Library Blog

Cooking with the Library—Shoofly Pie

Shoofly pie
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Hello! This is Michele and today we are baking Shoofly Pie in honor of Pi Day, March 14th. My family uses Emeril Lagasse’s recipe, which is found here: Steen’s Cane Syrup Shoofly Pie. 

 Shoofly Pie is thought to be Pennsylvania Dutch in origin and has a cake-like texture with a molasses bottom layer. A thin molasses layer is called a dry bottom pie, which is Emeril’s recipe, while a thick molasses layer is a wet bottom pie and resembles pecan pie. Read all about it at Shoofly Pie History 

Eating pie is a fun way to celebrate Pi Day, which was founded in 1988 by physicist Larry Shaw. The U.S. House of Representatives declared March 14th as National Pi Day in 2009. Find out more about Pi and how to celebrate Pi Day at 

For other pie recipes, there are some excellent electronic cookbooks available for you to borrow immediately through Overdrive. We also have lots of print cookbooks, which can be found at your local branch or online in the Library Catalog 


Shoofly Pie

Pie Crust  


  • 1 cup all-purpose flour 
  • ½ cup shortening 
  • Pinch of salt 
  • Ice cold water  


  1.  Combine the flour and salt in a mixing bowl. Add the shortening and cut it into the flour with a fork or pastry cutter until the mixture looks like small pebbles.
  2. Add water, a tablespoon or less each time or by using a squirt bottle, until the dough forms into a soft ball. Be gentle and don’t overmix!
  3.  Lightly flour a pastry mat or rolling surface and slowly flatten the dough ball on the floured surface, rotating it to seal the cracks at the edges.
  4. Start rolling the ball flat with a rolling pin, flipping it while it is still thick to coat both sides with flour. Roll it out to roughly 10 inches.
  5. Use a pastry blade or spatula to ease the dough over a rolling pin to transfer it to the pie pan. 
  6. Repair any holes with extra dough, crimp the edges with your fingers, then cut off the excess dough around the edges. 




  • 1 cup all-purpose flour 
  • ¾ cup light brown sugar 
  • 2 tbs. unsalted butter 
  • Pinch of salt 
  • 1 tsp. baking soda 
  • ¾ cup hot water 
  • 1 large egg 
  • 1 cup cane syrup 
  • ½ tsp. vanilla extract 


  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. 
  2. Combine the flour, brown sugar, butter and salt in a small bowl, and mix with your fingertips until is resembles coarse crumbs. Set aside. 
  3. Dissolve the baking soda in ¼ cup of hot water in a mixing bowl. Add the egg, cane syrup, vanilla extract, and remaining ½ cup of hot water. Whisk until smooth.
  4. Fold in half of the reserved crumb mixture and set the rest aside. 
  5. Pour the cane syrup filling into the pie shell, and sprinkle the remaining crumb mixture evenly over the top.
  6. Bake for 10 minutes, then reduce the heat to 375 degrees F and bake for 25 minutes longer.
  7. Remove the pie from the oven and let it cool for at least 30 minutes. 
  8. To serve, cut it into thin slices and serve with vanilla ice cream or whipped topping. 


slice of shoofly pie on a plate


Michele Mellor

Michele Mellor is a Reference Librarian based at Main Library, where she has been striving to bring order to the universe of knowledge for over 30 years. She loves helping people, so ask her those reference questions! She enjoys reading microhistories and books that expand her horizons leavened by brain-candy romance novels.