buttermilk congealed salad are instant classics around here (the chocolate cobbler is exceptional standard fare now).

    Thanks for continuing to be YOU with all the great success you’re having!

  21. Veronica says

    I love your website, Christy. I’ve never had Shoo fly pie, but always heard my mom and mammaw talk about it. One question, is there any way to highlight just your recipes and print them? I’m always trying new recipes out on my Italian hubby. I’m making my own recipe collection of all the recipes he likes, but my hand gets tired of writing all of your wonderful recipes down!! Thanks for bringing back my southern roots!

  22. Judy in KY says

    Hi Christy,
    Loved this post about the trip to TN (God’s country)–we lived for quite a few years just northeast of Nashville. My husband was born in PA and when we married one of the recipes his Mom passed on to me was the making of shoofly pie. Absolutely yummy stuff–their family would eat it for breakfast so I’ve never used it as a dessert. The only real variation from what you made (as noted by someone in a previous comment) is that none of the crumb mixture is mixed into the liquid filling but is added to the top of the pie after the liquid is poured in the shell. The crumbs and liquid mix together but there is a definite “liquid” layer on the bottom after baking. “Mit der goo on the bottom” is a compliment to show the pie came out of the oven perfect!
    Katy and Brady are going to be such good cooks–that’s exactly how I learned to cook and love the process (and results) to this day. They are adorable kids.

    Judy in KY

  23. Melanie says

    I just love little helpers in the kitchen! Just this weekend my 3 yr old daughter and I were baking cookies. At one point, I turned my head for just a second, and she had her whole head in the bowl licking the batter! She was a mess, in it up to her elbows! Those times are so precious!!

    • says

      It’s this whole weird attachment to sleep thing that I have going on. I’m hoping to evolve past it though! In the meantime, below are the easy peasy instructions for you to do just that, taken directly from my Frequently Asked Questions page.

      I wish I could do more but I’m putting in about nine hours or more a day on Southern Plate things at it is and my kids are still my number one priority. I’m THRILLED to have all of you here reading and even more delighted to be able to give you all of this free of charge so I really hope these instructions help and thank you so much for your kindness and understanding. :)
      Christy :)

      I love your recipes! Do I have to print out all of the pictures to get them, though?

      Thank you! I love you reading my recipes! You don’t have to do that excessive printing unless you just want to. Here is how you copy and paste:

      *Simply place your curser in front of the title to the recipe, hold down your mouse button and drag your mouse to the bottom of the recipe so that it is all highlighted.

      *Hold down the “Control” button and press “C”.

      *Now open up a word document such as microsoft word.

      *Click inside the document and hold down “Control” again and press “V”.

      The recipe is now pasted and you can simply print out one page and have what you need.

      • Sonya M. says

        Or even easier, if you have a Windows PC, highlight the text as listed above and click the right mouse button. Select Print from the pop-up menu! Easy as shoofly pie! 😉

        I haven’t seen any food blogs that offer recipes that can be printed in index card format. Recipe databases, yes, but not blogs. Don’t feel bad, Christy! You’re doing great!

        • Sonya M. says

          Oops. Never mind the instructions to right click. That will give you the full document! If you select File -> Print -> Selection from your browser that will just give you the highlighted text. It at least skips the step of going to a word processing program!

  24. Tina says

    Oh! Here I am again…just wanted to let you know how much you are appreciated for all that you put into sending Southern Plate our way! I know I speak for many. Thank you!!

    Bountiful Blessings!

  25. Su says

    Christy, they subtitle us too!!! Surely we can’t be that hard to understand? I don’t think I’m hard to understand. lol
    You’ll have to review my accent and make a decision as to whether I am subtitle worthy. 😉

  26. Emily says

    I had no idea that this pie was so easy to make and that the main ingredients are brown sugar and molasses. For some reason I thought it was full of cloves, which I don’t really like, so I’d never given it a chance to reach my lips! I’ll definitely have to try making this sometime. Thanks!

  27. Cheryl Bone says

    Do you want an oatmeal version of Shoefly Pie? It’s a Pennsylvania Dutch version and the name came because they sat pies in the windows to cool and guess which pie the flies loved the most?! Also, do you have a recipe for the sweet potato butter and pumpkin butter or do you want Ruth and I to send you one from our Angel Food files? They are so simple, very little measuring and all in slow cooker. She bakes some absolutely fabulous breads and weighs all the ingredients instead of measuring… interesting!

  28. Jessica Black says

    This is the day that I was born September 14, 1989. My mom was telling me when we got on here to look for recipes the other night that she wanted to make this for my birthday this year, just becuase you posted it on my birthday. Thanks for all the wonderful recipes that you have shared. Looking forward to the new 14Sep2010 recipe. THANKS…

    Jessica Black- Arab, AL

  29. Brenda says

    I need to try this when temperature outside isn’t 104 in KY!! I see why the pie is called Shoo-fly, flies like sugar too!! Maybe I need to sew a Shoo-fly quilt pattern too!

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